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Sustainable Procurement

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Sustainable procurement is defined in the standard ISO 20400 as “Procurement that has the most positive environmental, social & economic impacts possible over the entire life cycle”. This definition can be applied to everything we buy and helps us to address sustainability through competitive markets to deliver short- and long-term value.

Up to 80% of the spend on construction projects with major contractors is passed through to their supply chain. Sustainable procurement is therefore a critical part of client and contractors’ policies and strategies.

If Australia’s property, construction and infrastructure sectors are to respond to project, client and strategic objectives and deliver work more sustainably and more efficiently, we must build the skills necessary to achieve these objectives through the supply chain.

ISO 20400


In April 2017 ISO launched the first global sustainable procurement standard. School Partner organisation Action Sustainability Asia Pacific led the Australian delegation and and UK delegations to develop the standard and has developed a wealth of learning resources to help businesses to align to it. The standard builds on and replaces BS 8903.

ISO 20400 is the first international guidance standard on sustainable procurement. It provides an understanding of what is sustainable procurement, how sustainability impacts the different aspects of the procurement activity - policy, strategy, organisation, process – and how to implement sustainable procurement practically.

It is relevant to any organisation regardless of sector, size and location as well as to any stakeholder involved in or impacted by procurement decisions and processes. It does not replace legislation, policy or ethical frameworks in the areas of procurement and sustainability but provides a basis for an effective integration of sustainability (environmental, social, economic) concerns into the procurement activity and supply chains.

More information is available online at
www.iso20400.org