Horticulture and park services

This section covers the official Government Buying Standards for sustainable procurement of horticulture and park services – providing full details of the specifications for soil products and other horticulture products, including hydraulic fluids and chainsaw lubricants.

What does sustainability mean for horticultural products?

The key environmental impacts from horticulture and park services on the Government estate are in the use of peat and artificial fertilisers, and the risk of the spread of invasive species. There are also further impacts in relation to watering, waste, hazardous substances, and gardening machinery. The GBS includes the following as a means of reducing impacts:

  1. Using organic ingredients, often from recycled waste (eg compost), to add nutrients to soil, instead of artificial fertilisers
  2. Avoiding the use of peat – a natural resource which has become depleted by overexploitation
  3. Setting out good practice to restrict the spread of invasive non native plants

In order to reduce the climate impact of their activities, we also encourage suppliers to use the PAS 2050 or an equivalent standard. The PAS 2050 standard and the horticulture-specific supplement PAS 2050-1 provide a framework for assessing the carbon footprint of goods and services, thereby enabling emission reductions, implementing efficiency programmes, improving reputation and realising cost savings opportunities.

PAS 2050-1:2012 – Assessment of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from horticultural products is a free, downloadable specification developed specifically for the horticulture industry. See BSI press release on PAS 2050-1:2012 specification.

In 2012 Defra commissioned a project to pilot the application of PAS 2050-1 with some UK growers. The “footprinting first steps” and “grower case studies” produced will help increase your understanding of the benefits of product footprinting, learn from peers’ experiences, avoid common pitfalls and get started on your footprinting journey. See Defra report and supporting documents.

Recent changes in this area

These specifications for horticulture services were published in March 2011.

They were updated in January 2013 to align the standard with the Government’s policy on peat.


See also

Page last modified: 17 January, 2013