Landmark London Carbon Emissions Report – How Will it Impact Public Sector Tendering? 


On 27 June, a joint report commissioned by the Greater London Authority, London Councils and ReLondon – a partnership between the mayoral office and London boroughs – found that greater measures need to be taken in order to meet the city’s target of two-thirds emissions reduction by 2030. Produced by The University of Leeds, the report mapped London’s overall emissions statistics from 2001 to 2020. Although consumption-based emissions have decreased by 49% over that timeframe, the reduction is not enough to meet the current target.

Consequently, bidder organisations within London’s public procurement market can expect changes to buyer preferences and broader procurement practices. With an 85% bid success rate, 14 years’ experience and hundreds of London-based SQ and ITT submissions across a range of industries, Executive Compass are ideally placed to analyse how the report and other initiatives will impact London buyers’ future procurement activities.

London-based initiatives for achieving carbon reduction

The report is not the only indication of redoubled efforts to drastically reduce carbon emissions. For example, London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is expanding to include all London boroughs, beginning on 29 August 2023. The ULEZ acts as a control measure for all vehicles within its boundaries, levying a daily charge on all vehicles which do not meet standards – currently, Euro 6 for all petrol-powered vehicles, and Euro 4 for those using diesel. 

Another initiative is the One World Living Programme, which aims to drive significant reduction in consumption emissions throughout London through ‘facilitating bottom up change’. The programme focuses on four different thematic areas: 

Theme Vision Proposed actions
Electricals ‘… Caring for electricals for longer, giving unwanted devices a second life, sharing devices that would otherwise be rarely used and recycling 100% of devices at the end of their usable life.’ Focus on keeping devices at their highest-value use by prioritising repair over replacement.

Encouraging reuse by refurbishing useable devices and sourcing a second owner.

Avoiding unnecessary device purchases where they experience little use or can be shared/hired. 

Improving collection and recycling capture to avoid devices going to landfill.  

Food ‘… Londoners will be at the heart of the change in [unsustainable] food systems, demanding food sourced from equitable and local networks, embracing climate-friendly practices and normalise sharing food amongst people and businesses.’  Eliminate avoidable food waste where possible, and recycle unavoidable waste back into productive uses within Greater London.

Increase prevalence of healthy, sustainable food items and menus within Greater London.

Increase sourcing and production of ecologically responsible foodstuffs, prioritising local suppliers to Greater London.

Plastics ‘… Develop a framework for waste composition analysis, and shift public perception of plastic from a single-use, disposable problem material to a valuable and limited resource used in the best possible way.’  Eliminate all problematic and unnecessary plastic items by adopting low plastic procurement policies for all London councils.

Prioritise circulating 100% of plastic items, keeping them in the local economy and out of the environment.

Lobby London-based supermarkets and larger stores to provide refill options and reduce plastic packaging.

Textiles ‘… Achieving a two-thirds reduction in consumption-based textile carbon emissions by ensuring residents make informed, sustainable consumer decisions and expanding textile recycling options.’  Ensure sufficient recycling for products at their end of life, thereby minimising waste to landfill. 

Improve repair rates and resale opportunities, reducing impulse shopping and promoting better washing practices.

Enhancing consumer awareness, encouraging behavioural changes to reduce overall consumption and purchasing of textile-based products.

Lastly, the Mayor of London launched the Green Finance Fund on 30 June, allocating £500 million in loans to deliver enhanced energy efficiency, clean transport and renewable energy. Funding is available for all 32 local authorities within Greater London, housing associations, further and higher education institutions, and NHS Trusts. All projects will be oriented to support London’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. 

How will this affect London-based tendering?

As achieving net zero emissions and reducing reliance on carbon-based products are at the forefront of local and national government priorities, this will understandably impact public procurement procedures, question sets and evaluation criteria. London councils and the Greater London Authority will want quantified, concrete evidence that their supply partners are working to achieve their ambitious net zero and reduced emissions targets. 

Executive Compass deliver high-quality bid and tender writing services, and have identified several topics to emphasise within tender quality responses, in addition to increased opportunities which match London local authorities’ objectives in the short term.   

