The University spends over £20 million on the purchase of goods and services much of which has a significant environmental impact. One of the roles of Sustainability is to consider the environmental effects of the University's purchasing decisions.
Download the Sustainable Procurement Policy.
What is green/environmental/sustainable procurement?
It's about taking environmental and social factors into account in purchasing decisions with the aim of minimising the environmental and social impacts of the purchases you make.
Why undertake green/environmental/sustainable procurement?
As a major purchaser of goods and services the Higher Education sector has a major impact on the environment and society. There are benefits to both the University and the environment - these include:
- Cost savings
- Enhancing corporate image
- Ensuring compliance with legislation
- Conserves natural resources
- Reduces pollution
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill
Simple steps to environmental purchasing
When making purchasing decisions consider whether you can purchase a product that:
- Is made partly or wholly from recycled material
- Can be recycled once it has been finished with
- Is energy efficient - purchase electrical appliances that have an 'A' energy rating
- Do not include excess packaging
- Are sourced from local suppliers
The University has a 'one stop shop' contract with Office Depot for all stationery consumables including paper. Office Depot offer a range of high quality, multipurpose recycled paper which is suitable for every day use.
Buying new furniture?
Consider whether you need to buy new furniture. Look on the University's furniture exchange website to see if you could reuse unwanted furniture for free! Look to purchase FSC certified furniture or furniture made from recycled material.
Buying an electrical appliance, e.g. fridge, freezer?
Consider the energy efficiency of the products. The European Energy Label tells you about the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Products are rated from A-G with A being the most energy efficient. The more efficient the product, the less energy it needs to do the same job and the more you get for your money. Purchase electrical appliances that have an 'A' rating. In many cases 'A' rated products are a comparable price to lower efficiency products meaning that you can do you bit for the environment at no extra cost!
Buying new IT equipment?
Purchase a flat screen monitor. These save space and use less electricity than traditional monitors. IT equipment is a major consumer of electricity within the University. PC monitors use approximately 66% of the electricity consumed by a PC. Traditional monitors will soon be classified as hazardous waste and will therefore be more difficult and costly to dispose of than flat screen monitors.
Work is underway with the Procurement Office to include environmental considerations into the tendering process for major contracts and to work with existing suppliers to try and improve their environmental performance.
Environmental labels can help consumers spot products that are less damaging to the environment. Many products contain such symbols, but there is no standardised symbol and it is not always obvious what these labels mean. The most commonly used symbol is the mobius loop, but this can represent recycled content and/or that the product is recyclable.
If a product has been awarded the European ecolabel it means that it has been independently assessed and found to meet strict environmental criteria. Find out more more information on environmental labels.