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Sustainable Procurement

The College is committed to buying the goods, works and services it needs in a sustainable manner wherever possible.

What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable Procurement means improving the efficiency by which our money is spent, whilst at the same time using market power to bring about environmental and social benefits.

It is the process of purchasing goods, works and services that takes into account the social, economic and environmental impact that such purchasing has on people and communities whilst still achieving value for money.

What are the benefits of Sustainable Procurement?

It can realise financial savings, for example from reviewing the need for the goods or services ordinarily purchased and by making reductions in energy and water consumption and waste production.

It can improve the environmental performance of the College and its supply chain and meet its environmental objectives, which include:

  • Reducing carbon and other emissions and reducing  energy and water consumption
  • Reducing  the production of waste  and improving recycling, reuse, remanufacturing and recovery of waste
  • Preventing pollution and the use of  hazardous materials where practical
  • Protecting biodiversity

    It can enhance the social and ethical objectives of the College, which include:
  • Enhancing opportunities for training, apprenticeships and employment ensuring fair and ethical trade
  • Encouraging and supporting the voluntary and community sector, social enterprises and local organisations wherever possible
  • It reduces supply chain risks and enhances opportunities for innovative products and services
  • It ensures compliance with relevant environmental legislation
  • It demonstrates our commitment to act as an exemplar for other organisations

First steps

Before purchasing the goods or service, ask yourself:

  •  Do I really need it? It may be that you can avoid the expenditure or consider opportunities for reuse of products that would extend their useful life.
  •  Is there an alternative that will be more efficient and result in financial or environmental savings or capture the social/ethical opportunities? You may find it useful to discuss this with colleagues including the Energy & Sustainability Manager and the Central Procurement Unit.

What Should I think about before I purchase?

It will depend on what you are purchasing.

  • Are you purchasing goods or service that involves the use of energy or water?
  •  Is there likely to be a significant issue with waste being generated from the use, delivery or disposal of the goods or delivery of the services being purchased (e.g. packaging)?
  •  Can I take account of the costs (including environmental) over the life of the goods or services being purchased?
  • How can I take account of the ethical and social aspects of what I am purchasing including for example Fair Trade, local providers, use of the voluntary sector etc
  • What are the issues related to impact on biodiversity/wildlife that I need to consider?

If you are purchasing goods or services, there are some simple measures you may undertake:  

  • Look for Eco Labels which are placed on products. 
  • Use the  Government Buying Standards to procure sustainable goods and services.
  • Try to buy sustainable commodities such as, paper, cleaning materials or textiles.
  • When buying from Framework Contracts or catalogues e.g. Office Depot there are often alternative sustainable products that you may wish to consider. 

Where do I get further information?

If you need any further information you can contact the  Estates Department or  Central Procurement  Unit.


Food and fairtrade

There are a number of fair trade associations such as the World Fair Trade Organisation and the Fairtrade Foundation.

The Fairtrade Foundation awarded the College Fairtrade status in December 2005. This shows our commitment to ensuring that we support fair trade. This helps us to make sure that producers in the developing world sell their produce for better prices, have decent working conditions and fair terms of trade.

We already sell a number of Fairtrade products on campus and we are constantly striving to procure as many new Fairtrade products as we can. If you are interested in what we are doing to support Fairtrade on campus please get in touch by contacting the Sustainability Team




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