Thread in Bower Ashton studio

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.

What UWE Bristol is doing to improve sustainable purchasing

  • For all significant procurement decisions, such as for high-value procurements or those with a potential sustainability impact, we are completing and considering lifecycle analyses, taking into account disposal/end of life costs as well as initial purchase costs. These include high-value procurements or those with a potential sustainability impact, such as including energy usage alongside the consideration of price and functionality in the evaluation of IT hardware.
  • 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.  

Sustainable purchasing - NETpositive Futures

We are encouraging key suppliers of goods and services to adopt NETpositive Futures Supplier Engagement Tool, which enables organisations to measure their environmental, economic and social sustainability performance. Whilst helping suppliers to promote and enhance their own sustainable practices, it also helps us to meet our own sustainability obligations as an organisation. This tool is widely used in the HE sector and fully supports the standards set out in the government flexible framework.

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 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 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.

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