The government is setting up a Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Procurement to push departments to go greener

The government is to set up a centre to advise it on introducing sustainable development across its estates.

Home Office
The Home Office

The Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Procurement (CESP) will support Whitehall departments in reducing carbon emissions and waste.

The initiative comes as a response to today’s report by the Sustainable Development Commission, which urges the government to meet sustainability targets and present a role model on the issue.

According to the report, the government had made small improvements in its green commitments, such as cutting estates’ carbon emissions by 4% by the end of 2007. However, it should build on current initiatives.

A new post for a chief sustainability officer will be established to work alongside the CESP, which will be set up within the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Nigel Smith, chief executive of the OGC, said: “Government is taking the issue of sustainability very seriously, but we recognise that we need to do a lot more in order to meet the targets we have set ourselves."

“We can only do this if we build on the best practice that exists across government, and if we have good and robust information, so that we know what's happening, what impact our actions are having and where the gaps are. I'm therefore delighted that the new Centre for Expertise is to be established in OGC, and that all departments are committed to supporting its work.”

The government will also take on a number of other initiatives proposed by the report. These include ministers’ and permanent secretaries’ vehicles having carbon emissions below 120g/km, the phasing out of the use of bottled water in government meetings, and a green government IT programme to be launched this summer.