The government has to lead the way in practicing and encouraging sustainable procurement if the UK is to thrive in this sector, according to a new action plan.

Sir Neville Simms, chairman of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force, has launched a six-point plan of action to be implemented by government leaders in supply chain management at both local and national level.

In the plan, he urges the government to show just how highly it values sustainable procurement by prioritising it in public sector purchasing and by constructing and announcing a single policy plan on the matter. Sir Neville announced: "I urge the government to welcome, and quickly adopt the six key recommendations highlighted in this national action plan.

"Too often, the business side of government - the service provision, the purchasing, and the employment - fails to reflect its policy goals. All these areas can play a role in delivering genuine sustainability, with real social, environmental and economic benefits for us all."

The plan also recommends that the government liase with different sectors, countries and academics in formulating standards in sustainable procurement and that experts be appointed to manage public-sector purchasing more comprehensively. It also calls for these plans for sustainable procurement to be matched with a budget large enough to see them carried out and for the public sector to work with providers of supply chain management solutions.