Public procurement’s vital role if we are to reach net zero by 2030

Before I started working on the Cyd (the new procurement centre of excellence for Wales) alpha project, I didn’t quite appreciate the enormous difference procurement teams across Wales could do to help us reach net zero by 2030.

The role of procurement in reaching net zero

I was in a procurement conference arranged by Welsh Government in north Wales recently, discussing the role of procurement to reach net zero. It was a brilliantly organised event with an interesting line-up of speakers.

The two that stood out for me were Karen Bellis from Denbighshire County Council and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

Karen was an inspiration, and you could tell from her ‘can do’ attitude that she’ll drive a real difference within the council.  Having led the creation of the council’s ’Community Benefit Policy’, she has ensured that community benefits are considered on all works contracts worth more than £100k and goods/services contracts worth more than £25k.

She had great examples of community housing that was built to the highest green spec and an old council building that was re-purposed as retirement flats.   And in both examples, the council was supporting the local economy with a high percentage of local tradespeople and locally sourced supplies used.

In their session, the Crown Commercial Service discussed the UK Government’s Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/21 ‘Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts’ and especially, the Carbon Reduction Plan template that any supplier bidding for work over £5 million must complete, and pass, to bid for work.

We heard of the panic amongst suppliers when they it was first introduced, but by offering regular training sessions and guidance, they had now generally been accepted.


Introducing Cyd

And then after lunch, we had a session to discuss Cyd – the proposed centre of excellence – testing service ideas with the attendees.

We wanted their opinion on the three service ideas prioritised by our testing group that we will be taking forward and developing, and they were:

  • Create / curate training materials related to different stages of the procurement/ commercial lifecycle
  • Create / curate case studies using a consistent format to gather and share insights and lessons learned
  • Work with the community to develop a consistent approach for estimating (pre-procurement), capturing and reporting (through contract management) on carbon emission data in a meaningful way.

The three elements are inter-connected, and are complementary to work underway or planned within the Welsh Government’s digital action plan for procurement.

All the relevant training, case studies, and carbon assessing tools or guidance would be available at the relevant stage within the planner – with flagship councils or organisations featured and celebrated.


Feedback and insight

We split into break-out groups and had lively discussions on examples of good practice, the format in which they would like to see the services, and what should be offered in the long term.

And the result was loads of insight, ideas and aspirations scribbled on 128 colourful post-it notes that will be priceless to us as we move forward to develop these services further.

There is a pledge in Wales that we will be net zero by 2030 – for that to happen, we all need to have the ‘can-do’ attitude that we saw at the conference in north Wales.

With the community holding our hand, we hope that Cyd will be able to lead the way on the crucial role public procurement has in reaching net zero.

If you’d like to find out more and get involved with our testing group then please get in touch here.


This blog was written by Angharad, a member of the Cyd team, who was enthused following a net zero procurement conference in Llandudno.