Guide

Supply chain efficiency

Benefits of buying sustainable goods and services

There's no legal requirement for you to purchase sustainably, or to buy sustainable goods and services, but it could help you to:

  • reduce your impact on the environment
  • address social issues and improve the livelihoods of individuals and communities
  • improve your business' reputation
  • save money over the life of a product or service

Business benefits

Sustainable procurement can help your business to:

  • save money and reduce your materials, equipment and running costs, eg reducing the volume of waste you send to landfill could lower your operating costs, and by using energy and water efficient products and services you can significantly cut your utility bills
  • win new business and improve your prospects when tendering for work - some larger businesses and public sector organisations could ask to see how you manage your environmental and social impacts or ask you to meet certain sustainability standards
  • improve your reputation among staff, customers and the public
  • reduce your exposure to risk, eg by keeping up to date with changes to environmental legislation which could affect the products you buy
  • attract lenders or investors who work to environmental or ethical principles
  • take advantage of tax breaks such as the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, which provides a tax incentive to businesses that invest in energy-saving and water-saving equipment, and low-emission vehicles
  • qualify for business support and loan schemes when buying energy-saving equipment such as interest-free energy efficiency loans from the Carbon Trust

For more information about using environmental issues to promote your business, see how to market your environmental credentials.

Environmental and social benefits

By buying sustainable goods and services you can:

  • reduce your carbon emissions, eg by using renewable energy or buying energy efficient products to reduce your energy use
  • save natural resources, eg by choosing products and services that use recycled materials or waste as a raw material or resource
  • reduce waste sent to landfill, eg by buying products which can be reused or recycled
  • help your local or wider communities, eg by creating work for local suppliers or buying fairly traded goods to help improve living and working conditions
  • create a market for new sustainable goods and materials to help the green economy grow and create new green jobs