3. Acquisition

3.1 Introduction

Decisions taken as a result of the Planning and Requirement Definition phase must be reflected in the solicitation and contract documents. A clear definition of the technical requirements including the environmental outcomes to be achieved, terms and conditions including environmental terms such as use of certified recyclers, mandatory requirements and bid evaluation criteria, as applicable, as well as the contractor selection methodology will permit the award of a contract that supports value for money propositions.

3.2 Selection According to Technical Capacity

The objective at this stage is to select the bidder most able to execute the contract. The procurement obligations under the trade agreements, the Government Contracts Regulations as well as the federal government procurement policies permit contracts to be awarded on the basis of either lowest price or most economically advantageous tender reference.

The option to award on the basis of "most economically advantageous tender" must meet certain conditions and be relevant to the subject of the contract. This can include a life cycle cost analysis to be completed as part of the selection process in order to demonstrate that the environmental benefits lead to cost efficiencies or cost savings, over the expected life cycle of the goods or acquired services.

The PWGSC Bid Evaluation Process and Contractor Selection Methods provides a list of evaluation schemes and various selection methods (from lowest technically compliant bid to highest rated within a stipulated budget) as a guide for contracting authorities. The basic principles described in the guidelines for developing bid evaluation and contractor selection methodologies apply to environmental requirements just as they apply to quality, price and performance of the goods, construction, or services. These documents are made available to Government Users Only due to their commercial confidential nature.

Where relevant to the subject matter of the requirement, the solicitation can request evidence of the following:

  • Description of tools, work plans and technical equipment with less environmental impact;
  • Environmental attributes of products, including features which result in lower environmental impact during use, maintenance, and disposal;
  • Use of certification system labels (or equivalent) such as Ecologo, GreenSeal;
  • Specification of measures taken to minimize, reuse or recycle packaging;
  • Indication of environmental management measures;
  • Past performance in fulfilling similar environmental requirements; and
  • Environmental Management Systems – evidence of environmental management measures that are relevant to the execution of the contract may be required.

Where independent certification is required, contracting authorities can refer to relevant environmental management international standards such as ISO 14001 or other evidence of equivalent environmental management measures. All factors leading to the contractor selection must be clearly defined in the solicitation documentation.

Additional examples of environmental factors and environmental criteria that could be taken into consideration are included at Appendix 2 of this guide.

3.3 Evaluation of Bids

Where value for money is determined based on total life cycle costs, the contract should be awarded to the bidder whose proposal offers the best combination of total life cycle costs, quality and performance to meet that requirement, consistent with the published bid evaluation and contractor selection methodology.

The federal government must ensure that all aspects of the procurement, including the goods, construction, or service specification, the terms and conditions, and the bid evaluation methodology used are transparent. All requirements must be clearly defined in terms of quantifiable performance and specific contract deliverables to permit ongoing monitoring of both the contract performance and the effective implementation of decisions affecting the acquisition, use, operation, and disposal of goods or services to ensure that contractual obligations are met and that value for money is achieved.

3.4 Contract Award

To ensure that environmental criteria are met, performance-monitoring activities are to be included in the contract terms and clearly establish the Government's expectations on how performance will be rated and recorded. In addition, the terms of the contract should indicate how past performance information will be used during the contract period and/or in any future application such as in the evaluation of future contract opportunities for environmentally preferable goods or services. Once aware that performance assessments will directly affect their ability to compete for future contracts, a contractor will normally take actions necessary to improve its performance. Accordingly, the contractor should be made aware of how the department rates its performance and, as a matter of best practice, departments should ask the contractor if there are areas where the department could have improvedits own performance.

3.5 Contract Performance Clauses

While the resulting contract clauses do not normally play a role in the evaluation of which bidder is awarded the contract, any bidder should, in principle, be able to meet the requirements of contract clauses. Contract performance clauses should not be disguised as technical specifications, award or selection criteria. Even though contract clauses are considered to be outside the procedure of the award of contract they still need to be set out clearly in the solicitation documentation. Bidders should be aware of all the obligations laid down in the contract and be able to reflect this in the price of their bids. Contract performance clauses can therefore be used to include environmental considerations at the time of contract execution.

Examples of contract performance clauses for construction or service contracts:

  • Transport of goods and tools on site:
    • Specify that delivery of goods to the site take place in concentrated form with dilution on site;
    • Specify the use of reusable containers to transport goods to the site.
  • How the service is performed:
    • Specify usage indicators to ensure that appropriate quantities of cleaning product are used.
  • Disposal of used products or packaging from products:
    • Specify that products or packaging are to be taken away for reuse, recycling or appropriate disposal by the contractor.
  • Training of contractor staff:
    • Specify that staff must be trained in the environmental impact of their work and abide by the environmental policy(ies) of the department where the work is taking place.

Examples of contract performance clauses for the supply of goods:

  • Specify goods are to be delivered in the appropriate quantity as this will be more environmentally efficient in terms of transport impact per item than having smaller quantities delivered more often; specifying a maximum number of deliveries per week or month can also be another way of achieving the same result;
  • Requiring that goods be delivered outside peak traffic times to minimize the contribution of deliveries to traffic congestion;
  • Requiring that the supplier take back (and recycle or reuse) any packaging that comes with the goods – this has the double advantage of centralizing packaging prior to reuse or recycling and encouraging the supplier to cut down on any unnecessary packaging.
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