Public Procurement and Property

Sustainable Procurement has ‘vital role’ in tackling the climate and nature crises

November 8, 2021 by No Comments | Category Best practice, climate change, Environment, Guest Blog, net zero, Scottish Procurement, Sustainability, Sustainable Procurement Tools

As we enter the second week of COP26 in Glasgow, Saturday 6 November was celebrated as ‘Nature’ day, with a focus on “ensuring the importance of nature and sustainable land use are part of global action on climate change and a clean, green recovery”. To celebrate this theme, we welcome a guest blog from NatureScot – Scotland’s nature agency who work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it.

Climate and nature are a coupled system. They have co-evolved for the last 4 billion years and are not going to stop doing that anytime soon.

Ultimately, it is our consumption of goods and services as individuals and organisations that drives the climate-nature crisis. This is because most goods and services rely on the burning of fossil fuels and land use change.

Public procurement has a vital role to play in the transition to net zero and a nature-rich future. It can do this by setting standards and influencing market behaviours such as prompting organisations to consider not only ‘what’ they buy, but also ‘how’ they buy.  ‘How’ they can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which they operate, with a particular focus on reducing inequality.

The focus of both COP15, the UN Biodiversity Conference and COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, have helped emphasise how improving and restoring nature not only makes the world a better place, but also addresses some of the serious impacts already evident from climate change. Reaching net zero is about making genuine improvements to society and the economy.

Since last year NatureScot has been working on ideas for our new corporate plan 2022-2026 informed by the Programme for Government with the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and Natural Environment Bill which will provide targets for nature. Our Procurement Strategy will be revised with this in mind for the next financial year.

Behind our day to day decisions of what (and what not) to buy is awareness of the growing importance of nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation so that nature is seen as a vital part of climate resilience and the just transition to net-zero.

We make our Sustainable Procurement Statement of Policy and Practice available on our website to explain how sustainable procurement can support our plans for NatureScot to be a Net Zero organisation by 2035; a leader in reducing our own emission using innovation and new technology.

This must play a key part in our tendering processes and supports our efforts to ensure we raise awareness that the climate and nature crises are coupled and must be tackled together in everything we do.

NatureScot has made participation in learning about climate change mandatory for all staff. Along with a ‘Climate Solutions Accelerator course’ from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society we have implemented the Scottish Government’s ‘Climate Literacy for Procurers’ eLearning available from the SG Sustainable Procurement Tools as an essential training requirement for all staff.

This resource has helped further our understanding of how procurement activities can help us reach net zero and it is contributing to our internal conversations on climate change and how it is everyone’s responsibility to play their part in meeting Scotland’s ambitious climate change commitments.

As we host COP26 in Glasgow there’s never been a more important time for each and every one of us to be making business decisions in a responsible and sustainable way. This eLearning has helped reinforce that message across our organisation as we support the effort to help everyone understand that nature is climate, climate is nature.


NatureScot is Scotland’s nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website or follow us on Twitter.

Thank you very much, NatureScot! If other organisations wish to access the ‘Climate Literacy for Procurers’ e-learning, please visit

For further information on public procurement in Scotland please visit

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