Rail operator introduces incentive to boost emphasis on sustainability within its supply chain

Network Rail is to award 5% of all tender points on suppliers’ ability to meet its sustainability criteria from next month, Building can reveal.

Following discussions with its sustainability working group, the rail operator will ask all tenders to demonstrate how they will meet its sustainability criteria.

From 1 December Network Rail will give the best tender, in terms of sustainability, five percentage points towards its overall score. The rest of the tenders will be awarded between zero and four percentage points depending on how well they are judged to have met the criteria.

Network Rail said it wanted to see “clear and measurable targets” in the supply chain tenders. Anooj Oodit, director of rail at consultant Turner & Townsend, said: “I think it’s fair to say that all the suppliers are really keen on this. If sustainability is important and you want to drive it forward it’s an important step to making sustainability count [commercially].”

Meike Borcher, sustainability consultant at WSP, said the policy showed Network Rail was taking sustainability “seriously”. “Over the last few years the construction industry has started to really focus on driving down their environmental impacts and to improve their sustainable procurement policies. It is important that these efforts are encouraged and rewarded by their clients,” she said.

However, John Davies head of sustainability at consultant Davis Langdon, said 5% was “relatively modest” and that other clients were already attributing between 10% and 15% of tender scores to sustainability targets.