Answering environmental tender questions can be difficult, especially for small businesses without formal environmental management systems.
Some small businesses hire expensive consultants to complete them or leave them blank. Fortunately, you don't have to do that!
Here is everything you need to know about answering environmental questions and 5 easy tips you can use today!
We will show you how to answer with confidence and win the bid!
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What are Environmental Tender Questions?
Environmental tender questions are questions in bids related to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. They are often put out by governments or financial institutions.
Why are Environmental Tender Questions Important?
Procurement bodies, especially in the public sector, generally include environmental questions in a tender to help them filter out the weaker bids.
Answering environmental tender questions correctly can help you win the bid and obtain new contracts.
How to Answer Environmental Tender Questions - 5 Easy Tips You Need to Know
To make sure you have all the ammunition for a great response, here are 5 tips you can use immediately when answering tender questions.
We go over the key types of questions and how to respond to them.
1. Do You Operate a Formal Environmental Management System (EMS)?
If you have a formal EMS, such as ISO 14001, then you can describe your system and its functions.
However, it is ok if you don't have one. You can still answer the question and win the bid!
Explain the Applicability
First, state that you have reviewed the applicability of ISO14001 for your business and concluded that a formal system is not warranted based on the size of your business and the nature of your work.
Explain What You Have Done
Second, state that as a responsible business you have taken a number of steps to reduce your impact on the environment.
Here you can list all the activities that you have done. For example,
- reduced your carbon footprint,
- eliminated single use plastics,
- used compostable trash bags,
- used energy efficient lights,
- invested in smart plugs,
- leveraged paperless notebooks,
- used products made from recycled materials,
- installed small solar panels,
- switched to green web hosting for only $2.95 per month,
- trained staff on sustainability practices,
- lobbied for ecofriendly legislation
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2. Do You Have An Environmental Policy?
This question is guaranteed to come up, so we think it is a good idea to have a relevant and robust environmental policy.
Write an Environmental Policy in Less Than 20 Minutes
You can learn how to write your environmental policy in less than 20 minutes with our easy step by step guide. It was written by an environmental expert and tells you exactly what to do. Over 1,000 organizations have used it! See for yourself and check out the great reviews they left.
The policy can set the tone for your organization's commitment to sustainability and can set you apart from your competitors.
3. What Actions Have You Taken to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment?
Here you should reiterate the actions you mentioned in question 1. Expand on what you have done and what the outcome has been.
Provide Facts and Figures
Being able to provide facts and figures is key. That is why we really promote the idea of setting targets, implementing KPIs and measuring performance.
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Give specific details. Some examples are below.
- We reduced paper waste by 32% by installing hand dryers in three bathrooms.
- We reduced our electricity bill by 27% by utilizing smart plugs that automatically turn off lights when they aren't in use.
- We trained a total 50 staff members at two clinics based on zero waste and eco-friendly commuting practices.
- We replaced 22 traditional light bulbs with LED lights.
- We eliminated single use plastics from our warehouse and offices by removing all plastic cups and replacing them with biodegradable alternatives.
4. Do You Have A Environmental Manager?
Again, unless you are a large organization it is unlikely that you will have a specific environmental manager.
Name Instrumental Staff Members
Therefore, state that you do not have a specific environmental manager; however, do mention staff members who have been instrumental in improving your environmental performance.
You could refer to these people as environmental champions and mention them by name and position. Also mention that your MD oversees all activities and provides senior management support.
5. What Environmental Training Do You Provide to Your Staff?
If you don't provide specific environmental training to your staff, start taking advantage of free online courses.
Take Advantage of Free Online Courses
For example, you can offer this free zero waste course or implement annual WASTE Walks. A WASTE Walk is when employees take a step back, walk the floor and identify wasteful activities.
It is a fun way to get everyone involved to create ideas to decrease your office’s impact on the environment.
Plus, don’t require additional funds, resources, or third parties.
Include Sustainability Best Practices During the Onboarding Process
Alternatively, you could say that all staff are required to review the company's environmental policy and sustainability practices during the onboarding process.
If you have provided awareness raising sessions such as emails and other communications to make staff aware of activities, then mention that here.
How are Environmental Tender Questions Evaluated?
Typically, the environmental section of the tender equates to about 10%-20% of the total evaluation mark - enough to tip a bid in your favor if you illustrate the right delivery capabilities and are competitive in terms of value for money.
Sustainability Performance Can Count for 20% of Your Grade
Here is a typical evaluation criteria matrix from a recent tender I had to complete.
Notice the 20% Mark for sustainability performance - this is significant!
That is why it is important to use the tips above to answer, even if you don't have a formal management system in place.
There are many ways to reply to environmental questions without having to invest in costly environmental management systems. The key is to ensure you have a bank of evidence to illustrate your environmental commitment.
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