Buy Smart: Procurement

The cost of resources, energy, transport and waste disposal are all increasing, and this can have a significant impact on profitability. Reducing your costs and improving efficiencies will have a positive impact on the bottom line and reduce risks to your business, customers and supply chain. With energy prices for SMEs users predicted to rise by almost 30% in the next 5 years, installing energy efficiency measures now could help reduce the energy bill of your SME or startup by 10-25%.



SMEs and startups should plan growth carefully to keep energy consumption and bills low. Saving energy requires a structured approach to activities in your offices, but also to your procurement and supply chain in order to maximise all benefits. Creating a Buy Smart procurement strategy could help you be more efficient and improve your reputation, as well as becoming more competitive and profitable, so it’s a win-win situation!



Here are our top five no and low cost recommendations to for greening your procurement strategy:

  1. Involve your suppliers: Show your commitment to energy saving by writing a supplier Buy Smart Strategy that establishes guidelines for new projects and refurbishments.
  2. Procure for your needs: Consider careful replacement and buy only according to your needs.
  3. Check labelling schemes: There are many lists and product labels that make it easy for you to identify top performing equipment.
  4. Look for financial support: Financial support may be available in your country to help you to upgrade energy efficient equipment in your office.
  5. Act on energy procurement: Look for the cheapest and greenest energy supplier and investigate your options to switch.

You can find out more information on how to implement these measures below.


Additional Information

Implementing a Buy Smart procurement strategy can ensure you get best value from your investments.


Involve your suppliers


Many companies now look at their whole product supply chain to consider all the opportunities to move towards greening their entire businesses. Develop a better partnership with your suppliers by showing your commitment to energy saving strategies. You may even be able to help them identify areas where they could eliminate inefficiencies and maintain their own environmental standards.

You may choose to use a simple sustainability questionnaire to check that a supplier meets good environmental standards. Consider sharing your procurement policy to demonstrate the sustainability requirements you desire from suppliers. Also see if they have their own sustainability policies. A sample procurement policy is available for you to download and use here.

When procuring standard office materials, look for sustainable suppliers of stationary & cleaning equipment, for example, who rather use recycled paper and eco cleaning products.

Procure for your needs

First, plan a strategy for when your equipment needs to be replaced. It may be more energy efficient to upgrade multiple pieces of equipment at once, or it may be more effective to wait until individual items reach end of life.

Look for office equipment recycling schemes, which can save both money and resources. For example, consider procuring used chairs and desks, especially in smaller offices where you will not be buying in bulk. Prioritise operating costs where possible – an energy saving product uses less energy, and therefore has less of an environmental impact, as well as being cheaper to run. Where cost allows, purchase premium energy efficient equipment. Spending a few more pounds now may save you more money in the longer term. Ensure decision makers who sign off equipment purchases follow the procurement policy.

Check labelling schemes

When purchasing new equipment for the office, always look for products with an A-rated EU energy efficiency label or other eco-labelling schemes. There are four main energy labelling schemes for office equipment and electrical appliances:

Look for the EU Energy label rating when buying office equipment Look for the Energy Star label when buying computers, printers and other office equipment Look for the European Ecolabel Scheme to find products that achieve very high energy efficiency targets Look for Energy Savings Recommended on energy efficiency equipment

Compare energy-saving and energy-efficient products on the Energy Technology List (ETL). The ETL database lists over 17,000 energy efficient products from nearly 60 technologies including boilers, electric motors, lighting, refrigeration systems, air conditioning systems, and automatic monitoring and targeting equipment. View the ETL here:

You can also use the ENERGY STAR Office Equipment Savings Calculator to estimate your energy consumption and operating costs of office equipment and your savings potential for equipment such as laptops, desktops or printers. View the ENERGY STAR Office Equipment Savings Calculator here: Equipment Calculator.xlsx


Look for financial support

Funding may be available to help businesses upgrade their energy efficient equipment.

