SMEs in a huge range of sectors rely for at least part of their income on government contracts. When I looked at the Contracts Finder on Gov.uk today, there were 2146 contracts listed. These invited bids for everything from replacing windows at Skegness and Gainsborough police stations through to providing temporary body storage services for Westminster City Council. However, if your business is considering bidding for government contracts, you need to be aware of upcoming changes to the rules.

New rules for bidding for government contracts

If you want to bid for government contracts worth £5 million or more, you need to have published a carbon reduction plan by this September. In addition, you must also commit to ‘net zero’ by 2050. Net zero means that your business becomes carbon neutral – the emissions you produce are balanced by the emissions your activities take out of the atmosphere.

The new requirements are in place because of the government’s new target to cut the UK’s emissions by 78% by 2035. This is a step towards becoming a net zero country by 2050.

How do I create a carbon reduction plan?

Before you create a carbon reduction plan, it’s wise to take a closer look at what the government requires. Your first step should be to download this pdf – it’s a procurement policy note called ‘Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts’. This document contains supporting guidance and a template for your carbon reduction plan. This plan must include:

  • Confirmation that you commit to achieving net zero for your UK operations by 2050.
  • Your current emissions according to relevant parts of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
  • Emissions reporting in CO2e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) for the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphurhexafluoride).
  • The environmental measures you have in place, including certification schemes or specific carbon reduction measures you have adopted. You must be able to apply these when performing the contract.
  • Confirmation that you have published your carbon reduction plan on your website.

What else should I do?

The stronger your carbon reduction plan, the stronger your bid for any government contract is likely to be. It may be a good idea to talk to a carbon reduction consultant who can help you create an achievable and compliant plan.

If you’d prefer to draw up your carbon reduction plan in-house, there are plenty of ideas online for reducing emissions. For example, this post on going zero waste has five helpful ideas for reducing your carbon footprint.

Another good idea is to check out the carbon reduction plans published by other businesses and organisations. These are a good source of practical ideas. In addition, some organisations such as Zero Waste Scotland offer downloadable digital carbon reduction plan templates.

More help with bidding for government contracts

While bids for government contracts have new environmental requirements, you still have to supply financial information. The clearer and more accurate this information is, the better. If you are a THP client, we are very happy to help you provide clear management accounts and financial reports for any government bid – simply get in touch with your account manager. 

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About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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