What Do I Do on Climate?

You should consider including climate selection criteria in your procurement exercise that will result in carbon reduction.  This could be done by including climate selection criteria into your Single Procurement Document (SPD) in question 4C7.

Your selection criteria must be proportionate and considered for all relevant contracts or priority contracts.

What is a Relevant Contract?

The Sustainable Procurement Tools Platform contains tools and guidance to help you  decide when it is relevant to include climate criteria in your procurement exercise.

The Sustainability Test is a self-assessment tool designed to help buyers embed relevant and proportionate sustainability requirements consistently in the development of contracts and frameworks. The results of the Sustainability Test will identify if the contract is relevant and if the buyer should therefore address climate considerations at this stage of the procurement.

What is a Priority Contract?

Priority contracts are:

  • Contracts with a total value of £4 million or greater or
  • Contracts that focus on commodities identified as climate change priorities by your organisation’

If the procurement is a relevant and/or priority climate change contract you must state this in your Contract Notice or in the SPD Module in PCS  More information is provided below in the Climate Change Plan section

What is the SPD Module in PCS?

The SPD Module in PCS allows you to create and issue an electronic version of the SPD. The SPD Module also allows bidders to store and reuse their answers when responding to SPD requests from buyers.

Further help in setting these standards can be found in the standardised statements.

Climate Selection Criteria Tools and Support

Standardised Statements

Climate statements have been added to the SPD standardised statements to help you create your selection criteria.

Climate Change Strategy and Sustainable Procurement Tools Platform

When setting your climate selection criteria, you may wish to consider key themes from your organisation’s Climate Change Strategy. 

For example the Scottish Government Climate Change Plan includes the following priority areas: buildings, transport, waste, electricity, agriculture, Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), and industry. 

The Sustainable Procurement Tools Platform contains:

  • The Prioritisation Tool to help you identify your climate change priorities
  • Guidance and training on Climate and Procurement, including Climate Literacy eLearning

Bidder Climate Change Plan Template

Two templates have been provided to help both buyers and bidders as part of this process.  One has been designed specifically for Priority Contracts and the other for Relevant Contracts.

If you have identified that your procurement exercise is a relevant and/or priority contract, you may ask bidders to provide assurance of their awareness of and response to the climate emergency.   

This may be done by asking bidders to provide a completed Bidder Climate Change Plan in the selection stage at SPD question 4C.7. The template should be included in the procurement documents for the bidder to submit at the appropriate stage in the procurement process. 

Where the Organisation wants to reduce barriers to participation in a procurement process, they may wish to use the ‘relevant’ template for higher value/ priority contracts.  For example,  for frameworks or Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) exercises that may include a number of smaller enterprises.  

The Bidder "priority contract" Climate Change Plan Template asks bidders to supply:

  • their organisation's scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions sources
  • their organisation's calculated scope 1 and 2 emissions
  • a timeline for planned emissions reduction
  • a list of actions that the organisation is taking to achieve emissions reduction

The Bidder ‘relevant contract’ Climate Change Plan Template asks bidders to supply:

  • Their organisation’s scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions sources
  • A list of actions that the organisation is taking to achieve emissions reduction

As you can see from the above, the Bidder ‘relevant contract’ Climate Change Plan Template asks bidders to supply information on their organisation’s emissions sources, but does not currently ask bidders to calculate their carbon emissions.  This plan also requires bidders to supply the actions the bidder is taking to address their organisation’s carbon emissions.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Scope 1, 2  and 3 Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions are classified as Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions arising from owned or controlled sources e.g. owned vehicles, combustion of fuel in facilities

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased energy e.g. electricity, heating, cooling

Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions that occur in the organisation’s value chain e.g. purchased goods and services, waste, business travel, staff commuting, water

Where bidders are required to provide a climate change plan, the requirement to do so should be stated in the Contract Notice at III.1.3 Technical and Professional Ability (or if using the PCS SPD module, the relevant criteria box at Question 4C.7)

You must attach the appropriate Bidder Climate Change Plan Template in the Procurement Documents (if using the PCS SPD module, the template can be added to the Postbox or if using PCS-Tender, the attachments area.)    

Blank Relevant and Priority Bidder Climate Change Plan Templates are included below as well as completed examples for several sectors.

You should seek assurance from bidders that they can provide a climate change plan when requested to do so at the appropriate stage of the procurement exercise.

Guidance for buyers on evaluating templates is found on the Sustainable Procurement Tools.

Bidders can reuse the information that has been provided in an SPD  for a previous procurement procedure, as long as the information remains correct..

The online SPD module in PCS supports this by allowing bidders to save previously used answers and evidence within a supplier profile. This enables them to recall their saved answers when completing future SPD (Scotland) requests.

Climate Examples

Climate Change Guidance documents Climate Change Adaptation, Carbon in Production and Climate and Energy hosted on Sustainable Procurement Toolseach include an annex of example procurement clauses and KPIs relating to climate that you could also ask of bidders, as appropriate

Some other examples can be found in the table below: 


What practical steps/activities and changes your organisation can make to what you do now
  • Use recycled products
  • remove single use plastics
  • reduce and use recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging, where appropriate, in manufacturing and supply chain logistics processes
The objectives/outcomes expected from your activities
  • Reduce the use of single use plastics by X %

The timelines involved with these activities

  • Set milestones for reduction with complete elimination by X
How you will monitor and evidence the changes and impact your organisation can/will make
  • Review PO’s raised and the number of times used
New opportunities 
  • Add new products/do something differently whist reducing carbon emissions

How you can contribute to what we buy, making sure that this is low carbon through the supply chain

  • Provide a new way of delivering goods or services, such as ‘product as a service’ to keep or maximise the use of products and keep materials in use for as long as possible

How you can make a difference to our climate change aspirations?

  • Provide goods or services that result in carbon emissions reduction in public sector workplaces


Bidder Climate Change Plan Templates and Template Examples

Different plans are required for relevant and priority contracts.  Blank Relevant and Priority Bidder Climate Change Plan Templates are included below as well as completed examples for several sectors.

Guidance for buyers on evaluating templates is found on the Climate Change Guidance page of the Sustainable Procurement Tools


Note that the Bidder ‘priority contract’ Climate Change Plan Template may be updated in the future.  Any changes made will be communicated.

More information on timing and milestones can be found in Climate Timescales.