BRE revises sourcing standard

27th May 2014

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  • Construction ,
  • Stewardship ,
  • Life Cycle Analysis ,
  • Ecodesign ,
  • Products


Louise Finch

Revision of the BRE global framework standard for responsible sourcing, BES 6001, introduces three new optional clauses on energy, ecotoxicity and business ethics.

BRE introduced BES 6001 in 2008 to help construction companies manage and reduce the impacts of the manufactured products it uses. It enables manufacturers of construction products to demonstrate that the raw materials they use are responsibly sourced and the products are produced to high environmental and sustainability standards. The independent third-party certification scheme is recognised by the BREEAM family of certification schemes.

In addition to the three new optional clauses on energy, ecotoxicity and business ethics, the revised standard also amends some original clauses to better reflect business practices and the removal of optional elements from the previous version, which have now been made compulsory.

The revision follows consultation with industry stakeholders and is designed to encourage greater use of the scheme. Kate Livesey, head of responsible sourcing at BRE, said the standard needed revising to reflect progress in responsible procurement. “The responsible sourcing marketplace has moved on since the launch of BES 6001 version two and the standard had to respond to these changes,” she told environmentalistonline.

Currently, 23 different construction materials or product types have been certified and 69 companies hold 89 valid certificates. Commenting on the launch of the revised BES 6001, BRE’s director of sustainable products, David Richardson, commented: "Our aim was to make the standard more practical as well as align it with current sector concerns and requirements".

The 6001 assessment process includes the following:

Organisational management – responsible sourcing policy and legal compliance.

Supply chain management – documented management system for purchasing, material traceability and suppliers list.

Environmental and social issues –practices governing greenhouse-gas emissions, resource use, waste management, water, lifecycle assessment and other environmental aspects, together with policies covering employment and skills, health and safety, local communities and other stakeholders.

Companies that engage in BES 6001 must demonstrate that at least 60% of the constituent materials (by mass and volume) of the product being assessed are traceable down the supply chain.

The new Issue of the BES 6001 is now available on Green Book live. It can be downloaded at

BES 6001 is particularly relevant to the business-to-business construction industry, but is also used by retail organisations, such as DIY stores, that are sourcing more of their products from suppliers with a certified environmental standard.

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