Fairness in trade and sustainable procurement
Fairness in trade and sustainable procurement means calling for responsible practices in relation to workers, environment and society to be followed by our suppliers.
The University has made various commitments to working towards socially responsible and sustainable procurement and supply chains. These commitments include:
- Fair trade policy and affiliation to the Fairtrade Universities scheme
- Membership of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and Edinburgh Fair Trade City Group
- Membership of Electronics Watch
- Conflict Minerals Policy
- Modern Slavery Statement and related action plan
- APUC Code of Conduct and collaboration on the Sustain supplier database
- Procurement strategy
Our sustainable procurement goal is to procure goods and services in ways that maximise efficiency and effectiveness while minimising social, environmental and other risks.
When buying through the University’s purchasing systems, or using other University contracted suppliers, students and staff can be confident that environmental and social issues have been taken into account.
Through our Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement Programme, we collaborate with the Procurement Office, academics, students, external partners and others on the following activities:
- Contributing to the assessment of SRS risks and opportunities in procurement/supply chains including providing briefings, and bringing together stakeholders with different expertise
- Participating in meetings with suppliers to discuss SRS priorities and efforts
- Participating in User Intelligence Groups for different commodities, to ensure SRS issues are considered in procurement decisions
- Responding to Electronics Watch factory reports and country/region profiles, in terms of embedding recommendations into the way we work with suppliers
- Contributing to the development of national and sectoral SRS procurement tools
- Linking research to procurement and supplier practices through Living Lab projects, including student dissertation placements
- Coordinating policy development for the University regarding SRS issues in procurement
- Coordinating the renewal of our Fairtrade University status, including monitoring progress regarding efforts to increase the amount of fair trade products on offer in University outlets
- Organising activities and events on fairness in trade and sustainable procurement to engage students and staff in discussion and debate
The University of Edinburgh was affiliated to the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) from 2012 to 2017. The WRC is a US-based organisation that aims to monitor working conditions in garment factories that produce university-branded apparel and other garments, on behalf of its higher education institution members. From 2017, the University took the decision to focus on working with UK partners to develop further collaboration on socially responsible garment purchasing, in a manner that reflects the UK and European public procurement context.