Workstream #3: Reducing consumption based emissions and influencing suppliers
Action 3.1 Sustainable Procurement
Our approach to Social Value in procurement has been reviewed in the context of the Climate Emergency Declaration and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Council trialled inclusion of an additional 10% environmental weighting within procurement to help reduce the carbon footprint of our consumption-based emissions. We are the first Local Authority to do this. Five procurement exercises covering highways and external advertising were included in the trial (some of these were for framework contracts involving multiple suppliers). The estimated total annual value of these contracts is £22m.
Examples of the positive environmental behaviours elicited by the additional 10% weighting include successful bidders:
- having carbon reduction targets for their organisation, including one who is working to be net zero carbon by 2030.
- monitoring the specific carbon emissions related to delivery of the contracted service, utilising credible tools like the Carbon Trust’s SME emissions tool.
- reducing CO2 emissions from highways surface treatment by 10% per year between 2020-22.
Work is now underway to update the Council’s social value policy, which will go to Scrutiny and Executive for approval (date currently being confirmed). Recommendations will include an option to move on a pathway to a 10% environmental weighting across all tender opportunities and commissioning activity.
Action 3.2 Tyndall Centre Report
Within the existing Social Value protocols that guide procurement, the environmental questions have been updated to reflect the findings of the Tyndall Centre report on consumption-based emissions. The work outlined in action 3.1 will support an extension of this activity to reduce the Council’s indirect emissions and work is currently underway to estimate the carbon impact of different categories of procurement to support a prioritised approach to updating specifications, evaluation questions and monitoring.
The Carbon Literacy training, which draws on the Tyndall Centre and related research, has been delivered to the Council’s Integrated Commissioning and Procurement team to help them implement improvements to drive down indirect emissions.
Action 3.3 Single Use Plastics
We have committed to be Single Use Plastic free by 2024 in line with the Plastic Free Greater Manchester Pledge. In support of this, Operational Estates have implemented changes across our estate including the cafes in City and Central Libraries:
- Issuing paper straws rather than plastic
- Issuing corn starch cutlery instead of plastic
- Using biodegradable card serving boxes for food
- Ensuring all cleaning chemicals are cradle to grave sustainable products
- Refilling workstation cleaning sprays from concentrate
- Avoiding plastic wrapping on products from cleaning material suppliers
Contract cleaners have pledged to eradicate non-essential Single Use Plastics by the end of 2020.
A range of Sustainable Events Guides have been produced in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle; these guides will be used for Council-run events as well as events organised by third parties that are held on Council land. Two Council events were delivered in line with the new guide in 2019, prior to publication and before Covid-19 restrictions halted all event activity in March 2020.
- Manchester Day 2019 featured a unique parade where everything was pushed, pulled, cycled or wheeled (except for a GM Fire & Rescue vehicle) and a large proportion of content was made from recycled and up-cycled materials. This event gained 4 stars in the externally verified Creative Green certification.
- The Festival of Manchester in 2019, held in Platt Fields Park, made water available to attendees via mains and a bowser to help reduce the sale of plastic water bottles and 15 food traders committed to using single-use plastic free cutlery and containers.
Learnings from these events are to be shared across event partners as part of rolling out of the Sustainable Event Guides - now expected in 2021 subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
£7K of funding has recently been made available through the URBACT C-Change Project (EU funded) to support the Council’s Events team to quantify the positive environmental impacts of measures to eliminate Single Use Plastics and to identify further potential to expand this good practice in future activities.
Manchester Markets have improved efficiencies around refuse collection across the city centre sites to increase recycling rates and reduce general waste. Options are now being explored to see what energy efficiency measures can be considered to improve the efficiencies of the pop-up market chalets used in the city centre. Additional positive environmental impacts have been delivered via procurement of the new Christmas decorations; bidders were specifically asked in the invitation to tender to describe how they would contribute to reducing carbon emissions. The winning bidder stated it had reduced its carbon footprint by 40% in the previous 5 years. Their lights are LEDs and the motifs used in street decorations are 100% recyclable, derived from sugar cane and recycled aluminium. At the end of their usable life these motifs are returned to the manufacturing plant where 70% is composted and 30% recycled.
Action 3.4 Citywide Supplier Toolkit
We are updating existing toolkits for suppliers to support the adoption of an additional 10% environmental weighting in procurement (see action 3.1). These toolkits will include guidance for suppliers on improving their environmental performance to help drive positive action through supply chains and will feed into the rest of the work described here. As a member of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership (MCCP), we are working with key local stakeholders to develop a shared approach to procurement and commissioning across the city that focuses on tackling climate change.
Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester have been asked by MCCP to work on the evidence base for a shared citywide Supplier Toolkit to help drive reductions in the carbon footprint of supply chains via sustainable procurement and commissioning. There is an agreement that any toolkit needs to be usable by SME’s as well as large organisations, therefore the Manchester Climate Change Agency has agreed to approach around 60 companies across a range of sectors to recruit volunteers for an initial pilot and consultation.
Action 3.5 Single Use Plastics
In partnership with Julie’s Bicycle, the Council has produced a range of Sustainable Events Guides for event organisers, suppliers, service providers and venues which include commitments to reduce an eliminate the use of Single Use Plastics. The guides were launched as part of an EU-funded URBACT C-Change project on tackling climate change within the culture sector. The event was attended by Manchester Climate Change Partnership, Manchester Arts & Sustainability Team (MAST) and international project partners from Mantova, Sibenik, Wroclaw, Agueda and Gelsenkirchen - the guides have since been translated into two languages (Italian, Croatian) by these partners.
Across Manchester Markets, changes have been introduced to influence traders: 74 traders across the Arndale and Church Street Markets, as well as the additional traders at our Specialist and Pop-up Markets, have committed to use consumables that are 100% recyclable, 100% compostable, 100% biodegradable and disposable.
Our Markets team has also made changes to the trader application process by adding an environmental section, which includes sourcing of supplies, food miles and the trader recycling policy. This data is included as part of the application scoring system. The Markets team are now working through the challenges of policing contracts and supporting traders to live up to these commitments.
In addition, 21 caterers operating across the City’s parks have also committed to reduce and eliminate single use plastics as part of their licensing agreements. As with markets, work is underway to monitor these commitments are challenges are being identified but the ambition is there, for example, Heaton Park is aiming to be single use plastic free by January 2021.
Action 3.6 A Sustainable Food System
The Manchester Food Board have drafted a Food Policy Statement and Manchester Food Recovery Action Plan to support the creation of a resilient food system. One of the Recovery Objectives is to reduce environmental impacts throughout the food system with a focus on food waste and a shift to more ecological practices. Legacy work is underway, which builds on the food response during Covid-19. Safe food donations information is now live on the Council’s website.