Case Study: Sustainable Procurement – Edinburgh International Book Festival

5th August 2014

Case Study: Sustainable Procurement - Edinburgh International Book Festival

Procurement plays a major part in how already environmentally conscious organisations can extend their outreach. In choosing products and suppliers according to their environmental credentials, the Edinburgh International Book Festival will make it possible to reduce waste, energy use and carbon emissions.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is developing a simple list of questions to be considered when procuring goods and services for their events, aiming to embedded sustainability in their buying choices. Although cost is often the most limiting factor for any organisation, thinking through the lifecycle of purchases and the long term potential benefits of a more sustainable choice can have a more positive impact. Procurement guide – to be used in conjunction with the Book Festival environmental supplier guide. The following are key questions that should be considered before making a purchase:

  • Is the item needed or could an alternative be used?
  • Is the item made of a biodegradable material or recycled materials?
  • Have you ensured that this product has the least environmental impact of those that are available?
  • Could this item be hired or borrowed, rather than purchased?
  • Can this product/service be sourced locally?
  • Does the supplier have an environmental policy?
  • If this is an electrical product: – Is the energy start rating A or above? Does it have a power saving setting?
  • Can any packaging be returned to the supplier? If not, can it be recycled?

Further to their checklist, the festival will also focus on expanding their reach to influence their suppliers’ environmental outlook. In including the action of sending companies a copy of their own environmental policy, the festival will encourage suppliers to develop a policy of their own. In time, this might also improve the sustainability of the available products, widening the options for sustainable procurement. Other things to request:

  • Does the company provide charitable discount?
  • Does the company produce other environmental products?
  • Can any un-used items be returned?

Request a copy of an environmental policy from all suppliers. If they don’t have a policy, suggest sending them details of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s policy as a starting point to create one of their own. This new policy complements the existing efforts of the festival.

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