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Victorian government paper procurement guide

Find out the recommended standards for procuring paper.

This guide provides the Victorian public sector with recommended standards for paper procurement. It has been developed in consultation with key industry parties and users of paper within the Victorian public sector.

Victorian Government departments and some agencies procure paper products through the stationery and workplace consumables State Purchase Contract (the 'Stationery SPC') and the print management and associated services SPC (the 'Print SPC'). The paper products available through both SPCs are fully compliant with the requirements of this guide, thereby capturing the vast majority of the Victorian Government departments and agencies' procurement of paper products.

Stationery and Workplace Consumables SPC

Paper procured through the Stationery SPC is almost exclusively copy paper, used for standard printing conducted through multifunctional devices in Victorian public sector work locations.

There is no restriction on the type of copy paper (imported, local, recycled or non-recycled) available to government buyers under the SPC.

Paper consumed through the Print SPC is either coated or uncoated. The choice of paper type is specified by government buyers as part of the print job specification process.

Generally buyers select coated paper versus uncoated paper for a print job where they require better quality for marketing and presentation purposes such as brochures and promotional material. Coated paper is all imported because there are no local manufacturers.

Paper market insights

Australian Paper is Australia's only manufacturer of copy paper, uncoated paper, envelope, packaging and security paper.

Almost all paper imported to Australia is managed by three Melbourne-based paper merchants. The balance of volume is handled by smaller merchants or bought directly by customers.

Ethical supply chain and manufacturing certification is an emerging trend in the forestry and paper industry. Certification is issued to manufacturers by peak industry groups, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), subject to the manufacturers satisfying the respective published standards. The 'chain of custody certification' issued by these groups indicates that at every phase of paper production, appropriate sustainable standards have been met.

Many Australian government jurisdictions have introduced guidelines for the procurement of paper (predominately related to sustainability).

Setting standards for the buying of paper

Where a Victorian Government department or agency has and/or introduces its own paper procurement policy or guideline, it is recommended that the standards are in line (as a minimum) with those detailed in this guide,

Standards for procuring paper

In procuring paper, it is recommended that:

  • this guide is followed in conjunction with the VGPB achieving value for money;
  • Australia and New Zealand small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) are considered for provision of paper where it meets requirements;
  • all paper sourced is either FSC or PEFC certified (the most recognised 'chain of custody' certifications in the paper industry), which will ensure that the paper made up of virgin pulp content has been legally harvested from a sustainably managed forest/timber source through socially responsible practices;
  • preference is given to mixed source paper, (i.e. high recycled paper content and a combination of virgin content that is derived from sustainably managed forest/timber source) where possible and/or appropriate based on the fit for purpose requirements of the paper being procured. This will maximise the life of paper fibres, ensuring ongoing sustainability and will assist in stimulating the market for the recycled paper industry;
  • preference is given to paper that is manufactured in a facility with an appropriate system of environmental management and from suppliers that demonstrate initiatives to lower energy consumption and improve energy efficiency. Environmental management systems (EMS) are designed to ensure continuous reduction of environmental impacts;
  • preference is given to paper that is either: elementary chlorine free (ECF), processed chlorine free (PCF) or totally chlorine free (TCF);
  • users of print services ensure that coated paper is only specified where the output requirements of the print job is of high quality and/or can only be achieved through the use of coated paper; and
  • users of print services ensure that the lowest weight paper is utilised that can achieve a fit for purpose output.

Scope of application

This guide applies to purchases from the Stationery and Print SPCs, thereby capturing the vast majority of the Victorian Government departments and agencies' procurement of paper products.

It is important to note that the contents of this guide may be amended from time to time, based on feedback and future research.

Benefits of using this guide

This guide:

  • aligns with Australian paper manufacturing standards;
  • demonstrates the Victorian Government's commitment to environmental sustainability by supporting good environmental practices;
  • demonstrates socially responsible practices in relation to communities and ensuring paper procurement decisions are based on ethical, as well as value for money considerations;
  • maintains competition for paper procurement and supports value for money outcomes;
  • is consistent with guidelines and procedures in place within other Australian government jurisdictions; and
  • establishes a clear position from the Victorian Government on paper procurement.

Using this guide

This guide accompanies the goods and services supply policies. There are 5 supplies policies:

  • Governance policy
  • Complexity and capability assessment policy
  • Market analysis and review policy
  • Market approach policy
  • Contract management and disclosure policy

This guide supports the market analysis and review policy.

Tools and support

Access a Microsoft Word version of the Victorian government paper procurement guide in the goods and services document library

For more information about procurement complexity and how to assess it, please contact the goods and services policy team.

Reviewed 26 November 2019

Buying for Victoria

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