ACE calls for ‘five capitals’ approach to procurement

A new report published today (27.5.20) by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) explores the potential for the development of a new approach to procurement, which places a greater emphasis on value. Measures for Successful outcomes: the five capitals approach argues that value needs to be considered in a holistic way by exploring the natural, human, social, manufactured and financial capitals for every project and programme.

Through the sharing of best-practice, the report highlights where the industry is already leading the way in the measurement of impact and in developing metrics across the different capitals. It also explores in more detail how the capitals are interconnected and how they relate to wider issues such as government procurement and the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’, as well as the UN social development goals and the Net Zero agenda.

Natalie Cropp, chair of ACE’s sustainability group and sustainability director at Tony Gee, said: “This report puts forward our recommended model for measuring and assessing sustainability in procurement, design and delivery. The five capitals model is intended to provide a balanced approach to defining value on a project and allows the social and environmental aspects to be considered on a par with the traditional economic factors.

“While not providing all of the answers, the five capitals approach provides a clear framework where finding a common language is one of the major hurdles that need to be overcome. This paper does a great job in kickstarting that conversation.”

Hannah Vickers, chief executive of ACE said: “Sustainability has never been higher up the political agenda and ensuring we’re able to meet Net Zero expectations on infrastructure and construction will be crucial to making the most of any post-COVID recovery programme. The government has made clear its ambitions to deliver a net zero society. But before we can turn that aspiration into reality, we need to make sure that our procurement process rewards value creation.”

Keith Waller, programme director for the Construction Innovation Hub said "We welcome the publication of Measures for Successful outcomes: the five capitals approach and are delighted to be working with ACE as we develop our Value Framework. This framework will enable clients from both public and private sectors to make informed choices that are not based simply on how cheap a service or project can be bought, but by how much value is created, allowing wider social, economic and environment outcomes to inform decision-making and whole life performance measurement."

Click here to download the Measures for Successful outcomes: the five capitals approach report.

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