Detailed guidance for environmentally sustainable outputs

Find model approaches and further information in relation to environmentally sustainable outputs.


Environmentally sustainable outputs is one of three sustainable procurement objectives included in the Social Procurement Framework. 

Corresponding sustainable outcomes 

The Social Procurement Framework identifies two sustainable outcomes corresponding to this sustainable procurement objective: 

  1. Project-specific requirements to use sustainable resources and to manage waste and pollution. 
  2. Use of recycled content in construction. 

These outcomes are addressed separately below. 

Recommended action 

Individual procurement activity requirements for government buyers (Table 3 of the Social Procurement Framework) recommends the following actions: 

For individual procurement activities valued at or above $20 million (exclusive of GST), government buyers include requirements as relevant on recycled content, waste management and energy consumption. 

Project-specific requirements to use sustainable resources and to manage waste and pollution 

Benefits for Victorians 

The sustainable use of resources has an important impact on Victoria by reducing waste. For example, the use of sustainable resources can reduce carbon emissions, use of virgin materials, transport costs and impacts, and energy and water use. 

Appropriate management increases the recovery of resources, minimises illegal dumping and avoids undue stress on the environment.  

Considering sustainability at the design and planning stages of a project maximises the opportunities to achieve positive outcomes in the most cost-effective way. Good design can often reduce the use of materials from the outset and improve other aspects of performance and reduce lifecycle costs. 

Model approach for government buyers 

The model approach to delivering this outcome involves three components: 

  • prior to going to market, complete an environmental impact risk assessment and environmentally sustainable design opportunities assessment for the proposed project in consultation with a suitably qualified environmental professional(s) with expertise in environmental impact assessment and environmentally sustainable design; 
  • prepare information for suppliers on environmental impact risk areas identified from the assessment and include detailed environmental performance standards and specifications for suppliers to comply with (including, but not limited to, applicable regulatory standards). Performance may be specified as meeting a specific rating level(s) within nominated industry rating system(s); and 
  • require suppliers to commit to developing, implementing and reporting against an environmental management plan and relevant environmental performance rating tool(s) for the project. 

Further information for buyers 

Sustainable use of materials 

Refer to Sustainability Victoria for further advice on sustainable use of materials. 

Industry standards and rating systems 

See further information provided in relation to Project-specific requirements to minimise greenhouse gas emissions about industry standards and rating systems. 

Disposal of construction and demolition waste 

The correct disposal of waste (end of life materials) from construction projects is important to minimise illegal dumping and avoid harm to the environment. Where a procurement involves construction and demolition, refer to the Environment Protection Authority’s Toolkit for the management of solid waste from civil and construction & demolition sites to ensure the correct management of waste.  

Use of recycled content in construction 

Benefits for Victorians 

A significant opportunity exists to reduce demand on virgin resources by substituting them with alternative or recycled materials and without comprising performance. 

Where virgin materials can be substituted, or complemented using alternative or recycled materials, and the resulting product is fit-for-purpose, the Victorian Government strongly recommends the use of those materials. 

This approach not only frees up supply to meet demand where no substitute for extractive resources is available, but it also helps prevent stockpiles of recovered materials such as glass, plastics and rubber (tyres) that have the potential to impact the health, safety and environment of the Victorian community. 

The use of recycled materials is a critical element of a circular economy. It creates demand, which will support a robust recycling industry and enable Victoria to use and reuse resources in a sustainable and cost-effective way. 

Model approach for government buyers 

The model approach to delivering this outcome involves four components: 

  • prior to going to market, complete an analysis in consultation with a suitably qualified professional of the materials likely to be required for use within a proposed construction and identify opportunities for use of recycled content
  • establish appropriate minimum targets for the use of recycled content for the supplier response, for example in relation to specific materials
  • prepare information for suppliers on opportunities for using recycled content based on the professional analysis and specify requirements for suppliers to provide detailed proposals within their written response in relation to recycled content to be sourced for and used in the project
  • require suppliers to commit to developing, implementing and reporting against an environmental management plan which includes a specific focus on the use of recycled content

Further information for buyers 

Sustainability Victoria is currently consulting across Government, with support from the Department of Treasury and Finance, to develop a catalogue of recycled content for use in construction. Further guidance will be made available by Sustainability Victoria in accordance with the Victorian Government’s Recycling Industry Strategic Plan.

Tools and support 

This content on this page is taken from the Social Procurement Framework – Buyer Guidance Guide to individual procurement activity requirements. Access a PDF version in the social procurement document library

For more information about social procurement, please contact the Social Procurement team

Reviewed 08 November 2019

Buying for Victoria

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