Benefits of buying sustainable goods and services
There's no legal requirement for you to purchase sustainably, or to buy sustainable goods and services, but it could help you to:
- reduce your impact on the environment
- address social issues and improve the livelihoods of individuals and communities
- improve your business' reputation
- save money over the life of a product or service.
Sustainable procurement can help your business to:
- save money and reduce your materials, equipment and running costs. For example, if the products and services you purchase result in a reduction of the volume of waste you send to landfill, this could lower your operating costs; and if you use energy-efficient and water-efficient products and services you can significantly cut your utility bills
- win new business and improve your prospects when tendering for work - some larger businesses and public sector organisations with sustainable procurement practices, when considering who to order from, may want to see how you manage your environmental and social impacts or how you meet certain sustainability standards
- improve your reputation among staff, customers and the public for ‘doing the right thing for the environment’
- reduce your exposure to risk: you will make sure you are up to date with changes to environmental legislation as this can affect which products you buy
- attract lenders or investors who work to environmental or ethical principles
- take advantage of Capital Allowances, such as the Annual Investment Allowance, for plant and equipment you purchase for your business, as this includes environmentally friendly items. See:
GOV.UK: Claim capital allowances
- qualify for business support and favourable loan schemes when buying energy-saving equipment.
See guidance on how to obtain funding:
- Carbon Trust: SME guide to financing energy efficiency projects
- Business Energy Scotland: Make your Business Greener
Find funding options:
- GOV.UK: Find funding to help your business become greener
- Ofgem: Find business energy efficiency grants and schemes (UK)
- Energy Saving Trust Scotland: Grants and loans - includes information on loans in Scotland, such as the SME Loan Scheme, the Used Electric Vehicle Loan for Businesses, the Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund for Businesses and the Low Emission Zone Support Fund.
Environmental and social benefits
By buying sustainable goods and services you can:
- save natural resources - In your processes or in manufacturing a product, you can save resources by choosing for example: products that use less energy and less quantities of raw materials, renewable energy services, and products and services that use recycled materials or materials that would otherwise be waste
- reduce your carbon emissions, for example by using renewable energy or buying energy-efficient products to reduce your energy use
- reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, for example by buying products that last longer, and that can be reused and recycled
- help your local or wider communities - For example by buying local you are creating work for local producers and suppliers; and by buying fairly traded goods you are helping to improve living and working conditions for the producers' communities
- create a market for new sustainable goods and materials to help the green economy grow and create new green jobs.
See our guide: Towards a Circular Economy