Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Follow purchasing guidance

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. The University is working to embed sustainability in its agreements with suppliers. 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 Fairtrade 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 three 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


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. In what conditions was it made?
  4. How energy efficient is it?
  5. How long will it last?
  6. 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 Fairtrade University.

Contact the Procurement Team


Procurement website

Find out more about what the University is doing