Sustainable Procurement Strategy

The Sustainable Procurement Strategy has been developed to ensure that all staff involved in the procurement of goods and services routinely consider how we can enhance and protect our shared environment, contribute to the health and well-being of society and build a sustainable economy through our procurement decisions.

The Sustainable Procurement Strategy outlines six priority issues:

  1.  Optimise the use of natural resources
  2.  Effectively manage waste in the supply chain
  3.  Effectively manage the delivery of goods and services
  4.  Support the management of our carbon impact
  5.  Work with suppliers and departments to raise awareness of sustainability
  6.  Ensure that ethical considerations and a living wage are considered

The priority issues have been selected because they make a significant contribution environmentally, socially and economically to the University, our key stakeholders, suppliers and the local community.

In order to assist departments in embedding sustainability considerations into decision making the Purchasing Department has prepared summaries, for common categories of goods and services, of the likely impacts of making the purchase and opportunity areas for mitigating negative impacts or taking positive action. These summaries can be accessed here. Example questions you might ask of suppliers during the tender process are also available here.

Practical Considerations

Anyone purchasing goods and services should consider: 

  • Asking first if the purchase is really necessary (reduce consumption)
  • Avoiding products containing unsustainable materials e.g. unsustainable timber
  • Reducing packaging
  • Giving preference to products that are manufactured with a high recycled content, or which can eventually be recycled (or reused) – i.e. minimising the impact of eventual disposal
  • Giving preference to products that reduce energy consumption
  • Consolidating deliveries to the University, and timing deliveries to reduce congestion
  • Giving preference to suppliers that can demonstrate how they are reducing their environmental impact (in particular their carbon footprint)
  • Giving preference to products that are less harmful to human health and the environment
  • Whether there are any local suppliers who might be able to deliver best value
  • Giving preference to suppliers that can demonstrate ethical trading practices e.g. living wage compliance

The University Purchasing Department will: 

  • Carry out a sustainability assessment of the University’s major suppliers at tender stage
  • Monitor the University’s preferred suppliers on an ongoing basis with regard to their sustainability policies and practices
  • Attempt to shape or alter, where appropriate, the sustainability policies and practices of our preferred suppliers
  • Wherever practical, arrange agreements that offer environmentally preferable products as alternatives
  • Provide University departments with advice on sustainability issues relating to purchasing

Contact Details

For further information, please contact:
The Purchasing Department
Telephone: 01865 (6) 16022
Email: purchasing@admin.ox.ac.uk