Sustainable procurement Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement is about collaborating with our suppliers and contractors to deliver positive outcomes for our communities and environment.

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About our sustainable procurement action plan

AT is a major public procurer with a wide scale and range of spending. This means that we're able to shape markets and impact the lives of residents of and visitors to Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland and Aotearoa / New Zealand.

When choosing to buy goods and services, we consider not only their price and quality, but also their potential to generate greater public value for Aucklanders through broader social and environmental outcomes.

Many strategies and plans highlight the need for sustainability throughout the operation of our city and transport network. These include:

We cannot deliver these outcomes alone. It is important to us that our suppliers also support our goal of a sustainable and resilient Tāmaki Makaurau.

Through sustainable procurement, we can ensure that all Aucklanders take part and share in our city’s growing economy and that we have a positive impact on the environment.

Our first Sustainable Procurement Action Plan, launched in 2021, sets out our vision for all AT's procurement activities to accelerate Auckland's transformation to a regenerative economy. The Sustainable Procurement Action Plan identifies 5 social and environmental outcomes AT procurement is committed to and could significantly influence:

Outcome 1: Quality employment

We are looking to create new employment opportunities through our contracts for people from targeted under-served communities who face barriers to employment, experience significant inequities or face higher levels of deprivation.

Through our contracts and supplier relationships, we also aim to improve the incomes, skills, and capability of people from under-served communities through training and development schemes for employees.

By working together with our suppliers towards this outcome, we can support the pipeline of people entering our critical service industries. It will contribute to growing the workforce by addressing labour shortages and the ability of the market to meet Auckland's significant growth.

To deliver Quality Employment, employers are required to provide:

  • full-time (30 hours+ per week) permanent employment at living wage or above
  • 12-month industry skills training plan
  • individual coaching, mentoring and support for the first 12 months.

By supporting inclusive and equitable participation in meaningful and quality employment, AT and our suppliers can directly improve people's quality of life and living standards, including the life chances of children in low-income families. 

Targeted under-served communities are:

  • Māori
  • Pasifika peoples
  • long-term unemployed
  • people that are not in education, employment, or training (NEET)
  • people who have experienced long-term or cyclical joblessness, particularly young people
  • people with a disability
  • refugees
  • people re-entering the workforce from childcare commitments, ill-health, injury or a correctional sentence
  • older workers transitioning from other sectors in the workforce
  • people that are underemployed or under-utilised
  • women in male-dominated roles and/or industries.

To help us achieve the Quality Employment outcome, we recommend that our suppliers connect with:

Outcome 2: Supplier diversity

Supplier diversity is a strategic, intentional business process that proactively supports businesses owned by people from under-served communities and social enterprises. It enables them to engage in supply chains and business opportunities.

Supplier diversity initiatives support inclusive and equitable access to social and economic opportunities in Auckland and New Zealand.

International evidence shows that we can benefit Auckland's under-served communities and help to address systemic inequality by engaging with diverse suppliers through the supply chain.

We can do this by investing in:

  • the Māori economy
  • the Pasifika economy
  • the impact economy
  • local economies.

Profit created through Māori and Pasifika businesses is likely to linger longer within those communities instead of going directly offshore. Māori and Pasifika businesses are more likely to hire staff from their own communities, start them on higher wages, and offer training to enable career progression.

We are focused on improving access to direct AT contract opportunities and indirect opportunities through our direct suppliers' supply chains for the following types of organisations: 

  • Māori-owned businesses
  • Pasifika-owned businesses
  • women-owned businesses
  • social enterprises and other impact-driven organisations
  • local businesses based within the Local Board area where the contract is to be delivered.

