Public Procurement and Property

World Water Week: Talking sustainable supply chains with Scottish Water

August 23, 2021 by No Comments | Category Best practice, climate change, Environment, Guest Blog, net zero, Scottish Procurement, Sustainability

To celebrate ‘World Water Week’ and the countdown to #ScotClimateWeek, Scottish Procurement are delighted to welcome a guest blog from Joe Rowan, Procurement General Manager at Scottish Water.

Scottish Water’s mission is to support a flourishing Scotland by supplying excellent quality water to five million people around the clock. Every day, we provide 1.4 billion litres to customers – and remove more than one billion litres of waste water, treat it and return it safely to the environment.

That requires an enormous amount of infrastructure – water and waste water treatment works, thousands of miles of underground pipes and sewers, complex scientific processes – all carried out by employees in our field force and in vital support functions. Protecting the environment to maintain supply to customers is at the heart of how we deliver our services. The climate crisis, ageing infrastructure and changes in population are all placing new challenges on us.

Last year we launched our emissions reduction Routemap which will take us to 2040 when Scotland’s water and waste water services will achieve net zero status. We cannot do any of this on our own. Scottish Water’s supply chain helps us deliver service every day but will also help us achieve net zero ambitions.

Joe Rowan

Joe Rowan

I have found the businesses we work with are really inspired by Scottish Water’s Beyond Net Zero ambition and we have already had some great initial thoughts from our supply chain on how they will support our drive to reduce emissions.

All our suppliers have committed to create carbon plans by 2023. During recent procurements to establish our new supply chain bidders submitted their initial carbon plans with their business plan as part of the procurement process. Our Zero Emissions team assessed and scored these, providing feedback to help develop them further.

Scottish Water sets the context, and our suppliers develop carbon plans that suit their business. These can include simple things like where you buy your electricity to strategies to decarbonise fleet and products.

We also support our suppliers with information on carbon and carbon reduction and have created a dedicated section in our supply chain e-portal to hold shared knowledge and resources.

As a result of challenging our supply chain partners to find ways to support our net zero ambition, we have received positive challenge back. One supplier suggested working with them to fully decarbonise a project site which led to a wider roll out of the net zero exemplar projects challenge being rolled out on a wider basis.

From the creation of our shared water sector vision to our purpose of supporting a flourishing Scotland, I feel we are more outward looking than ever. We have a lot to offer Scotland, but we must engage with others to make it happen and our stakeholders, supply chain and customers are all critical to our success.

How we think about and consider our customers and communities has changed greatly over the last 10 -15 years and the way we view our supply chain must also continue to adapt – by valuing the experience and capability they bring and through being more open, receptive, and collaborative.

Our suppliers are an extension of our teams and many of them are the face of Scottish Water in our communities. With this in mind, our recently launched Scottish Water character – Bold, Inspiring, Responsible and Caring – will be built into onboarding activities.

The vast majority of businesses we work with are located in Scotland, so they are also our customers. As both partners and customers, they have a voice and role to input into Scottish Water and the wider water sector vision as we transform together.


Thank you to Scottish Water for that fascinating blog post showing how the #PowerOfProcurement is supporting Scotland’s net zero ambitions. An excellent example showing how public procurement in Scotland is:

  • Good for Businesses and Employees
  • Good for Society
  • Good for Places and Communities
  • Open and Connected

For further information on Scotland’s Public Procurement Priorities please click here.

#ScotClimateWeek takes place from 13th – 19th September, follow @ScotGovNetZero for updates and #LetsDoNetZero together.


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