Sustainable purchasing and procurement

Our approach and strategy targets for 2030

To reach UWE Bristol’s Sustainability goals, including Net Zero 2030, responsible procurement plays a key role, not least because 80% of our carbon footprint comes from good services and activities off campus to which procurement is a major contributor. Our strategy is guided by our Responsible Procurement ESG policy.

Our approach is to focus on key areas as recommended by the International Organisation for Standardisation:

  • organisational governance
  • human rights
  • labour practices
  • the environment
  • fair operating practices
  • consumer issues
  • community involvement and development.

Our key areas of activity

Our key areas of activity take place within three sustainability categories: environmental, social, and economic, and all include culture and governance as their foundation stones.  This builds on the work already done at the University and being addressed through the Circular Economy Plan, the Carbon and Energy Management Plan and the Scope 3 Action Plan.

Responsible procurement graphic showing the main three pillars: social, environmental and economic.

Download our Responsible Procurement Strategy (ESG) infographic (PDF)

What we are doing to improve responsible purchasing

  1. As of 2022, UWE Bristol require that organisations tendering for contracts over £100,000 must provide details of how they intend to reach the UK Government targets of 85% progress to net zero by 2035 and 100% by 2050 ( in reflection of the Government’s own requirement for contracts over £5 million).
  2. Working as members of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium we aim to ensure that all our supply chains are slave free as follows:
    • In particular our high risk suppliers, with large multi-tiered supply chains, are continuously reviewed in relation to compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in accordance with UWE Bristol’s Statement on Modern Slavery.
    • The Consortium has paid full membership 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.
  3. In accordance with our 2018 Palm Oil Statement, where possible, all products that UWE Bristol purchases now meet the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.
  4. Year on year we are increasing the quantity of local, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) and Fairtrade goods and services purchased. 
  5. We are working to deliver our ambitious Sustainable Food Policy.
    • 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.  

What you can do

If you are involved in purchasing office and other furniture, first consider our furniture re-use scheme – email reuse.furniture@uwe.ac.uk.

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 purchasing@uwe.ac.uk.

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 purchasing@uwe.ac.uk who will be very happy to help.