03 May 2022

Public Sector Carbon Net Zero Targets: What Public Sector IT suppliers Need to Know (Guest blog from Advice Cloud)

Guest blog by Jos Creese, Strategic Advisor at Advice Cloud.

It’s a big topic and evolving fast, as part of wider sustainability and social priorities facing public service organisations and in the way that they engage with suppliers – including the tech sector.

Technology has the power to transform a public service, as well as tackling some of the most intractable social, economic, and environmental pressures. It is no surprise therefore that there is scrutiny of technology procurement opportunities, and that most if not all the exemplar projects have a significant digital component. This is particularly true in local authorities, but also a growing priority for central government procurement.

So how should IT suppliers position themselves? And how can they best distinguish between ‘green wash’ aims and genuine initiatives that can make the difference between winning and losing a contract?

The following five steps can help position any supplier in the best possible way:

1

Take some time out to understand what ‘social value’ and ‘net zero’ aims mean for a public service organisation. Get involved in upstream conversations, prior to any tendering, and do some good web research. There are some great example projects as well as stated policy and aims, and although these may be indirectly related, they will have a relevance in how tender responses can be made

2

Look for a trigger points in tenders. These may be more subtle than simply responding to specific green metrics, and more to do with how a partnership can be developed, and how specific technologies can have a broader application to address social and environmental pressures/projects

3

Consider your own organisation – do you have your own carbon net zero targets, policies, practices, standards? What partnerships do you have with the public sector or other private sector organisations related to net zero ambitions? Laying these out will give some credibility to your tender response provided they can be readily found online and shown to be real

4

Think laterally about how you respond to a tender. The priority must be to ensure that you address the requirements as stated, but there are usually opportunities beyond this to provide additional insight, ideas and perspective that can maximise the contribution of your service or technology to address wider environmental ambitions. This could be offering to work with a public service organisation free of charge as part of a contract, perhaps building on good work that your organisation is already engaged in.

5

The public sector needs the help of the private sector. Do not be restrained in offering to bring external best practices, innovation, ideas, case studies and work that has been undertaken elsewhere, if it can add value to the social and environmental ambitions of a public service.

Most if not all of these five steps can be undertaken before and outside a tender response, and readiness will help to minimise extra work in responding to a request for information or specific tender opportunity.


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techUK provides opportunities for members to showcase climate tech innovation. Members are invited to speak at events, contribute to reports, write blogs, run webinars, and take part in podcasts that support their environmental action. We strive to amplify the sector’s commitment to sustainability. To discuss how we can support you, please visit our Climate Action Hub and click ‘contact us’.