Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Sustainable procurement

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement

Procurement goes beyond buying materials. It is where they are sourced from, their lifetime impacts, and what happens to them when they are no longer required.

Taking its lead from industry best practice, Council has reviewed its THINK Sustainability Procurement Policy. This strengthens Council’s commitment to transparency and fairness in procurement, from purchasing paperclips, hire of festival equipment to earthmoving machinery.

Quadruple Bottom Line Council

Most importantly, Council procurement is required to address four dimensions of sustainability. These dimensions, known as the quadruple bottom line are shown in the diagram above.

What do they mean in practice?


  • Business ethics – agreement to be accountable for decisions, transparent and act fairly


  • Value for money, including costs across the entire product/service lifecycle


  • Resource usage e.g. energy and water consumption, materials used in manufacture
  • Consider the waste hierarchy – how much waste is produced and how can this diverted from landfill?


  • Contribution to social inclusion

The THINK Sustainability Procurement Policy has enabled Council staff to procure:

  • Organic fruit from local business Doorstep Organics – this provided staff with healthy sustenance for an afternoon pick-me-up, a tempting alternative to packets of highly-packaged biscuits
  • Table for outdoor deck from local Palletable Furniture – a social enterprise that repurposes pallets into functional outdoor furniture, furnishing the new outdoor deck
  • Made in Marrickville chocolates – created by a local business in conjunction with Council’s entry to the Local Government Managers Association Managers’ Challenge; it showcased Marrickville’s thriving business community
  • Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber used in construction of Sydenham’s new SES building – the above-ground building structure makes use of timber, which required less energy to produce than alternatives, giving the building a low energy footprint
  • Plants for Council’s new early learning centre are being sourced from our very own nursery – which cultivates local native species.

A recent project that was influenced by the policy was the resurfacing of the road on Davis Street Dulwich Hill. Staff in Council’s Civil Works Department identified the opportunity to procure an alternative product – Tonerpave. After successful trials of the product in Melbourne roads, Marrickville has become only the second Council in New South Wales to use the product.

Davis Street Tonerpave trial

The product performs well on quadruple bottom line criteria:

  • Demonstrates Council’s ability to benefit from innovation
  • It is cost-competitive with conventional road surfacing products
  • The product is itself a byproduct of printing toner – making use of what would otherwise be waste sent to landfill
  • For every tonne of the printing toner product used in resurfacing of the road, an estimated reduction of 0.27 tonnes of CO2-equivalent (circa 20% lower than standard road surfacing products)

Council has supported other social initiatives:

Hosted in our very own Steel Park, Njuri coffee van is an enterprise that procures coffee from Kenyan farmers in a fair trade arrangement. Council staff provided assistance to service provider Settlement Services International to launch the project. The coffee van provides a step into employment in the hospitality industry to refugees and migrants – equipping them with a barista skillset.

Njuri coffee van

Meanwhile, Council has become a Fair Trade community – which doesn’t only mean we stock Fair Trade teas and coffee! A Fair Trade Steering Group helps foster business community uptake of Fair Trade products, allowing more and more workers to receive a working wage.

Marrickville Council is a member of the Local Government NSW Sustainable Choice purchasing program. Take a look at the Sustainable Choice website.