Ethical Procurement

 

Procurement supports University staff to purchase goods and services in ways that ensure 'value for money'.

Birmingham spends over £300 million each year on a variety of construction projects, goods and services which result in significant environmental, social and economic impacts. Ethical procurement is central to our approach which means we aim to minimise any negative impacts associated with these goods and services, as well as taking opportunities to enhance our contribution to society and the economy. We outline the approach we take in our Procurement Strategy. 

Minimising our negative impacts might mean purchasing organic or Fairtrade products, seeking to avoid sweatshops and child labour in the supply chain, or choosing to purchase from suppliers who are working hard to reduce their own carbon footprint. We can enhance our contribution to society through our spending by working with companies who support apprentices, provide training and treat their workers fairly. Key Procurement categories to influence are: Infrastructure, IT, Food, Professional Services and Scientific Supplies.

 

Flexible Framework

The Flexible Framework is a self-assessment mechanism that allows organisations to measure and monitor their progress on sustainable procurement over time.  We have already achieved Level 4 via external assessment and are currently working towards Level 5

Ethical Procurement for Internal Purchasers

Procurement is working to embed sustainability into the policies, processes and practice of the central function. They approve suppliers only once social, environmental and economic considerations have been explored and manage contracts to ensure these are delivered effectively. 

We need purchasers and requisitioners of goods and services across the organisation to help do more to support ethical procurement.

How do internal purchasers contribute to Ethical Procurement?

Currently over 400 staff who buy goods and services on behalf of the University and we need their help to roll-out our approach:

  • If you make requests for goods or services
  • If you approve purchases or budgets
  • If you place orders for goods and services

You can help us ensure that as much of our spending power as possible reflects our Ethical Procurement ambitions.

What help is available to support internal purchasers?

We have put together a list of our Top Tips for internal buyers to offer a starting point.

We have also produced some guidance on how to consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of our purchases. This is the model we use in University Procurement services.

Ethical Procurement and our Suppliers

Procurement is working to embed sustainability into the policies, processes and practice of the central team. They approve suppliers only once social, environmental and economic considerations have been explored and manage contracts to ensure these are delivered effectively.

Working with suppliers is crucial to helping us achieve global benefit.

How do our suppliers contribute to our Responsible Procurement activity?

We have suppliers providing goods and services to the University and they can help us achieve our Ethical Procurement ambitions by:

  • Demonstrating how they are working to reduce their own negative impacts
  • Demonstrating how they are working to increase their positive impact
  • Working with us to demonstrate value for money helps us to do more

To ensure Ethical Procurement has the impact we want to see it is important that as much of our spending power as possible reflect our values

What support can we offer our suppliers?

We want our suppliers to understand our ambitions in this area. We also want to support and develop our suppliers to minimise risk in our supply chain at the same time as demonstrating the positive contributions they can help us to make.

We therefore offer all University suppliers access to an online tool that helps us to understand our suppliers at the same time as encouraging their own sustainable practices. If you are a supplier and have not yet completed the NET positive Suppliers Engagement tool, please contact us for access.

The tool enables all our suppliers to create a sustainability action plan for their own business. As they do so we can demonstrate the collective activity of all our suppliers and support and celebrate progress.