About Sustainable Choice

How can Sustainable Choice help your council?

Guidance and support is given to member councils to help them work toward procuring products and services that have environmental, social, financial and cultural benefits. An extensive range of tools and resources are available online to member councils.

By building upon what councils are already doing, Sustainable Choice guides and assists councils to embed sustainability into their procurement systems and facilitates information sharing and capacity building between members.

What do we hope to achieve?

The local government sector spends billions of dollars every year procuring products and services. By making informed procurement decisions based on quadruple bottom line considerations, councils can reduce their impacts and risks now and for the future.

In many cases, long term cost savings to council occur as a result.

Sustainable procurement is also an effective way for councils to meet other responsibilities, such as energy and water saving plans, greenhouse and waste reduction strategies and community service and environmental obligations.

What are the Quadruple Bottom Line (QBL) considerations in Sustainable Procurement?

QBL considerations include (but are not limited to):

  • Environmental: long term versus short term effects, resources – waste, energy, water, biodiversity, pollution/toxicity, disposal, environmental regulations and legislation.
  • Social: social responsibility, supporting people having difficulty entering the workforce, work/life balance, supporting, engaging and educating the local community, maximising health and safety, and fair wages.
  • Financial: upfront costs, ongoing costs, future risk and liability, long term versus short term, supporting local economy.
  • Governance (Civic Leadership): staff and customers, processes and procedures, leadership, practicing values, staff development, managing business risks.

Rules and Legislation

Councils have obligations under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) to apply good governance to procurement activities and to consider the principles of Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD). The Department of Premier and Cabinet's Tendering Guidelines for NSW Local Government 2009 require the consideration of value for money across the whole life of a product or service. Practicing sustainable procurement assists councils to pursue the above.