§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what ways environmentally sustainable procurement strategies within the Department have driven innovation in the design and supply of products. 1545W
§ Mr. Morley
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out an overview of the Government's approach to sustainable procurement on 30 October 2003,Official Report,column 15WS, signalling how recommendations from the inter-departmental Sustainable Procurement Group (SPG) would be taken forward.
The emphasis in the first phase of action will be on the frameworks for sustainable procurement practice and the embedding across Government of minimum specification standards which represent good environmental practice. We consider that these are essential steps towards tackling the still tougher challenge of encouraging environmental innovation through public procurement.
The report of the SPG (www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sdig/improving/partf/report03/08.htm) recommended that the theme of sustainable procurement and innovation should be a focus for further work over the coming year. That work has now started, and will be taken forward in the context also of the Government's Innovation Report, published by the Department of Trade and Industry in December (www.dti.gov.uk/innovationreport/innovation-report-full.pdf).
It is expected that the forthcoming procurement section of the "Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate" (see http://www.sustainabledevelopment.gov.uk/sdig/improving/index.htnn) will set Government wide commitments for embedding sustainable development considerations in departmental procurement strategies.