At the UK's first public sector food procurement conference, organised by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) executive director Lucy de Groot emphasised that sustainable food procurement is integral to the recently announced national procurement strategy, and that sustainable food procurement is consistent with local government's core objectives.
Ms de Groot also welcomed the October Haskins report, which acknowledges that local authorities play a key role in tackling rural need.
The audience was reminded of the buying power ower of local government and that the £40bn that local government spends with suppliers can, and will, have major social, environmental and economic impacts in their locality and beyond. They should use procurement to help deliver corporate objectives, including economic, social and
environmental objectives, as set out in the council's community plan.
Central government has declared that by 2004, every council should build sustainability into its procurement strategy, processes and contracts. Ms DeGroot praised some shining examples of successful sustainable food procurement initiatives launched by local government, namely the work being done by South Gloucestershire Council. But she stated that other councils needed to do more to deliver on sustainable food procurement and promote the work that they are doing within their localities.