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Photo of a palm oil plantation

28 May 2019

How the University is tackling sustainability at the procurement stage

As part of the University’s Strategy, one ambition is to ‘embed sustainability and social responsibility into all of our processes, operations and developments’.

The Sustainability team and the Procurement team have been working closely together to look at how sustainability problems can be tackled at the tender stage with suppliers and contractors.

Areas that are being considered include:

  • Packaging – Minimising packaging where possible and considering recyclable alternatives
  • Reuse – Extending the life of products through reuse on-site or third parties
  • End of life – Considering how end of life products can be disposed of and ensuring the best environmental solution
  • Transportation and delivery – Considering where products are sourced from and the distance they travel, as well as the frequency of delivery and how cost-effective these methods are
  • Environmental legislation – Many products the University purchases have specific storage and disposal requirements in order to comply with Health, Safety and Environmental legislation

A number of University products and services link to these areas, and recently the impact of palm oil in our procurement activities has been a focus for the institution.

Palm oil

The University believes that palm oil has a place in the supply chain, but due to the potential harmful environmental implications associated with its production (e.g. deforestation), the institution supports the standards used by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to identify Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

Palm oil is used in the production of many products, including cakes, chocolate, cosmetics, cleaning products and biofuel.

In order to encourage sustainable production of palm oil in a socially responsible manner, the University has committed to the following:

  • Endeavouring to identify products currently bought from suppliers which contain palm oil
  • Seeking and considering alternatives to products containing palm oil when products are not moving towards CSPO
  • Working closely with existing suppliers to plan targets for CSPO-containing products
  • Introducing criteria relating to products containing palm oil in future procurement processes
  • Embedding the preference of CSPO in the University’s Sustainable Food Policy, with targets for the use of CSPO in products that must contain palm oil

If you would like to help make your procurement activities more sustainable, please contact the Procurement Team.