Sustainable purchasing and procurement

2020 strategy target: customer trust in a transparent sustainable UWE Bristol supply chain.

Our aim by 2020 is to have achieved a 30% absolute reduction in the carbon footprint of our supply chain (excluding construction).

Building on the solid foundations of past work, we are making great strides in sustainable and ethical procurement guided by our Sustainable Purchasing Policy.

What we are doing to improve sustainable purchasing

  • Sustainability is frequently included as a tender evaluation criterion, typically accounting for at least 5-10% of the overall award decision. 
  • For all significant procurement decisions, we are completing and considering life-cycle analyses, taking into account disposal/end of life costs as well as initial purchase costs.
  • Year on year we are increasing the quantity of local, SME and Fairtrade goods and services purchased. In line with this, our most recent annual report highlighted a 4.8% increase in SME spend to nearly 39%.
  • We are working to deliver our ambitious Sustainable Food Policy.
  • In accordance with our 2018 Palm Oil statement, we have made the commitment that where possible, by 2020 all products that UWE Bristol purchases will meet the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.
  • We continue to look for opportunities to switch to sustainable products across all categories, ranging from cleaning supplies to high-value laboratory equipment.
  • We are working with our suppliers to improve performance overall.  

Giving local businesses a chance

We are a member of Partners In Procurement, a group of public bodies based in the West of England. We run annual events to encourage local businesses to supply the public sector by enabling them to identify business opportunities and understand what is required from potential suppliers.

We also use these events to educate suppliers on sustainability issues so that they understand their responsibilities.

Sustainable purchasing progress

  • We adhere to the processes outlined in the ISO 20400 guidance standard on sustainable procurement.
  • We ensure that our main building contractors include sustainability as part of their project key performance indicators (KPIs). To ensure accountability, they are obliged to report on waste to landfill, energy consumption, and carbon emissions.
  • Working through the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium we aim to ensure that all supply chains are slave free.
  • In particular our high risk suppliers, with large multi-tiered supply chains, are being reviewed in relation to compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in accordance with UWE Bristol’s Statement on Modern Slavery.
  • The Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium is also a member of Electronics Watch, an organisation which works to ensure that products purchased are not produced by slave labour.
  • As such our IT equipment is slave free in its production, in addition to being five star energy efficient.

What you can do

If you are involved in purchasing office and other furniture, first consider our furniture re-use scheme – email

If you find that you still need to make a purchase, please use the list of contract suppliers on the HE Contracts website.

When making your purchase, also consider the following:

  • energy rating, carbon footprint, and lifecycle
  • sustainability credentials – eg Fairtrade and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

If you need any advice please contact

Student study projects and support

We are keen for students to use our experience at UWE Bristol to learn from. We can support you by providing information and giving interviews on current policy and practice. If you have any questions, please email our purchasing team at who will be very happy to help.