A key element in both the Corporate Plan and the Carbon Reduction Plan A key element in both the Corporate Plan and the Carbon Reduction Plan

The University is committed to introducing sustainable procurement; it is a key element in both the Corporate Plan and the Carbon Reduction Plan.

Sustainable Procurement means only purchasing goods that are really needed, and buying items or services whose production, use and disposal both minimise negative impacts and encourage positive outcomes for the environment, economy and society.

We should not view procurement and sustainable procurement as two distinct activities, all of our procurement activities should take sustainability issues into consideration. To find out more about sustainable procurement please click on the links below:

What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable Purchasing Training  

What are we doing at the UEA?

Worker Rights Consortium


Waste Reduction Hierarchy

Waste Management     

Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Sustainable Supplier Profiles

Modern Slavery

Sustainable Procurement Champions (PDF)

What is sustainable procurement? What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable procurement is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, service, works or 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, while minimising damage to the environment.

The key is to look beyond purchase price and quality and consider not just environmental but also social and economic factors in purchasing decisions. These three factors are often referred to as the three pillars of sustainable procurement. The impact of the purchase should be considered on a 'whole life' basis, that is the impact of production, distribution, use and ultimate disposal.

The importance of each of the three factors will vary depending on the nature of the purchase and the availability of more sustainable alternatives.

The table below sets out some key sustainability issues:

Environmental Issues;

Social Issues

Economic Issues

♦ Emissions to air (eg greenhouse   

♦ Use of raw materials

♦ Use of energy

♦ Water use

♦ Waste and by-products

♦ Pollution

♦ Impacts on biodiversity

♦ Promoting fair employment   

♦ Promoting workforce welfare    

♦ Fairtrade and ethical souring

♦ Encouraging a diverse base 
of competitive suppliers


♦ Job creation

♦ Whole life costing      

♦ Achieving value for money      

♦ Ensuring suppliers agreements   
are competitive and fair to 


Source: The Sustainable Procurement Guide

Sustainable Purchasing Training Sustainable Purchasing Training

Staff can access 'Sustainable Purchasing Training' through Blackboard.

The aim of this training is to explain rules on procurement at the University and to give you some ideas as to the sustainability issues to consider when ordering goods and services.

Procurement is the process of acquiring goods and services from third parties.

Not everyone is involved in buying goods and services for UEA, but all staff are affected by, can influence, purchasing decisions on both.

It is important that all staff spending University money complete this training at least every 3 years to ensure you understand the laws regarding public procurement.

What are we doing at the UEA? What are we doing at the UEA?

The University's Purchasing team will strive to:

  • Ensure staff consider environmental, economic and social factors with every purchase

  • Deliver basic training in sustainable procurement principles to University staff

  • Assess the sustainability risks in all contracts

  • Engage with suppliers to promote continual sustainability improvement

Worker Rights Consortium Worker Rights Consortium

The University is an affiliate member of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). The organisation is independent and monitors the labour rights of workers making clothing across the world. Over 175 universities across the world have affiliated with WRC.

Members send WRC details of the factories that their garments are made in and WRC then undertake investigations of working conditions. Where issues are identified they issue public reports and help the workers to resolve labour rights abuses.

The University has already received factory disclosure information from Catering and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and are working closely with the SportsPark to ensure we receive disclosure information for the new Contract for Sports Kit and staff Uniform. We know there is a lot more clothing being purchased on Campus which we need to address.  

If your School or Department are buying clothing with UEA funds, then it is your responsibility to get factory disclosure information for those garments.

To get disclosure information please send the spreadsheet below to your clothing supplier and ask them to complete the table. WRC require details of the original source factory not the distributor. When you receive the completed sheet please contact Procurement who will issue the details to the WRC for investigation. The process is as follows:

  1. Send your supplier the factory disclosure spreadsheet

  2. Send the completed spreadsheet to Procurement

  3. Procurement issue to WRC

  4. WRC log and investigate

If the supplier changes factories then the process above should be repeated. If your supplier refuses to disclose factory information this should raise some concerns, the Procurement Team would recommend sourcing a new supplier that will provide the information. It is never OK for companies to utilise forced labour and unethical working conditions in the pursuit of profit. If we are unable to check supply chains we cannot be sure that unethical practices are not taking place.  

