SORTED Guide to Sustainability in Further Education – Part 6 - Partnerships and engagement – 6.2 Partnerships & Engagement: procurement and supplier engagement
Introduction to the topic area
Procurement and in particular Sustainable Procurement, is one of the key drivers of change in any institution and is increasingly becoming a key mechanism for policy delivery and cost reduction. All public procurement in the UK is required to achieve value for money and is governed by the public procurement rule to ensure that it is fair and open. Colleges in the UK spend millions of pounds each year undertaking capital projects and buying goods and services. Increasingly, institutions are making their spending decisions in a sustainable way and many are adopting sustainable and socially responsible procurement policies.
Institutions that have a sustainable procurement strategy are taking their commitment a significant step forward, outlining their commitment to making spending decisions in a way that achieves both value for money on a whole life cycle basis, as well as wider economic, social and environmental benefits.
Organisational value of embedding sustainability in this area
- Risk management – being aware of purchasing decisions, with as much awareness of the social, environmental and ethical considerations as possible will minimise the risk of being exposed for supporting irresponsible practices.
- Financial benefits – working to a well-documented and thought through framework for purchasing decisions will ensure that value for money is considered, not just for the initial purchase, but to include operating, maintenance and disposal costs (implementing whole-life costing).
Wider benefits of embedding sustainability in this area
- Create market opportunities for the social economy and develop its capacity, with an awareness of improving local skills.
- Future-proof the supply chain, ensuring that long-term sustainable options are supported.
- Read through Forum for the Future’s “Buying a Better World: sustainable public procurement” report to get a good feel of what sustainable procurement is, barriers (perceived and real) that exist, and steps on how to implement sustainable procurement. This guide gives a full and thorough introduction to Sustainable Procurement.
- Look through the resources on the Sustainability Exchange Procurement and Supplier Engagement page for further ideas on how other organisations in the FHE sector are putting sustainable procurement into practice.
Ask your EAUC colleagues for support via the EAUC Communities of Practice and Topic Support Networks.