To help us achieve the Supplier Diversity outcome, we recommend that our suppliers connect with:

  • Amotai: Amotai connects businesses and organisations with Māori and Pasifika enterprises that can meet some of the requirements of the contract and, at the same time, create social value for Auckland’s communities.
    Contact: Miri Snee, Manuhuia / Supplier Diversity Lead, or
  • The Ākina Foundation: The Ākina Foundation connects businesses and organisations with social and community enterprises to help uncover the best ways to tackle challenges like poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and climate change.
    Contact: Nicola Nation, Chief Executive Officer,

Outcome 3: Carbon emission reduction

Climate change hazards include:

  • increased rainfall and storm events
  • an increase in the average temperature
  • more common and severe droughts
  • increased flood events and landslips
  • coastal erosion and sea level rise.

These changes are why it's urgent that AT and our contractors and consultants improve the way we work together. 

Climate mitigation (through emissions reduction) and adaptation are important parts of how we respond to climate change. This work may let us trial innovative design solutions, materials, or construction methods to reduce operational and embodied (or infrastructure-based) emissions. 

Actions might include:

  • the use of low-carbon materials, such as flyash amended cement
  • selecting materials constructed with low carbon methods, such as timber instead of steel
  • reducing the volume of materials required through recycling and reuse.

To support our scope 2 and 3 reporting requirements, contractors and consultants must use our Sustainability Data Portal to report the volumes of fuel and consumption of energy associated with:

  • design
  • physical works
  • operation
  • maintenance and renewal works.

The carbon emission calculation will be made using the raw data the consultant or contractor provides. That way, we can ensure a consistent approach across our business. 

Outcome 4: Waste minimisation

AT maintenance and construction contracts have typically sent an average of 50% of their waste to a managed or licensed landfill.

Through Hīkina te Wero, we aim to decrease the volume of waste materials sent to landfill and increase diversion to 75%. While some of this is unavoidable due to the nature of the material, there are opportunities to reduce this volume further.

Examples include: 

  • increasing the reclaimed asphalt paving (RAP) where possible
  • reusing clean basecourse or aggregate
  • using recycled aggregate and crushed concrete
  • selecting new materials with end-of-use in mind (to reduce future disposal requirements, such as by reducing plastic packaging).

Contractors and consultants must report the volumes of different materials used in their physical works and projects, and the volumes of materials diverted from and sent to landfill, using our Sustainability Data Portal.

This information supports our calculation of our scope 3 emissions and lets us track progress against the targets in our Environment Action Plan.

Outcome 5: Water conservation

During 2020 to 2021, Auckland faced water restrictions to conserve potable water supplies.

An increasing population demand on water resources, and hotter and drier summers due to climate change, means we have to actively look at our potable water footprint and pursue initiatives to reduce it.

This includes collaboratively building on work begun through our individual company sustainability plans and charters.

In construction, maintenance, and renewals, this means looking at:

  • how we source water needed for activities such as dust suppression
  • designs that manage stormwater flow
  • the runoff of sediments into the receiving catchment when undertaking works.

We recognise that such activities do not usually consume large amounts of water. However, doing our part to reduce the use of potable water for non-potable activities by using rain tankers, where feasible, is a small way we can help preserve Auckland's water supply.

Contractors and consultants must report on the volumes of potable and non-potable water consumed as part of their works or project using our Sustainability Data Portal.

Sustainability reporting

We require accurate and robust data to support our performance framework and understand the impact of our:

  • corporate activities
  • operations
  • asset construction, maintenance, and renewals.

This data allows us to identify areas for improvement as we seek to reduce our operational and infrastructure carbon footprint and deliver a positive social impact.

We recognise that many of our contracting partners already collect sustainability data.

We've developed a Sustainability Data Portal to make collating this information for AT contractors streamlined and more consistent.

The portal is an online tool that our contractors can access directly. The data held by the portal is only accessible to us and the contractor who enters the information. Monthly reports using Power BI will be available to the contractor. These can be tailored to meet internal reporting requirements.

For guidance on sustainability reporting, download the AT Sustainability Reporting Onboarding Guidance.

Contractors will provide monthly environmental and social impact data via the portal to AT, including:

Environmental data

  • on site energy
  • water
  • waste
  • transport and fuel use
  • materials
  • refrigerants
  • numbers of tree planted or removed.

