Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Sustainable purchasing checklist: things to consider when buying goods or services for your business

Primary processes, eg natural resources or raw materials

What raw materials are used, eg are they renewable?

Could the extraction or processing of the materials cause air, land or water pollution?

Could extraction or processing produce waste?

Secondary processes, eg manufacture

What resources are used during manufacture, eg energy and water?

Could the manufacturing process cause air, land or water pollution?

Does the process meet relevant legal requirements?

Will the process or product meet the requirements of an environmental standard or ecolabel?

Are hazardous materials used?

How much packaging is used?

Does the process produce waste?

Does the manufacturer have good working conditions and pay a fair wage?

Tertiary processes, eg distribution

Where will your products or services come from, eg what distance will they have to travel?

How will a product get to you, eg air, rail or road?

How will goods be stored, eg will they need cold stores?


What resources will be used during use and maintenance, eg energy, water, hazardous materials?

Will the product need to be handled carefully, eg could it cause air, land or water pollution?

Does the product have a limited shelf life, eg could it go out of date and need to be disposed of before you use it?

How easy will it be to get the product repaired if all or part of it stops working?

Will staff need training to use the product or service efficiently?

Will using it produce waste?

Will equality or diversity issues affect service delivery, eg does the service meet the needs of different users and those with different cultural backgrounds?

Could staff providing a service be exploited, eg low pay, antisocial hours?

End of life

How will you dispose of it?

Do you have to follow any legal requirements to use, store or dispose of it?

How long will it last?

Can it be reused, remanufactured or recycled?

Will it produce hazardous waste?


In this Guideline

Benefits of buying sustainable goods and services

Avoiding unnecessary purchases

How to make your buying more sustainable

Buying products and services with environmental labels

Top tips for buying key goods and services sustainably

Selecting a sustainable supplier

Environmentally friendly products and services - further information

Things to consider when buying goods or services for your business

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms