Staff sitting around a table

Sustainable Procurement

Lancaster University has set out a clear vision in its strategic plan which includes support of social and environmental objectives. This includes declaration of a climate emergency and a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

The University recognises that it is able to leverage its market power to make a positive impact and that procuring responsibly can play an important part in supporting the University’s social and environmental goals.

The University has a Procurement Strategy which provides a framework for expenditure and is consistent with its environmental and social aims. This Sustainable Procurement Guidance is consistent with the Procurement Strategy and based on the best practice, standards and training provided by HEPA (The Higher Education Procurement Association), CIPS (The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) and CCS Crown Commercial Services, (responsible for central government procurement).

Sustainable procurement processes should address the following key aims:

  • Minimise demand for resources, for example, by reducing overall purchasing of new items and using resource-efficient products;
  • Minimise the negative impacts of goods, services and works, for example, by making ‘greener’ product choices and reducing the impact of any waste produced;
  • Ensure that fair contract prices and terms are applied, for example, by mandating ethical employment standards for all suppliers;
  • Provide opportunities for small and medium businesses, particularly those operating in the local area.

Requirements for suppliers

Sustainability Impact Analysis is carried out on University contracted suppliers. This ensures these contracts include extra commitments to sustainability and ethical behaviour.

Living wage

Whether the supplier pays the Living Wage and how checks on ethical labour practices are carried out throughout its supply chain.


Insist that packaging is plastic-free or where is cannot be, uses plastic that is 100% recyclable.

Human rights

Check that the supplier publishes a Modern Slavery Statement and asks about the actions it takes to protect Human Rights in its supply chain.

Reduce carbon emissions

Reduce the number of transactions and deliveries to reduce carbon cost.

Sustainable procurement training

The University’s aim is to ensure that all members of staff are appropriately trained in sustainable procurement and that they realise the purchasing decisions they make can have an impact. All members of the Procurement Team have undertaken Sustainable Procurement training and are well-placed to support staff when establishing ongoing contracts and purchasing specific one-off requirements. Anyone buying on behalf of the University is asked to complete the Introduction to Sustainable Procurement online course.