UCL Sustainability Requirements



Suppliers should consider social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability with reference to UCL sustainability requirements and/or obligations where they are relevant to the subject matter of the contract. These obligations include: 

Government Buying Standards

(previously known as “Buy Sustainable Quick Wins”)

The minimum level “Government Buying Standards (GBS)” are mandatory for Central Government Departments and have been adopted by UCL.  There are also voluntary, higher level “Best Practice” and “Class Leader” GBS standards that Central Government aspires to procure which again have been adopted by UCL.   Further there is a 50% target for all government procurement to comply by the end of 2010 to the Green Public Procurement (GPP) standards.  

The UK Government through Defra is working to align the GBS standards with them, so that they are at least as good, if not better. UCL will adopt whichever is the better standard.

The Carbon Trust Standard The Carbon Trust Standard certification provides an independent endorsement of an organisation’s performance in measuring, managing and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.  There is an overview of the Standard’s criteria and methodology. website

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (that came into operation in April 2010) is central to the UK’s strategy for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.  It is designed to raise awareness in large organisations, especially at senior level, and to encourage changes in behavior and infrastructure.

It will operate as a 'cap and trade' mechanism, providing a financial incentive to reduce energy use by putting a price on carbon emissions from energy use. In CRC, organisations buy allowances equal to their annual emissions.

The overall emissions reduction target is achieved by placing a ‘cap’ on the total allowances available to each group of CRC participants. Within that overall limit, individual organisations can determine the most cost-effective way to reduce their emissions. This could be through buying extra allowances or investing in ways to decrease the number of allowances they need to buy.

The scheme will cover large public and private sector organisations, which are responsible for about 10 percent of the UK’s emissions. website

Energy Performance of Buildings The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) has been designed by the European Commission to improve the energy performance of all buildings across the EU. The Directive will require that energy certificates be produced for buildings on construction, sale and lease. Large public sector buildings will be required to display energy certificates to the public. The Directive also targets boilers and air conditioning as major sources of energy consumption. website

Energy Certificates
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required on construction, sale or rent for all commercial buildings since October 2008. They rate how energy efficient a property is as a building.
  • Display Energy Certificates (DEC) are required in all public sector buildings/office larger than 1000m2 and be prominently displayed where all public visitors since 1 October 2008. They rate the operational energy efficiency of a property.

The Energy Services Directive (ESD) has been introduced by the European Commission to remove impediments and encourage energy efficiency across the European Union. Work to implement the Directive will include a review of current energy metering and billing information. The Directive also states that the public sector should fulfil "an exemplary role" in energy efficiency. Defra and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have recently run consultations on the implications of implementation.

OGC's "Achieving Excellence 11: Sustainability" sets out the processes by which a public sector client can procure and deliver construction projects that best promote sustainable development, while achieving optimum whole life value. The guide must be consulted where a programme or project contains a construction element.

BREEAM: Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method

Measures best practice in environmental design and management. BREEAM, or an equivalent methodology, must be used in all major government construction projects. In new builds a rating of "excellent" must be achieved, in major refurbishments a rating of at least "very good" must be achieved. 


Environmental Management Systems

Supplier will be expected to have an Environmental management systems (EMS). EMS’s are designed to help organisations achieve continuous improvements in environmental performance, particularly in reducing waste, energy and water consumption. They help to improve the efficiency of management processes and ensure that data collection and monitoring is systematic and robust.  EMSs should be accredited using a national or international standard, such as ISO 14001, BS 8555 or EMAS. website

Opportunities for SMEs and Third Sector Organisations

UCL supports Government's policy on creating opportunities for SMEs and third sector organisations is to encourage and support these organisations to compete for public sector contracts where this is consistent with value for money policy and UK regulations and EU Procurement Directives. SMEs can use the Business Link web site free of charge to search the thousands of public sector procurement opportunities worth up to £100,000. website
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