Since creating the Sustainable Procurement Policy in April 2005, the Durham University Procurement Service has become very pro-active in addressing sustainable procurement in all tenders and contracts that they are responsible for.
In 2010 the Procurement Service were short listed for two prestigious awards. They were a runner up in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management awards in the Outstanding Procurement Team category. This is designed to celebrate the sector's leadership, management, financial and business skills. They won a coveted Green Gown award in the Sustainable Procurement category. The winning entries were drawn from 191 applications, representing nearly 110 colleges and universities from across the UK. Each had to undergo a rigorous assessment process involving 44 expert judges from a range of relevant organisations. The judge's commented "Durham University provided an excellent application that showed a good model of engagement with small and medium enterprises and local businesses. The strategy is embedded into their practices and robust communication channels are present with suppliers and internal staff making it highly successful."
The Procurement Service is thrilled with its progress and external recognition. It clearly acknowledges the amount of hard work and effort that has been invested in both the sustainable and local agendas, however, be assured the Procurement Service are not about to rest on their success and they will continue to drive forward initiatives within the Higher Education sector.
Examples of such initiatives include the launch of a 'How to Do Business Guide' designed to help suppliers gain an understanding of the University's aims, legal obligations and quotation and tender processes. In March 2010 a 'Meet the Supplier' exhibition was held creating an opportunity for University staff to meet contracted suppliers and enhance relations through gaining a better understanding of how the parties can help one another improve. In May 2010 a free 'Meet the Buyer' event was run to encourage and further educate suppliers who wish to tender for higher education or public sector work. The aim of the event was to give an introduction into EU public sector procurement legislation, provide guidance and an explanation on completing the University's tender documents and provide a walkthrough of the University's eSourcing system.
The Procurement Service has ensured that as part of its robust tendering and contract management procedure the following areas are not only assessed when a contract is let but where appropriate they are monitored throughout the lifetime of the contract to ensure continual development:
- Environmental/Sustainable Impact;
- Health and Safety;
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR);
- Diversity and Equality;
- Waste Electronic and Elextrical Equipment (WEEE);
Whole Life Costing.
The following are examples of where consideration has been given to sustainability as part of the tender and/or contract management:
- Print - working with all print and design companies to use recycled products where possible;
- University-wide ban on virgin paper;
- Travel - actively encourage the Travel Company to recommend rail travel over air travel, where possible;
- Stationery - NEUPC supplier selected on environmental factors, such as recycled paper;
- Beverage contract - NEUPC supplier selected on the range of Fairtrade products available;
- Photocopier contract - Konica Minolta selected based on their approach to networked printing and recycling;
- Bus contract - the Stockton bus is free to all staff and students, to encourage the use of the bus, as opposed to taking the car;
- Deliveries - actively reducing the number of daily deliveries to Departments and Colleges;
- Waste - working with Estates and Buildings, Colleges and Departments to increase the amount of recycling that is carried out;
Food - working with Catering to buy local, seasonal and nutritional produce.
Some simple changes have been made in the way that the Procurement Service runs their office:
- Booklets for recent training courses created on photocopier using recycled paper;
- Implementation of an eSourcing system to minimise the amount of paperwork generated by tender processes;
- Working to implement an electronic Purchase to Pay system to remove the need for paper requisitions, orders and Goods Received Notes;
- Using the photocopier for printing as it uses less toner and is more energy efficient;
- Defaulted all printers to duplex and reduced the print density so toners last longer;
- Use recycled paper;
- Drink Fairtrade tea and coffee;
- Recycle all envelopes and use in internal mail;
- Use manila envelopes, without windows for external mail;
- Use the Stockton bus for meetings (where possible).
Please contact the Procurement Service if we can help your department look at sustainability, or if you have an initiative that we have not yet considered.