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Sustainable Procurement and Ethical Investment

Sustainable Purchasing

The University has a Procurement Strategy which sets out the procurement guidelines of buying goods, services and works. Within this strategy the University acknowledges that its purchasing decisions have major socio-economic and environmental implications, both locally and globally.

To manage the procurement activities in an environmentally responsible the procurement strategy identifies 11 ways this could be applied.  A Sustainable Procurement Steering Group of the Sustainability Committee was created in April 2014 to oversee this important work; membership includes students, academics and procurement professionals.  The main focus of this group is ethical procurement issues, including workers’ rights such as Modern Slavery in the supply chain, factory conditions and reforming supply chains and Social Values Act.  See the terms of reference and membership details.  For example a recent tender for a cleaning contract has the requirement for the living wage, and the local supplier has been awarded the contract and contract management confirms these wages are being paid. An example of working with local suppliers and students is a painting project in the Student Union.  Watch this short film to find out about the project. 

Another example is our procurement of electronic goods. Poor working conditions and labour rights abuses are commonplace in many parts of the developing the world, where the majority of ICT products are made.  The University procures all it's ICT equipment through a purchasing consortium which has signed up to Electronics Watch. An independent organisation that aims to monitor working conditions in the global electronics industry to enable socially responsible public purchasing across Europe. Both Sustainability Committee and Business School students received presentations from Electronics Watch.

The Head of Purchasing who chairs this group is a member of the Sustainability Committee and provides regular reports to Sustainability Committee meetings; the University understands that procurement is one of the most significant contributors to its carbon footprint. Training in this important area is seen as key, HEPA 6 modules are being trialed in Procurement and then rolled out to all relevant staff. We are working with NETpositive Futures using their supplier engagement tool.

Some of our procurement targets for this year are:

  • Reduce the carbon emissions attributed to contracts the university is able to influence by 5% from 2011-12 baseline by 2018

How are we going to achieve these targets?

  • Provide regular reports from the Sustainable Procurement working group to Sustainability Committee throughout the year
  • Implement NetPositive tool kit for suppliers reporting

Download our full current qualitative and quantitative targets and progress against targets from Carbon Management & Targets

Ethical Investment

The University welcomes donations from alumni, corporate benefactors and other supporters.  To enable the educational purposes of donations to be achieved, the University will invest surplus funds and endowments with third party organisations. Wherever possible the University wishes to make such investments in ways that are consistent with the mission and values of the University. The University expects its investment managers, to take account of social, environmental and ethical considerations in the selection, retention and realisation of investments. The University will not invest in fossil fuels and the armaments industries. The University will strive to invest in companies where the activities of the company are, on ethical grounds, consistent with the educational and/or research objectives of the University.  The Director of Finance and Resources reviews the investment position annually read his latest report.

Read our Ethical Investment Policy.

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