Social Responsibility and Sustainability


When purchasing, think about the whole life of the product: what it is made from and how it was made, how it will be used, what will happen to it at the end of its life?

What you buy and how you buy can influence the environment, working and living conditions of those involved in the manufacturing of the product and the cost to you and the University.

What you can do


Do not buy unless you need to.

Check if your department already has the item in question, use WARP-IT, or contact the Furniture Office.

Learn more about reuse

Use existing contracts and services. Our agreements with suppliers are getting more and more sustainable. Look for the item you want to buy on e-Procurement systems (Sci-Quest) or on the procurement website.
Use Fair Trade products. To help maintain our status as a Fair Trade University, try to use Fair Trade products, especially when organising meetings.
Get quotes and think about impact.

If your item isn’t covered by an existing contract, consider its impact and obtain quotes from at least 3 suppliers.

Contact the Procurement Team if you need help

If it’s worth £50k or more, you MUST contact Procurement

They will give you advice on tendering and improving the sustainability of your tender.

Contact the Procurement Team

Cut the number of deliveries you need by ordering “lean” and in bulk. Try to do a single order once a month for each supplier, and email colleagues to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Why not share with other teams or even other buildings?

Taking things further


Become or elect a Procurement Coordinator. This should be the person responsible for purchasing within your office/area/flat.
When buying for yourself, think about these questions.
  1. Do I need it? Can I repair or reuse instead?
  2. What is it made from?
  3. How energy efficient is it?
  4. How long will it last?
  5. How will I dispose of it?
When buying for yourself, try to buy reusable rather than disposable items. You can also avoid products with too much packaging.
Don’t be afraid to make suggestions.

Many great initiatives were introduced as a direct result of community ideas - including becoming a Fair Trade University.

Contact the Procurement Team


Case Study: Charles Stewart House

Procurement officer Neil Crowley and Karen Rowberry of ERI explain the benefits to Charles Stewart House of coordinating stationery orders.

Case Study: Glove recycling in the School of Chemistry

Waste Management Officer Tim Calder explains the benefits to the School of Chemistry of implementing a glove recycling initiative.


Our goal is to procure goods, services and works in ways that maximise efficiency and effectiveness while minimising environmental and other risks and generating social benefit. We are assessed externally on our capability.

Useful links