New procurement strategy could mean the Olympics sustainability targets are rolled out to all public sector construction

The tough sustainability targets used for the Olympics could be rolled out to all public sector construction as the government draws up a new green procurement strategy.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the Olympics, has confirmed that government departments are looking at creating a new set of standards that would be applied across Whitehall.

This follows a statement in December from the culture minister Jeremy Hunt that said the Games’ green construction targets had “set new standards in sustainable procurement” and would “in future be applied to procurement across government”.

The department said the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) targets, which included a 50% reduction in carbon emissions on 2006 Building Regulation standards, would be used to “inform” the strategy.

“The culture department is working with Defra and other government departments to develop a model of sustainable procurement that can be applied across government,” it said.

However, the government is keeping tight-lipped on further details of the strategy, which it said was in the “planning and development phase.”

While the ODA has met many of its green targets, it did not hit its renewable energy or carbon emissions targets (see box below).

Chief construction adviser Paul Morrell declined to comment on how the new green standards would fit in with other targets, including an aim to cut costs by 10-20% over the next four years.

Chief executive of green consultancy BRE Peter Bonfield, who has worked with the ODA on sustainability since 2006, said he had met ministers to discuss how the targets could be applied to all state construction.

ODA green targets

50% less carbon emissions – Missed, will instead offset by putting over £1m into energy efficiency for nearby homes and schools           
20% of energy to come from renewable sources after the Games – Missed, will only be 9%
Reclaim 90% of demolition waste by weight for reuse or recycling – Met
Divert 90% from landfill – Met
Deliver 50% of materials by rail or water – Exceeded by 17%