How to score highly in the Evergreen Assessment

May 2, 2024, 6 a.m. • By Eddie Fitzgerald-Barron

Understanding the NHS's Evergreen Sustainable Supplier Assessment and How You Can Stand Out

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The Evergreen Sustainable Supplier Assessment is an integral component of the NHS’s strategy to achieve its net-zero carbon targets by 2040 for direct emissions and by 2045 for indirect emissions. This tool evaluates the sustainability practices of its suppliers, who play a crucial role in managing the NHS's indirect emissions.

Purpose of the Evergreen Assessment

The NHS's procurement activities contribute over 60% to its carbon footprint, encompassing a wide range of goods and services—from medical supplies to operational equipment. Given this significant impact, the NHS has developed the Evergreen Assessment to ensure that its suppliers are aligned with its sustainability objectives. The tool not only tracks progress but also incentivises improvements in environmental performance across its supply chain.

How the Evergreen Assessment Works

The assessment is conducted annually (although it can be updated at anytime if there is a significant improvement in an organisations sustainability credentials) and measures suppliers against a set of sustainability criteria, including carbon management, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and ethical supply chain practices. These criteria are designed to reflect both the environmental impact and the social responsibility of the suppliers.

How does the maturity criteria of The Evergreen Assessment work?

The scoring system is tiered from level 1 to level 4 and referred to as “maturity”. As levels increase, so does “maturity”:

  • Level 1 – Awareness: Suppliers at this level are beginning to integrate sustainability into their operations.
  • Level 2 – Integration: At this stage, suppliers have developed strategies and are actively implementing sustainability practices.
  • Level 3 – Excellence: Suppliers demonstrate advanced sustainability integration and significant progress towards reduction targets.
  • Level 4 – Leadership: This highest level is reserved for suppliers who are leaders in sustainability, driving innovation and achieving substantial carbon reductions.

How to do well in the NHS Evergreen Assessment:

  1. Establish Clear Sustainability Goals: Align these goals with the NHS’s targets and demonstrate a strategic approach to achieving them.
  2. Implement Robust Tracking Systems: Accurately measure and report carbon emissions and other sustainability metrics.
  3. Promote Transparency: Engage in open dialogue about practices, challenges, and advancements in sustainability.
  4. Innovate Continuously: Adopt new technologies and practices that improve environmental performance.
  5. Ensure Ethical Supply Chains: Address issues such as modern slavery and unfair labor practices.

What are the specific requirements for each level?

  1. To reach level 1 of the Evergreen Assessment, organisations must complete a Carbon Reduction Plan in line with PPN 06/21 - this means measuring scope 1, 2 and a subset of scope 3 emissions with a UK boundary, committing to net zero by 2050 or sooner, and describing their reduction strategy.
  2. To achieve a level 2 on the Evergreen Assessment, organisations must complete a Carbon Reduction Plan beyond PPN 06/21 by measuring scope 1, 2 and all relevant (there are 15 in total) categories of scope 3 emissions with a UK boundary, setting a net zero target of 2050 or sooner, and describing their reduction strategy.
  3. To achieve a level 3 on the Evergreen Assessment, organisations must measure scope 1, 2 and all relevant categories of scope 3 emissions with a Global boundary, set a net zero target of 2045 or sooner, detail their reduction strategy, validate their net zero targets, and verify their emissions calculations.
  4. To achieve a level 4 on the Evergreen Assessment, is a much more significant ambition. Organisations must calculate their carbon footprint with a global boundary for the entire company (including parent company), validate their net zero targets, and verify their emissions calculations, and set a reduction strategy company wide.

In addition to the above requirements, assessment criteria regarding modern slavery, corporate social value, and transparency (see below).

Significance of the Evergreen Assessment

Participating in the Evergreen Assessment is crucial for suppliers for several reasons:

  • Alignment with Regulatory Trends: It positions suppliers well in an era where environmental regulations are expected to tighten.
  • Market Competitiveness: Demonstrating sustainability can be a significant differentiator in the healthcare market.
  • Operational Efficiencies: Many sustainable practices lead to reduced waste and energy usage, which can result in cost savings.
  • Strengthened Partnerships: Achieving high scores can enhance supplier relationships with the NHS, providing a competitive edge in procurement decisions.

Of course, from the supplier perspective, your score will eventually play a role in determining the outcome of your tender application so sincere and proactive engagement with the assessment is recommended.


The NHS’s Evergreen Sustainable Supplier Assessment is more than a compliance tool; it is a catalyst for embedding sustainability in the healthcare sector. By participating, suppliers not only contribute to a significant environmental cause but also benefit from improvements in their operational and commercial performance. The assessment sets a standard, encouraging a holistic approach to sustainability that encompasses both environmental impact and social responsibility, ultimately aiming to foster a more sustainable future for healthcare.

C Free works with many companies in the healthcare sector helping them with their carbon measurements, Carbon Reduction Plans and answering the Evergreen Assessment questions. If you have any questions about any of these, feel free to book in for a free consultation here.

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