Sustainable procurement

The University’s Procurement Office continues to lead efforts to reduce and measure sustainability impacts and provide guidance to the higher education and wider public sector, where the University’s good practice has been recognised.

All of the University's tea, coffee and juices are fair trade.
All of the University's tea, coffee and juices are fair trade. Photo by Gareth Easton.

These efforts have contributed towards 85% of the University’s procurement spend being influenced by the Procurement Office, with over a third through collaborative procurement.

Along with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, the University has worked closely with Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges to develop a Supply Chain Sustainability Policy and Code of Conduct, and the SUSTAIN database for the sector, which aims to engage suppliers, encouraging them to improve their own environmental and social impacts.

The Sustainable Procurement Priority Tool, used by the University, evaluates social, economic, environmental risks and supports engagement with buyers and suppliers to highlight and influence the impact of what we purchase. The University participates in the development of a range of codes and standards relating to supply chain ethics, including supporting fair trade and is a signatory of the Worker Rights Consortium and the European-wide Electronics Watch.

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 58% of the University’s influenceable spend. We continue to work with suppliers to reduce carbon emissions, such as in our stationery buying initiative, which aims to reduce orders and deliveries through local collaboration. In the area where this is being trialled, van deliveries have been reduced by 25%, saving over 200 kilograms of CO2. In addition, use of our eProcurement service saved over 68,000 paper orders in 2014/15.

The University aims to directly engage with suppliers to reduce their carbon emissions. The economic impact of the University in Scotland is estimated at £2 billion and supports over 31,000 jobs.



Further information

Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement