Procurement Department


Sustainability at The University of Nottingham

What is sustainable procurement?

Goods and services have been historically sourced on the basis of price and quality, the concept of sustainable procurement considers environmental, economic and social factors also known as the triple baseline. The Procurement Department therefore use this method to select the goods and services which will assist in achieving the greatest benefits across all three areas without detrimentally affecting another.

Environmental, Economic, Social impact


The full impact of procuring goods or services should be evaluated to understand the environmental impact it will have. The world's resources are in limited supply and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere needs to be reduced. Therefore when selecting suppliers the environmental impact needs to be considered with stronger enforces placed on the environmentally responsible goods/services. 


When evaluating the cost of sourcing goods or a service the whole life costs are considered, from the cradle to the grave as often only the initial acquisition costs are considered.  However there are many other factors that should be evaluated such as: running costs, support/warranty costs and disposal. When these other costs are included and clearly defined the complete financial impact can be understood. 


Sustainable procurement also addresses a number of social aspects such as challenging discrimination on grounds of race, disability, gender and transgender, sexual orientation, age, religion and belief. When selecting suppliers to work with the University conducts a number of questionnaires to evaluate these factors and how they as an organisation support the local community.



CIPS and the Sustainability Strategy and Directives

CIPS Sustainability Index

Procurement Sustainability Strategy

WEEE Directive

Corporate Supplies and Services

The following list highlights only a selection of achievements where the Procurement Department have considered sustainable procurement.

Office furniture: deliveries are consolidated to one day per week to reduce the number of deliveries and the carbon impact
Desktop paper: SciQuest highlights recycled paper options
Stationery: consolidated catalogue introduced to reduce levels of purchase. Recycleabox initiative helping to reduce amount of packaging used for deliveries.   
Inter-campus Hopper Bus: scope for carbon footprint initiatives to become more visible and proactively managed.
Uniforms: recycled packaging being used.
IT equipment now delivered by one company rather than the previous two with deliveries consolidated to a Tuesday and Thursday.
All packaging for computers is bio-degradable or recycled and reused with a guarantee that no waste will end up in landfill
Continued commitment to reducing energy consumption during production of IT equipment
Waste management system to reuse, reduce and recycle old IT equipment  
Equipment selected with consideration for power consumption and environmental awards such as Energy Star, Blue Swan or 80 PLUS
Multi-Functional Devices/Photocopiers; through consolidation of desktop printers and the machine ability to fax and scan working to reduce fleet and increase energy saving. In addition print and release reduce the amount of wasted prints by up to 30% in some areas
Worked to achieve Fairtrade™ status, one of the first Universities to achieve this award
All cooking oil is collected and made into biodiesel, through a joint project with the Energy Technology Team
Good Food packaging is biodegradable, and suppliers also take away all bulk packaging for re-use
Takeaway food containers are biodegradable
Eggs used throughout catering are Free Range
Fruit and vegetable supplier collects all box packaging to reuse again and for a smaller number of items, biodegradable bags are used as packaging
Trialling energy saving kitchen equipment to determine where they can best make carbon savings
Redundant catering electrical equipment will be replaced with the best energy rating equivalent available 
The University's Sustainable Food Policy  (pdf document)

Travel Policy now actively encourages alternatives to travel such as video/telephone conferencing

Waste Management; currently recycling 30% of total waste. New agreement being implemented to further increase this amount
The Estates Environment Team maintain a  separate web site on sustainability

Sustainable Procurement - the Government's Buying Standards (GBS)

Image of grass area on University Park 

Procurement Department

King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

For queries please email