The CO2 reduction plan must include a commitment to net zero for UK operations by 2050 and must state the supplier’s current emissions for the sources included in Scope 1 and Scope 2 of the global GHG protocol – direct greenhouse gas emissions and indirect emissions in connection with the purchase of electricity, steam, heating or cooling – and a defined subset of Scope 3 emissions. There are five Scope 3 emission categories that must be reported: business travel, commuter traffic, on-site waste, upstream transport and distribution, and downstream transport and distribution. The emissions to be reported are not just carbon dioxide, but the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

In addition, the plan must define the supplier’s environmental management measures that will be effective and used during the performance of the contract. It is intended that suppliers only need one carbon reduction plan that can be used for all purchases where this PPN applies.

The requirement to submit a CO2 reduction plan during the selection phase does not apply if CO2 reduction considerations are unrelated to the contract or are proportionate. However, the government believes that most contracts would have environmental and carbon reduction considerations relevant.

The procurement expert Dr. Commenting on the PPN from a procurement perspective, Totis Kotsonis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said, “The government’s initiative is laudable and shows a desire to ensure that key government contracts are properly reflected in the net zero agenda.”

“This initiative should also be seen in the light of the government’s National Procurement Policy (PPN 05/21 (3 page / 273KB PDF)), which obliges all public procurement agencies to ensure that their procurement strategies include how to combat climate change and reduce waste “, he said.

“At the same time, it would make sense to further clarify certain aspects of this new political initiative. In the context of a consortium agreement, for example, the question arises as to why each consortium member has to prove its technical capabilities in this way when ultimately only one person is responsible for the delivery of the goods, work or services within the framework of the contract. Ultimately, of course, such clarification questions do not diminish the importance of this initiative in the context of achieving net zero, ”said Kotsonis.

Separately, Pinsent Masons’ infrastructure and decarbonisation expert Stacey Collins said, “This is a really significant step forward for the UK government to ensure its supply chains are aligned with the net zero transition. You need to be able to measure your greenhouse gas emissions in order to change them, and CO2 reduction plans require suppliers to measure them. Perhaps the most important element of this new directive is that it provides a template for other procurers, particularly in the private sector, to consider when sourcing in the UK or worldwide. “