With Net Zero being very much in the headlines, we decided that it would be helpful to refresh and update our guidance on how your business can demonstrate its commitment to reducing its carbon impact and be in a stronger position to win tenders.

In our Net Zero post (Dec 2020), we discussed that the UK made a commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero (Carbon Neutral) by 2050  to meet global targets preventing more severe impacts of climate change.

Net Zero is the project name for the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. In the last couple of years we have seen Net Zero gain prominence in public sector tendering. Many large organisations are setting their own targets to achieve Net Zero by 2030 (well in advance of the Government’s 2050 target). Such organisations seek carbon reduction commitments from their supply chain as part of this journey. This means businesses presenting how they minimise their carbon emissions and reduce their carbon footprint in their tenders are looked at favourably.

Commonly asked questions:

How can I reduce my carbon impact?

The public sector is supporting businesses to achieve reduce their carbon impact and achieve Net Zero by providing resources and guidance, such as the Cabinet Office’s Carbon Reduction Plan template. This template can be used by businesses as a starting point for recording emissions baselines and developing their carbon reduction strategies.

What does being Carbon Negative mean?

Definition: The reduction of an organisation’s carbon footprint to less than neutral, so that the organisation has a net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rather than adding to it.

Why is being Carbon Negative important?

Two words: climate change!

By reducing the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere we can significantly reduce global warming.

What does this mean for public sector tendering?

There is pressure on the government to look at every industry and how carbon can be reduced starting at the top with energy firms all the way down to producers and growers of food and everyone in between.

Whilst an awareness of your organisation’s carbon footprint and the actions you take to minimise it is likely to form part of your existing Environmental Policy, we are now witnessing a more distinct stance with focussed and planned targets being needed tender submissions in order to convince buying organisations of a strong and pro-active stance on Net Zero. Depending on the industry you are operating in, it in increasingly likely that you will be asked for a policy on your carbon footprint/emissions/commitment to Net Zero.

What can I do?

Monitor carbon emissions and create a policy surrounding how you are going to contribute to the UK’s reduction of carbon emissions. This could put you ahead of the competition and is a step toward futureproofing your business. Set SMART targets for what your business can do to reduce its carbon impact.

Simple things to consider that can make a huge difference:

  • Can your company cars be replaced with electric or hybrid cars?
  • Could your haulage process be more streamlined to reduce number of loads, miles travelled etc.?
  • Could renewable energy be installed at your premises?
  • If you are a manufacturer, are your processes as green as they can be?
  • Raw materials – some materials take more carbon to produce than others. Do you have visibility of this in the products that your business consumes or uses in its supply chain?
  • Move to a paperless office (or as much as you can): One tonne of everyday white, un-recycled paper creates the equivalent of 2 tonnes of carbon emissions, consumes 22,000 gallons of water, and puts a little under a tonne of waste into our landfills.
  • Allow more flexible working: reduce the carbon emissions associated with commuting by allowing your staff to work from home 1-2 days per week. Covid provided many organisations with the testing ground for home working, so for many the infrastructure to support this is now in place. For those organisations have not yet enabled or commenced home working, there are many tried and tested remote working solutions available that will enable you to connect with your teams and share information efficiently throughout the working day.
  • Create a plastic free culture at work: encourage as much “plastic free” behaviour as possible – remove plastic cups from water coolers and instead offer glasses or reusable water bottles. Remove single use plastic bags across the premises. Encourage staff to think about the amount of plastic they are bringing onto the premises each day.
  • Say no to standby: all electrical equipment should be turned off at the end of each working day – computers, printers, microwaves, radios etc. This includes leaving phone chargers plugged in when not in use.

There are many more fantastic ideas, guides and tools on the Carbon Trust website resources pages, including these:



Other useful links:



Please do get in touch if we can help you better understand how to demonstrate your carbon reduction credentials and Net Zero plans in your next tender submission.

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