To find out more about WRC you can visit their webpages:  http://www.workersrights.org/


Worker Rights Consortium Disclosure Form

Ecolabels Ecolabels

The European Ecolabel is awarded to products and services that meet high environmental standards. The scheme is supported by all EU Governments although it is not a statutory requirement.

The Ecolabel has been awarded to a number of products; you can also find guidance on established product groups which includes cleaning, floor coverings, paper, household appliances, etc.

The EU Directives allow you to use the information in the Ecolabel to construct your specification providing that they relate to the core product or service and don't prevent anyone bidding solely due to the lack of accreditation.

For further details on the European Ecolabel please visit the European Commission's website.

The Ecolabel is not the only award; there are other well known schemes including the Scandinavian label (the Nordic Swan), the German Blue Label and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They are all life-cycle based and involve certification from a third party.

Where possible you should look for products and services that have been given an award by one of these schemes, if this is not possible use the EU guidance on product groups to construct your specification. 

Waste reduction hierarchy Waste reduction hierarchy

All goods and services purchased generate waste. The Waste Framework Directive encourages the prevention of waste and established a 5 step waste hierarchy. The hierarchy covers the options available for dealing with waste; it is based on the idea that it is better to avoid waste generation than to treat or dispose of waste. This should be a key consideration when making purchasing decisions, particularly in respect of the reuse or minimisation of packaging. The hierarchy is set out in order of preference as per below:-

REDUCTION Waste reduction and minimisation is at the top of the hierarchy as it avoids waste at the very outset. In general terms it involves buying less and using less. A reduction in waste can be achieved by:

→ Not using goods/materials in the first place

→ Using alternative raw materials

→ Improving working processes to reduce waste

→ Redesign of products to reduce the materials required
RE-USE Waste can be reused for its original purpose or new life re-use which involves using an item for a different use to which it was originally intended.
RECYCLE Recycling is a key method of reducing the waste to landfill. Waste is becoming more expensive to dispose of, landfill sites are coming to the end of their lives and resources are being stretched, recycling makes economic sense. Waste recycling facilities have been installed across the UEA campus to facilitate this option.
RECOVER This level of the hierarchy is about recovering what you can from the waste before it is disposed of. This can include the recovery of energy through options such as incineration.
DISPOSE Disposal is the least preferred option in the hierarchy; the waste is taken to landfill or incinerated etc. Many landfill sites in Norfolk have already closed; the remaining sites have been estimated to have less than 10 year life remaining.

Waste management Waste management

The University is trying to minimise waste, consideration of the waste implications should be given in all of our purchasing activities.

There are a large number of laws covering waste for example the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 and Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 (as amended).

These regulations place a legal responsibility on the UEA and its staff to ensure that we produce, store, transport and dispose of controlled waste without harming the environment. This is call your duty of care.

Staff and schools should ensure that they undertake the following:

  • Have an awareness of the regulations

  • Consider the wastes you produce and how they will be managed

  • Ensure anyone removing waste has a waste carriers licence

  • Ensure that the waste reduction hierarchy is applied; from 28 September 2011 this is a legal requirement.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

The WEEE Directive was introduced in 2007 and aims to reduce the amount of electrical equipment produced and encourage people to follow the waste hierarchy.

All members of staff have a responsibility under these regulations, when electrical equipment is disposed of or sold you must ensure the WEEE regulations are complied with.

For further details of your requirements please refer to the guidance on the Environmental Agency web pages.

If you have any questions regarding waste please contact the University's Waste and Recycling Manager on 2045.