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Procurement Standards

ISO 20400 – the new Standard for Sustainable Procurement

The new international Standard for sustainable procurement best practice is due to be published in March 2017 following a process that started in 2013.  It has involved a committee from over 40 nations from as far apart as Europe, USA, Canada, Central and South America, Australia, Japan, China, Africa and many more. Our Director, Shaun McCarthy OBE, supported by Cathy Berry, have played a pivotal role in the committee since the start and have been highly influential in shaping the structure and content of the Standard.

Technically this is a guidance standard, not a requirements standard so it is not certifiable, but it is possible to commission an evaluation by an independent expert to understand how closely you comply with the Standard and to take on board recommendations to move towards full compliance over time. This is one of the core services that Action Sustainability offers on the new Standard, which then leads to other support and advice services on how to embed sustainable procurement within your organisation.

The structure of the standard closely follows BS 8903;

•         Fundamentals – the key drivers and principles of sustainable procurement
•         Policy and strategy – key issues to consider in developing a policy and strategy
•         Organising the procurement function – creating the organisational conditions necessary to                procure sustainably and setting priorities
•         Procurement process – how to procure differently  

The standard incorporates the most recent developments in sustainability thinking including the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business and ISO 26000. It is designed for all organisations, public and private, of all sizes.

Action Sustainability are world leaders on sustainable procurement, having authored the British Standard BS 8903, and being heavily involved in the development of the new ISO Standard.  We support a wide variety of businesses and organisations to give them the advice, guidance and evaluation of how they can improve their performance when it comes to sustainable supply chains.  Our services range from developing policy and strategy documents to set the right 'culture' and objectives on sustainability in procurement; assessing risk and opportunity in supply chains for sustainability and then engaging suppliers on this; training staff on sustainable procurement; and providing mechanisms for embedding sustainability into the procurement process.

If you would like to know more about the Standard and how it is relevant to your organisation, or are interested in commissioning an assessment of how your organisation performs against the Standard's criteria, just email or call the team on 020 7697 1977

BS 8903

Action Sustainability were appointed by BSI as technical authors of the British Standard on sustainable procurement BS 8903: Principles and Framework for Procuring Sustainability working with an expert steering group.  The standard was launched in 2010. BS 8903 provides guidance to any size and type of organisation on adopting and embedding sustainable procurement principles and practices. It covers all stages of the procurement process and is applicable across industry, public, private and third sector organisations. Action Sustainability is pleased to offer an evaluation of your organisation's competence to fulfil the requirements of this standard.  As the instigators and authors of the standard, we are uniquely placed to provide a robust and independent evaluation of your organisation just email or call the team on 020 7697 1977



Who we work with

  • British Land
  • FMC
  • Network Rail
  • Skanska