With the looming climate disaster and apocalyptic Australian bush fires currently dominating the news, it’s hard to ignore the challenges facing our environment.
Whether you are new to public tendering or a seasoned veteran, you should know that your organisation’s environmental approach is often a significant aspect of your bid. Often, it is a minimum requirement that your company has never breached environmental regulations. Indeed, in many tenders, your response to questions pertaining to your environmental procedures are almost as important as your capability.
Dedicating manpower and resource to something that has little tangible benefit is rarely the top priority for SMEs. The attention that public bodies dedicate towards the environment can therefore often prove challenging.
However, with over 65% of the UK’s councils declaring a Climate Emergency and increased exposure to media scrutiny, this tender requirement will only increase in the new decade.
Environmental Policies, Procedures and Accreditations
No council or public body is expecting you to save the planet. Nor do they expect you to force your employees to walk everywhere, carry construction materials in paper bags or plant a tree for every delivery you make. Some however, will expect you to send them your environmental policy. Still others may ask you to explain how you reduce your carbon footprint.
For larger companies, with the means and the money, environmental policies can be accredited to ISO 14001, among others. This demonstrates that you adhere to international standards for reducing your impact on the environment. For smaller companies, compliance of some form with these accreditations will likely suffice.
Reducing Your Impact
If we were to list every action you could take to reduce your environmental impact, we’d be here all week. Each industry has its own specific environmental challenges and councils will be looking to see that you recognise this.
There is no point in a provider of home care services describing their robust asbestos removal procedures. Nor must a waste disposal company champion their cycle for work scheme. Your response to an environmental procedure question must be specific to the works you are bidding for.
There are three key areas relevant across all industries:
- Recycling – From plastic bottles to nuclear submarines, companies should be able to demonstrate how waste is disposed of properly.
- Energy Efficiency –Again, while the size of your company may dictate the methods of energy reduction that are practical, all companies should be able to demonstrate their attempts. Whether by using more efficient plant equipment or turning the lights off when leaving the office, every little helps.
- Carbon Emissions –for most businesses, the biggest carbon emission will likely be transport. Methods to reduce these emissions can vary massively by company and industry. Think about encouraging employees to walk to work or using hybrid / electric vans. Again however, most should be able to demonstrate their ability to do something.
Carbon Reduction Planning
Increasingly we are seeing requests not just for environmental policies but for fully fledged carbon reduction plans. Usually these require Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emission benchmarks and a series of proposals for how these outputs will be reduced.
It is worth quickly laying out what these terms mean.
Scope 1 emissions: Scope 1 covers emissions from sources that an organisation owns or controls directly – for example from burning fuel in a fleet of vehicles (if they’re not electrically-powered).
Scope 2 emissions: Scope 2 are emissions that a company causes indirectly and come from where the energy it purchases and uses is produced. For example, the emissions caused when generating the electricity that we use in our buildings.
Scope 3 emissions: Scope 3 encompasses emissions that are not produced by the company itself and are not the result of activities from assets owned or controlled by them, but by those that it’s indirectly responsible for up and down its value chain. An example of this is when we buy, use, and dispose of products from suppliers. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within the scope 1 and 2 boundaries.
Hopefully this blog has stressed the significance that public bodies place in your environmental policies and procedures.
You should now have some idea of how to frame your responses or policies and what exactly to include. If you’re still struggling however, outsourcing the work to professionals will allow you to become compliant without disrupting your daily business activities. Give us a call!