Sustainable procurement: the Government Buying Standards (GBS)

GBS product specifications: mandatory for central government departments and related organisations; encouraged for wider public sector.

All government departments and their related organisations must make sure that they meet the minimum mandatory Government Buying Standards (GBS) standards when buying goods and services. We also encourage the wider public sector to specify the minimum mandatory standards in tenders.

We encourage everyone to meet the best practice standards, which go further than the mandatory standards.

The product specifications set out in the Government Buying Standards are aimed primarily at public sector organisations procuring goods or services. However, any organisation concerned about sustainable procurement may choose to follow them or to specify them in tenders.

This forms part of sustainable procurement - the process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that benefits not only the organisation, but also society and the economy, while minimising damage to the environment.

The GBS are part of public procurement policy, with individual standards developed with input from across government, industry and wider stakeholders. The standards have been extensively reviewed with market research and analysis to establish criteria that take long-term cost effectiveness and market capacity into account.

Specifications for the GBS, listed by sector

Published 2 February 2012
Last updated 21 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. 2017 edition of the Buying Standards for transport published.

  2. First published.