New procurement policy will drive sustainability across supply chain

24 Apr 2024

​The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) commends the Australian Government’s important step towards a more sustainable supply chain and circular outcomes with the release of the Environmentally Sustainable Procurement (ESP) Policy and its supporting reporting framework for Phase 1 – Construction services.

The ESP policy marks a significant milestone in the government’s commitment to leadership in sustainability, offering a framework that drives positive outcomes for people, the environment and the economy.

Under this policy, businesses and suppliers engaging with the Australian Government must demonstrate their capacity to deliver a range of climate, environmental and circularity outcomes.

Davina Rooney, GBCA CEO highlights the transformative potential of government procurement in shaping a circular economy.

“By leveraging its considerable purchasing power, the Australia Government can drive sustainability across the entire supply chain, fostering circular outcomes and environmental stewardship,” Ms Rooney said.

“This initiative not only fosters innovation, but also strengthens industry competitiveness in the global shift towards net zero emissions. We applaud Minister Plibersek and her department for their work on this policy.”

Key principles outlined in the ESP policy include minimising greenhouse gas emissions, optimising energy and water efficiency, and promoting the use of low emissions materials. Additionally, the policy emphasises circular outcomes encouraging the reduction of waste and landfill usage and promoting the use of durable repairable and recoverable goods.

Accompanying the ESP policy is the reporting framework for Phase 1 – Construction services, which provides rating tools and metrics for suppliers to commit to using as a way of demonstrating how they will achieve relevant sustainability outcomes and benchmarks in line with the ESP policy’s principles. The ESP policy and the policy reporting framework for Phase 1 will apply from 1 July 2024 (Phase 2 - Furniture, fittings and equipment, ICT goods and textiles, will apply from 1 July 2025).

Green Star certification is included as a way for building and fitout project tenders to demonstrate achievement of benchmarks in against all three focus areas of the ESP policy - climate, circularity and environment. Using Green Star for new building projects also aligns with the Australian Government’s Net Zero in Government Operations policy, released last year.

GBCA commends the inclusion of rating tools such as Green Star, NABERS and IS (Infrastructure Sustainability) as robust, trusted and independent methods to provide the Australian Government with assurance that sustainability outcomes are being delivered.

About the Australian Government’s commitment toward net zero and a circular economy

Australia has legislated a commitment to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Australia is also transitioning to a circular economy, in which products are either recycled, remanufactured, or re-used after they have served their initial purpose. The transition to a net zero and circular economy requires a shift in how we consume materials and how industry produces and delivers goods and services.