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Award for excellence in environmental management for UK Environment Agency

The UK Environment Agency has won this year’s European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Award for excellence in environmental management. The 2009 awards focused on the supply chain including green procurement.

Holger Robrecht, chairman of the award jury and Director of Sustainability Management at ICLEI European Secretariat said:

"The UK Environment Agency deserves special credit for their efforts to include ambitious green and social criteria, as well as for successfully embedding sustainable procurement activities in their management processes. We hope that their example will inspire public and private organizations across Europe."

Dr Paul Leinster, Chief Executive at the Environment Agency, said:

"Winning this award against tough competition from across Europe demonstrates our continued leadership in this field."

"As an environmental regulator we seek to lead by example. We know that the goods and services we need to do our job have an impact on the environment, so we work hard to minimise these impacts – and encourage our suppliers to do the same."

"It is important that we help set new standards on environmental performance and it shows public and private sector organisations not only that it can be done, but also that it helps to reduce running costs."

This year 32 organisations from 12 European countries were nominated. The seven winners were selected by a jury of six environmental management and public procurement experts. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said:

"I congratulate all the winners on their achievements and thank them for the excellent example they are setting. By purchasing goods and services that respect the environment, companies and organisations can have a major influence on suppliers and stimulate the market for more sustainable products".

UK Environment Agency received a high score for its special efforts in developing sustainable supply chain (e.g. Fairtrade clothing example), capacity building for staff and the scope of their procurement policy. The Agency has developed a robust and comprehensive sustainability assessment process, which is applied to all contracts above a 25,000 GBP threshold.

The award jury noted that the UK Environment Agency takes sustainability aspects into account at all stages of the procurement procedure, including specifications, selection criteria and evaluation criteria. The Agency shares its approach widely across government and encourages its suppliers and other organisations to embed sustainable procurement practices as part of their everyday procurement activity. Their practices have also been recognised as ambitious and innovative on the national level (e.g. CIPS award for timber procurement policy).

In addition, the jury noted that the UK Environment Agency is very conscious of the fact that the goods and services needed to carry out its work affect the environment. The Agency focuses on ten high-risk categories and prioritises procurement effort based on the sustainability risk and value of the proposed contract.

EMAS prize categories:

Micro-organisations (less than 10 employees and annual turnover up to €2 million)
Small organisations (10-50 employees and annual turnover up to €10 million)

Medium-sized organisations (50-250 employees and annual turnover of up to €50 million and/or balance sheet up to €43 million)

Large organisations (more than 250 employees and annual turnover of more than €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of more than €43 million)

Public administration

The UK Environment Agency won the prize in the public administration category.

Three prizes were given in this category, due to an equal evaluation by the jury. The public administration winners were:

Environment Agency, United Kingdom

The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting and improving the environment and promoting sustainable development in England and Wales. The Environment Agency spends more than half its budget on large construction works and is very conscious of their impact on the environment. A sustainability risk assessment is carried out for all contracts over €29,000. The Environment Agency received a high score for its special efforts in developing a sustainable supply chain, training for staff and the scope of its procurement policy.

Land Oberösterreich, Austria

The central procurement office of the federal state government of Oberösterreich, was recognised for its efforts to mainstream sustainable procurement within the region. The office, which covers more than 200 government agencies as a central federal procurement department, uses EU GPP criteria in its procurement procedures and was commended for its integrated and ambitious approach.

Umweltbundesamt, Germany

Umweltbundesamt is Germany’s central federal authority on environmental matters. It provides scientific support to the federal government and information to the public on environmental issues and is also responsible for implementing environmental laws. The agency has implemented a comprehensive system to practise ambitious green public procurement. It works with 50 EMAS-registered partners and 62 suppliers that hold the German national ecolabel "Blauer Engel".

For the winners in other categories, see here: http://www.emasawards.eu/

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