Reducing carbon emissions

All London-based purchasing authorities will be under pressure to deliver significant reductions in CO2 emissions in order to meet the mayoral office’s ambitious 2030 targets. To support these targets, the tender question set will expect bidders to outline their methods for reducing emissions, or even achieving net zero. A few areas to focus on could comprise:

  • Vehicle fleet: Outlining the percentage of your vehicle fleet which are hybrid/electric and future plans for expansion will be the most persuasive starting point for reducing carbon emissions. Absent of any hybrid or electric vehicles in your fleet, evidencing full compliance with Euro 6 emissions and plans to align with upcoming Euro 7 standards for petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles is a suitable alternative. This can be further strengthened by explaining use of a dynamic route planning software, which calculates the most efficient route and can reroute staff in real time to avoid traffic or congestion. Optimisations from use of software can deliver an additional 20% reduction in emissions.
  • Operational base: Reducing energy consumption can also deliver a significant reduction to an organisation’s total emissions. This can be achieved through the installation of energy-saving lighting, appliances and smart strips for PCs. Energy-saving boilers with timed temperature controls can also contribute to reduced consumption. The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency can deliver an estimated 25-30% emissions reduction potential.
  • Waste reduction: Lastly, effective waste management processes can also support a business in achieving net zero and emissions reduction targets. For example, 32% of UK landfill waste comes directly from the construction and demolition industries. The most efficient way to reduce waste is simple source reduction. This translates to using quality parts/materials from trusted suppliers, storing partially used materials for later use and employing the waste hierarchy to encourage reusing and recycling over disposal.

Evidencing strategies for delivering carbon emissions reductions will be applicable across a range of tender question topics, such as providing an environmentally sustainable service, maintaining responsible supply chains and service agreements, and delivering works or services across a large geographic area.

One World Living Programme

Evidencing alignment and a willingness to support proposed actions from London’s One World Living Programme could be integrated into responses around environmental measures or delivering added value. For example: 

  • Outlining a programme of regular and comprehensive servicing for all electrical items used on the contract, such as PCs/electronic devices and electrical plant and equipment. This evidences a commitment to using products until the end of their natural life, avoiding the purchase of unnecessary, carbon-intensive products.
  • Demonstrating compliance with reduced plastics consumption by ensuring there are no single-use plastics – such as packaging in deliveries – within service level agreements, demonstrating a consciousness around reduction of plastics in upstream and downstream supply chains. Zero Waste Scotland has guidance on how to make more sustainable choices around plastics and packaging.
  • Sourcing responsible London organisations (such as The Felix Project, City Harvest or other local foodbanks) to donate unwanted or unneeded foodstuffs, supporting the goal of eliminating unnecessary food waste in Greater London.

In addition to responding to waste management questions, the above examples could also serve as potential initiatives for social value responses – providing targeted and specific commitments which are relevant to the interests of London buyers.

Green Finance Fund

With the value of available loans ranging from £1 million to £75 million, eligible projects must deliver improvements and benefits within one or more of the following categories – energy efficiency, clean transportation or renewable energy. All projects must be fully operational within three years of funding being awarded. For bidder organisations in the London area, this could translate to an increase in relevant opportunities, such as: 

  • Energy efficiency: As the UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, the central government has enacted several measures to increase energy efficiency across the country, such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. Opportunities through London’s Green Finance Fund could include cavity wall and loft insulation in social housing assets, upgrading street lighting to LED lights, or the installation and maintenance of a building management system in communal/public buildings
  • Clean transportation: Public transport powered by sustainable sources will be a key target to supporting future emissions reductions – particularly as the Mayor’s office has set a target of 80% of resident trips made via public transport, cycle or on foot by 2041. Bidding opportunities could include the provision of electric transport for London schools, colleges or NHS trusts.
  • Renewable energy: As loans are not available to fossil fuel boilers and heating systems, housing associations and councils may apply to strengthen the renewable systems of their housing stock or public buildings. Bidders in relevant industries could see increased opportunities for installation services of renewable heating solutions, such as air source heat pumps or solar panels

Concluding thoughts

With London’s mayoral offices and councils making such a concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions and introduce new green initiatives, prospective tenderers will be expected to stay abreast with policy developments and create new, innovative proposals for providing environmentally friendly works and services. This includes identifying buyer preferences and potential new opportunities that emerge from changes to council and Greater London policies. 

Subsequently, making reference to alignment and methods for supporting new initiatives and targets will be highly beneficial within tender responses. This will not only lead to higher marks from evaluators during the tender evaluation period, but a greater chance of growing business and increasing revenue through public sector procurement.


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