Sustainable procurement policy launch

The new national sustainable procurement policy that applies to construction will be phased in from 1 July 2024.

Known as the federal government’s ESPP (Environmentally Sustainable Procurement Policy), the aim is to promote circular economy goals by imposing new sustainability standards on construction companies which bid for federal contracts.

The ESPP will apply to the procurement of construction services, equipment, and fittings, as well as textiles, ICT goods and furniture. The idea is to generate local demand for recycled goods and encourage products that minimise greenhouse gas emissions and are safe for the environment and retain their value for longer.

Clayton Utz partner, Claire Smith, said the policy is expected to impact around 2% of the federal government’s construction service contracts in the first financial year. However, due to the $7.5 million threshold, it will encompass projects representing about half the value of all procurement contracts in Australia.

Construction Services will be the first wave of procurement to be affected from 1 July 2024 with the remaining industry sectors to be phased in a year later. Businesses bidding for construction services projects which meet the above threshold must meet agreed sustainability outcomes. These may include cutting or repurposing waste and replacing single-use materials with recycled materials.

The types of principles to be achieved and demonstrated by construction companies include minimising greenhouse gas emissions, optimising energy efficiency, use of low emissions materials; optimising water efficiency, safe disposal of chemicals, actively minimise creation of waste and amount sent to landfill, buildings to be designed for adaptability and flexibility, recycled materials used.

And for construction services procurements, government officials will determine whether to set a sustainability rating for the project that the potential supplier must achieve. Metrics are in the ESPP framework.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.