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Please see below the answers to Delphis’ questions posed by Carline Lucas, MP, leader of the Green Party to the House of Commons on the 26th April 2011.
Delphis’ response to the answers is in capitals below each question.
1. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green) To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to require all cleaning contracts held with her Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used should be EU Ecolabel products accredited by her Department; and if she will make a statement.Richard Benyon (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Newbury, Conservative) Our cleaning contractor sources cleaning chemicals which have been chosen with sustainability in mind. The products they use are also considered under the broader context of sustainability rather than simply whether it has an EU eco-label or not. The standard cleaning chemicals are all super concentrate products. These have a number of sustainability benefits including reduced packaging, carbon reduction in deliveries and production and precise dosing capability which minimises wastage and pollution.
Our cleaning contractor continues to consider the Government's minimum buying standards when specifying its cleaning products.
2. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green) To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to require all cleaning contracts (a) in respect of the London 2012 Olympics and (b) held with his Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used should be EU Ecolabel products accredited by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if he will make a statement.
Hugh Robertson (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport; Faversham and Mid Kent, Conservative) The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is a non-departmental public body with the freedom to set its own policies within the delegated limits set by the Department. All operational procurement decisions are matters for the ODA, and not for departmental Ministers. The ODA adheres to the Government Buying Standards for Cleaning Products and Services. It promotes and encourages environmental awareness and requires contractors to meet various environmental criteria through its procurement procedures.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is the private company responsible for staging the 2012 Games. It is currently procuring for cleaning and waste contractors for London 2012 venues. Within the tender process, potential contractors will provide details of which cleaning and consumable products they propose to use at Games-time. LOCOG is not imposing any single mandatory labelling scheme, but sustainability of products and services will be a key component of the assessment. All supplier materials need to adhere to LOCOG's Sustainable Sourcing Code.
Within the Department EU Ecolabel products are not currently used, instead our facilities contractor use super concentrated cleaning products which are diluted on site. This enables less packaging and fewer deliveries, thus reducing our carbon footprint. All kitchens within the Department use 'Ecover' washing up liquid. The Department will discuss with the facilities management supplier the possibility of using EU Ecolabel products in the future.
3. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green) To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make it his policy to require all cleaning contracts held with (a) the Cabinet Office and (b) 10 Downing street to stipulate that the cleaning products used should be EU Ecolabel products accredited by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if he will make a statement.
Francis Maude (Minister for the Cabinet Office; Horsham, Conservative)
The Prime Minister's Office forms an integral part of the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office's Total Facilities Management contract for its central London estate is with EcovertFM. While the contract does not stipulate the use of EU Ecolabel products, wherever possible EcovertFM use environmentally friendly products.
4. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Hove) To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will make it his policy to require all cleaning contracts held with the House of Commons Service to stipulate that the cleaning products used should be EU Ecolabel products accredited by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if he will make a statement. 
John Thurso: The two Houses have one cleaning contract. The contractor has worked with the principal supplier of the cleaning materials that they use on the parliamentary estate to improve sustainability and minimise environmental impact. Although the particular products supplied to Parliament do not carry the EU Ecolabel they are super-concentrates, which are designed for use on a large scale and can provide even better sustainability benefits, typically in terms of transport, packaging and CO2 emissions. Super-concentrates are also considerably cheaper. Some essential supplies such as sanitisation products are, by their nature, incompatible with the requirements of the EU Ecolabel.
I have asked the House's Director General of Facilities to write to the hon. Member with more detailed information, and a copy of that letter will be placed in the Library.
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