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Govtoday presents the Greening Government 2012 Conference and Exhibition: Mainstreaming sustainable development, one year on, which will be held on 30th October 2012 at The Brewery Conference Centre, the City of London

Continuing our successful Securing the Future series of events, this is our Fourth Annual National Conference examining the progress, by Central Government in particular, in achieving sustainable development, which incorporates our national and international carbon reduction targets of a 34 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050. 

On 28 February 2011, the Government announced the publication of Mainstreaming Sustainable Development – The Government’s vision and what this means in practice’. This Document unveiled ambitious plans to build a stronger greener government, embedding sustainability as a core strategic priority, rather than an independent issue. 

‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development’ outlined the Government’s “refreshed vision and commitments,” building on the principles set out in the 2005 Sustainable Development Strategy of embedding sustainability and interconnectivity across the so-called three pillars made up of the economy, society and the environment. 

The Government’s aim was to lead this agenda by example, with the reform of operations and procurement through a “step change in leadership, efficiency, transparency and accountability”. 

The Greening Government Commitments, which replaced the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) targets for 2011/12, aimed to reduce environmental impact by 2015, with a series of new high level measures to: 

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a 09/10 baseline from the whole estate and business related transport:
    • 10% cut in carbon emissions from Central Government offices in 2010/11, and publication of online real time energy use information
    • Reduce domestic business travel flights by 20% by 2015 from 09/10 baseline
  • Reduce waste by 25% from a 09/10 baseline:
    • 10% cut in paper use in 2011/12
    • Informed by a feasibility study to be published in 2011, Government will go to market with a requirement for ‘closed loop’ recycled paper
    • Redundant ICT equipment must be re-used or recycled
  • Reduce water consumption from a 09/10 baseline, with reports on water use against best practice
  • Ensure procurement of sustainable and efficient products whilst reducing the impact of the supply chain:
    • Embed efficient procurement practices
    • Improve and publish data on supply chain impact

The Defra publications, ‘An Action Plan for driving Sustainable operations and procurement across government’ and the ‘Greenhouse Gas Footprint Analysis of UK Central Government 1990-2008,’ (both published in November 2010) and the Environmental Audit Committee Report, ‘Embedding Sustainable Development across Government,’ (published in January 2011), argued the case for the Government to lead by example and embed sustainable development in policy, operations and performance. This latest document aims to put this policy into practice.

Greening Government 2012: Mainstreaming sustainable development, one year on will examine progress to date, and explain how the policies have been actioned, transforming Government operations and performance, embedding sustainability strategically across UK Government policy and ultimately building our green economy of the future.


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Larissa Lockwood

Larissa Lockwood

Carbon Trust Lead for NHS, Central & Local Government Estate
Carbon trust

Larissa Lockwood leads the Carbon Trust’s work with the central government estate, local government and the NHS. With 10 years of experience working in sustainable... Read more