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Sustainable Procurement

By Benjamin Meunier, on 29 January 2020

UCL Sustainability ran a workshop this week on sustainable procurement, looking at how UCL departments can take action to ensure the goods and services which UCL purchases are sustainable.

To give a sense of scale, UCL spends over £500 million a year, with 40,000 suppliers (although 80% of spending is from 200 suppliers). Three quarters of UCL’s carbon emissions come from the services and products we buy.

Sustainable procurement (also know as “responsible procurement”) is defined as

” the process whereby environmental, social and financial impacts of all of UCL’s procurement processes are taken into account, making sure to reduce negative impacts and enhance positive impacts.”

What is UCL doing?

  • All new contracts for suppliers at UCL now include sustainability criteria, which now form part of standard procurement practice when inviting bids for new suppliers.
  • The Sustainable UCL team monitor suppliers on an annual basis based on the Key Performance Indicators set when contractors are selected to supply goods or services to UCL
  • From Spring 2020, catering at UCL will be disposable-free, as Sodexo have procured reusable melamine crockery. By 2020-21, UCL will be totally plastic-free across all catering
  • Stationery choice on the UCL eMarketplace will be reduced by removing non-recyclable options (for instance for reducing the available choice for A4 copy paper from the 104 options currently available)

What can we do?

UCL Sustainability propose 4 rules to consider before buying:

      1. Do you need to buy?
      2. Follow procurement guidelines
      3.  Use UCL contracted suppliers.
      4. Complete a Sustainability Assessment (a simple template is available, with more information at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/resources/procurement-and-purchasing)

The slides from the workshop are available: Fairtrade and Procurement Slides. For more information on sustainable procurement, please see the dedicated webpage: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/get-involved/procurement.

UCL Sustainability also noted that Fairtrade Fortnight is coming (24 Feb-8 March 2020). To find out how you can get involved, visit https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/current-campaigns/Fairtrade-Fortnight

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