The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme for energy saving technologies encourages businesses to invest in technologies specified on the Energy Technology List (ETL). This scheme allows businesses to write off the entire cost of an equipment they would want to purchase against taxable profits in the year in which they made the purchase.

The Green Business Fund provides funding for improved sustainability and energy efficiency in England, Scotland and Wales. A capital contribution of 30% of the project cost (up to a maximum of £10,000) is available to SMEs who could benefit from financial support when buying energy saving equipment.

Your business could also qualify for grant and loan schemes when buying energy-saving equipment such as interest-free energy efficiency loans from national authorities, the EU Commission or other organisations such as the Carbon Trust. Check eligibility criteria and investment amounts carefully as they vary from scheme to scheme.

See the Fund your project page for more information on these financing options:
startup green finance / SME green finance

Act on energy procurement

It is important that you understand your energy consumption by reviewing energy invoices over the previous year, to help you to build a picture of your monthly performance. Once you’re aware of your energy use, look out for greener energy suppliers by using the internet or calling their telephone services. Carefully compare the tariffs between the major suppliers but also the smaller ones as they may offer a better deal. Switching to green enrgy plans is unlikely to be cheaper – but with a growing number of suppliers offering a green energy alternative, the options are increasing.

Ask about any switching guarantee, their energy source and if they apply green tariffs contributing to environmental schemes. Take a meter reading on the day of the transfer to give to your new supplier – this will avoid any supplementary charge for energy used before the switch. It will take 2 to 3 weeks for the change to be effective. You can ask your energy supplier to install an energy meter to keep track of your energy consumption and compare your bills.

Tools and Resources

  • De Nederlandse klimaatcoalitie (Dutch)
    The platform provides insipration, tools, resources and networks in the field of climate-neutral
  • Hier opgewekt (Dutch)
    A platform to share knowledge and experiences on local energy production. Online knowledge files, offline interactive knowledge sessions.
  • Klimtaatgids (Dutch)
    101 tips on energy saving
  • MKB servicedesk (Dutch)
    Energy desk for SME's with practical information on saving energy.
  • MVO (Dutch)
    The Dutch version of the platform is more extensive. It is a platform that bundles information for comapnies to start saving energy. There is a step by step document. And relevant links to other initiatives are provided.
  • Duurzaam Bedrijfsleven (Dutch)
    Provides information on different sustainability aspects for companies and new initiatives in relation to sustainability. There is a seperate section on energy.
  • Duurzaam MKB
    Translates the growing demand for sustainability into practical tools and methods for SMEs, industry, government. Share practical experiences.
  • Milieu Centraal (Dutch)
    Tests and advice on how to save energy.
  • Energiecentrum (Dutch)
    Provides company specific information on how to reduce energy for SMEs. You start with filling in the calculator and based on the companies energy usage and the sector it provides advice.
  • ICTFOOTPRINT Self Assessment Tool for ICT Services (SAT-S)
    The SAT-S allows you to estimate the carbon and energy footprint of a digital service (that you use or provide) based on 1 year of use of the service assessed. This will help you make informed decisions about actions to improve your energy efficiency and eventually become greener in your ICT elements.
  • ICTFOOTPRINT Self Assessment Tool for Organisations (SAT-O)
    The SAT-O allows you to estimate the carbon and energy footprint of your ICT organisation or the IT department of your organisation, based on 1 year of activity. This will help you make informed decisions about actions to improve your energy efficiency and overall carbon emissions, either directly linked to the company activities or not (e.g. business travel and commuting of your staff).
  • Klimaatplein (Dutch)
    Companies can use this calculator to see what their carbon footprint is of their organisation. They have to calculate this for building and traveling. And they get advice how to reduce it.
  • Lumeco (Dutch)
    Companies can use this calculator to see how much money they can save by chagning their lighting
  • Milieu Barometer (Dutch)
    Tool to provide insights on the carbon footprint and environmental performance of a company, envrionmental costs, advice on how to improve the environmental performance. There are costs involved for using the tool.
Tip of the day
Save energy at your SME by: changing your people’s minds, locking heat controls, running competitions.

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