Successes in Sustainable Procurement

Posted by zat1 at Apr 27, 2016 03:25 PM |
The pressure is on for the University to deliver it's sustainable procurement credentials!

There have been massive leaps forward in Sustainable Procurement in the last two years. Leading us to 2017 is a new Procurement Strategy, focusing on positive and accessible change to reduce our Scope 3 emissions, and engaging suppliers to develop the skills of our students through recruitment.

Last year the University joined the Electronics Watch campaign to push for ethical supply chains in its ICT contacts, which accounts for 9% of annual University expenditure, a major step forward in setting the standard for the future. This aligns with the student perspective, that public education should be actively promoting fairness, cooperation and solidarity. On campus, successful student projects and campaigns have shown encouraging progress as finance, students and sustainability are joining together to improve where the University spends its money.

With already half of the £5000 Sustainable Enterprise and Environmental Development (SEED) fund backing 5 innovative projects, the University is enabling student input concerning its environmental implications whilst rewarding them with valuable project officer experience. One example is of a Management finalist’s project, which involves researching behaviour change of the usage of paper cups and reusable cups with promotional material. Benefits to the University include reduction in paper cups and their waste (as they cannot be recycled), better sustainable credentials and encouraging the long term transition to reusable cups, all of which save money and profit through increase in sales in University of Leicester branded cups.

Alongside empowering students with projects, the student-led Environmental Action Society and the Students Union have been running the Divestment Campaign, which began by engaging with Finance Committee in respect of the University’s 5.5% investment in fossil fuel companies that feature on the Carbon Underground 200 list. The Committee discussed the issue, as did the University Leadership Team. The Finance Committee has confirmed that the University will seek to actively engage with companies currently on the Carbon Underground 200 list around their policies on climate change and the responsible management of the environment.

Mark Peel the Provost has explained where they are currently at: "The University Leadership Team decided that the University would maintain its existing investments for the time being, but would undertake two further actions. One is to actively discuss with companies on the Climate Underground 200 list their policies on climate change and the responsible management of the environment. As such, we wish to pursue the policy of ‘engagement with’ rather than ‘disengagement from’ these firms."