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Sustainable Procurement Tool & Policy Guide

Sustainable procurement
Level 3

An innovative decision-making tool to help organisations purchase responsibly and procure more sustainable products and resources. The tool takes you through a series of steps to assess the sustainability of a potential product or service. You can then compare its sustainability score with other options you have researched. The higher the score, the more sustainable the purchase is likely to be.

Available both online and as an automated spreadsheet, the tool is underpinned by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) benchmarks, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and The Natural Step system conditions. The resource includes a helpful guide that explains how to create a sustainable procurement policy, together with draft policy text and best practice examples.


What we choose to buy has a massive impact on what is produced and sold, so making more sustainable procurement decisions can have powerful knock-on effects along the supply chain. But how do we know which purchases are more sustainable? And how are potential buyers judging the sustainability of products or services our organisation produces? For a few pointers on this, see the Green Street 'Inspiration' post about using your responsible purchasing superpower.

The tool is designed to help organisations make more sustainable purchasing decisions and develop or improve their sustainable procurement policy. It is an educational resource as well as a decision support tool, with practical guidance, links and examples of sustainable procurement processes and policies.

Most importantly, it prompts purchasers to think about aspects other than initial cost and product features, so they can make a more balanced decision that takes sustainability factors into account. Of course, this works both ways – the tool can also guide organisations as to what their customers may be looking for. By rating your offerings against those of your competitors, you can look for sustainability improvements and provide transparent information to support customer enquiries – it's a win-win!

Procurement Tool  Procurement Tool  Procurement Tool

The online tool lets you assess the sustainability of a potential purchase by rating it against various questions.

Who it’s for

Procurement managers, or anybody responsible for making purchases of products or services for themselves or their organisation.

It is also relevant to end users of products/services, who may be advising on selection criteria or influencing the purchase decision.

What you’ll need

To access the online tool, you simply need a computer or mobile device connected to the Internet. You should be willing to research the sustainability of specific products by looking at supplier websites and product specs or contacting the manufacturer. To help with this, we've provided a simple Word checklist to capture information when researching potential purchases.

If you prefer an offline tool that you can integrate with your business software, try the spreadsheet version, which requires Excel or similar software. The file includes full instructions and examples (and there's a video guide), so you do NOT need to be a spreadsheet guru to use it! It also includes tabs for recording info when researching up to 4 products.

Sustainable procurement spreadsheet screenshot

The spreadsheet lets you score and compare up to 4 possible purchases. This example shows research into buying eco-friendly office chairs. The highest-scoring option is likely to be the most sustainable choice.

What’s included

Sustainable Procurement Guide

  • A guide to sustainable procurement principles, policies and practices
  • An easy-to-use online tool to rate sustainability aspects of a potential purchase
  • A smart Excel spreadsheet version of the tool, which allows you to research, score and compare up to 4 purchase options. You can add extra questions or adjust the weighting of individual questions if you want to give them a higher or lower priority. The spreadsheet includes easy-to-follow instructions and links to a helpful video guide to get you started
  • A handy Word template for capturing information when researching potential purchases
  • Best practice examples of sustainable procurement policies and practices.

Please note: the online tool allows you to assess the sustainability of one product at a time, while the Excel spreadsheet allows comparison of up to 4 options and customisation of questions. Both tools rely on you doing some initial research into sustainability criteria, but if you can't find all the info you can still rate purchase options based on what you know so far. The more you use the tool, the more aware you will be of sustainability considerations, and the better you'll get at digging up (or demanding) essential info!

How to access this resource
This is a level 3 resource. To access it, please join or sign in.