Social impact data

  • number of new entrant recruits from under-served communities working on contracts and sub-contracts and undergoing ongoing training
  • money spent on sub-contracts awarded to ‘diverse businesses’.

Ethical and responsible sourcing

Social and environmental impact in procurement is not only about delivering positive outcomes through our direct supplier relationships. The decisions we make to buy goods and services must also consider the impact on the entire supply chain.

All of our procurement activity is underpinned by ethical and responsible sourcing principles. In late 2019, we introduced a Supplier Code of Conduct that we are progressively rolling out to all our suppliers. Following review of the Supplier Code between February 2023 and July 2023, a number of updates were made and a 2023 version has been published.

Download the AT Supplier Code of Conduct. (PDF 6MB)

The Auckland Transport Supplier Code of Conduct is the foundation document requiring commitment from our suppliers (including Code suppliers’ parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and subcontractors) to best practice relating to social, environmental, ethical and financial responsibility.

Suppliers are required to commit to the expectations under each of the seven principles detailed in this Supplier Code, as a condition of doing business with AT.

We request that an authorized person from the organization does the following:

  1. Read the Auckland Transport 2023 Supplier Code of Conduct (PDF 6MB)
  2. Complete and sign the AT Supplier Code of Conduct Acknowledgement form (.DOCX 875KB)
  3. Email the completed and signed acknowledgement form to

Further information about our Supplier Code of Conduct can be found here.

Through our partnership with Sedex, AT Procurement undertakes Supplier Risk Assessments of markets and uses other tools to understand environmental and human rights-related risks in our supply chains and address areas of concern.

We are committed to continuously reviewing and improving our ethical and responsible sourcing and procurement due diligence processes.

We are also proactively working together with other organisations to understand the nuances of environmental and human rights risks and abuses, including modern slavery. We aim to understand these at a local level and in our domestic and international supply chains, to develop integrated, sector-wide insights and solutions.

Sustainability Management Plan

Contractors may be required to co-develop a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) with us to cover the contracted service. The SMP must have agreed KPIs against each of the sought sustainable outcomes, and details on how data will be collected to enable reporting to us against required metrics. 

The Sustainability Management Plan might include, but is not limited to:

  • priority sustainability outcomes to be delivered throughout the duration of the contract and why those outcomes were selected
  • proposed initiatives, innovations, or actions to support delivery of outcomes identified
  • a proposed roadmap or action plan for how the contractor will deliver the outcomes identified over the duration of the contract
  • reporting metrics to measure performance against the outcomes
  • KPIs against metrics
  • proposed responsibilities and resourcing
  • proposed governance, monitoring, and reporting methods and timeframes
  • anything else relevant to the successful delivery of sustainable outcomes.

Climate change adaptation

The AT Climate Change Technical Policy impacts many aspects of our business and transport system. It requires us to think about how we build and develop assets differently, including:
  • planning
  • design
  • construction
  • renewals
  • maintenance.

All AT suppliers must agree to comply with the provisions in the AT Climate Change Technical Policy as relevant to their specific contract.

There are key points from the policy that our suppliers must be aware of. 

  • AT climate-related risk appetites outlined in the policy, which must be considered during planning, design, and construction of new assets and renewals.
  • The planning, design and construction of new assets and renewals must consider adaptation to the physical impacts of the changing climate.
  • A systemic risk assessment must be undertaken using scenario analysis tools referenced in the policy.
  • It is no longer acceptable to use past climatic conditions to inform activities.
  • Activities undertaken in the achievement of key deliverables or initiatives will need to be resilient to future climate risks.
  • Proposed actions to reduce emissions, including materials and product choices, should consider the impact on biodiversity and the environment, and reductions in emissions. Options that reduce emissions but increase environmental harm should be avoided.

Download the AT Climate Change Technical Policy (PDF 680KB).

The policy sets out the approaches, datasets, and reference material to use.

For more information, please contact

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