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Sustainable Procurement

"Sustainable Procurement is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment".

Environmental Policy

In 2016, an Environmental Management System (EMS) was established jointly by the Estates Department and the Procurement Office.  Following this, in June  2017, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Systems Standard Certification was achieved.

Flexible Framework

In the University’s Procurement Excellence Strategy,  we have committed to procure goods, services and works responsibly in a way that enhances the regional vitality of our environment, economy and society in line with our Five and Fifty Strategic Plan.

The Procurement Office are utilising the Sustainable Procurement Flexible Framework as the framework for meeting the requirements of ISO14001, the internationally recognised Environmental Management System. Sustainable Procurement relates to the Civic Contribution priority within the Five and Fifty strategic plan. In particular engaging with our local supply chain will contribute towards the social and economic prosperity of our society.

The Flexible Framework is a tool developed for procurement professionals to support embedding sustainability into procurement practice. The Flexible Framework methodology focuses on five key elements:

  • People
  • Policy, Strategy and Communications
  • Procurement process
  • Engaging suppliers
  • Measurements and Results

We are delighted to report that we have achieved Flexible Framework Level 4 (February 2019), one of only a handful of universities across the UK.  If you would like any more information please get in touch.

Supplier Engagement Tool

Ulster University is committed to taking steps to ensure transparency in its supply chains and to acting ethically and with integrity in all its business dealings and relationships. In particular the University is taking action to comply with the requirements of section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

All Ulster University suppliers are encouraged to sign up to a sustainability action planning tool which helps them to improve their sustainable and corporate responsibility activity. The tool is free for suppliers to use and is used in collaboration with other University and Higher Education Organisations. The tool will also address the issues raised by the Modern Slavery Act, and supplier responses will for part of our annual report.

This action plan produced by suppliers is used as part of our ongoing contract management discussions, but will not be used to evaluate tenders.

The University uses this tool to support the University’s Procurement Excellence Strategy whilst supporting our suppliers as part of our civic contribution‌

The tool is delivered in partnership with NETpositive Futures.

Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is an international crime affecting millions of people across the globe. It is an unacceptable practice involving people regardless of age, gender or ethnicity in developed (including the UK) as well as developing countries. Within Britain, victims include people trafficked from overseas, or vulnerable people from the UK, who are forced to work illegally or against their will. Evidence suggests that this is more prevalent in some sectors than others but can occur anywhere.

The University is committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains or in any part of its activities. As part of this commitment we have adopted a Modern Slavery Policy and issue a Modern Slavery Statement annually in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and staff have a duty and a responsibility to support this approach. Considerations around modern slavery are embedded within our procurement process.

We are continuing to make progress against our commitments by both challenging and supporting suppliers within high risk categories as part of a broader supplier engagement commitment. We have produced a modern slavery update which may be of interest

The UK Government has produced a Briefing note on Modern Slavery, including details of how to spot the signs.