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Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in Procurement

The Procurement Service is not resting on its laurels, but continues to improve and develop in this area. Already at level 5 on 1 area of the flexible framework and level 4 on the rest (the expectation is that University’s will be at level 3), the Procurement Service strives to improve in these areas.


What the Procurement Service have done


1 People

Engage, train and retrain, new and current staff on sustainable procurement and reinforce the message.

Level 5

2 Policy, Strategy and Communications

Improve communications and information available online. Ensure work identified on action plan can link into Energy Management System and strategic sourcing strategy.

Level 4

3 Procurement Process

Identify those contracts of significant impact, and where relevant focus on social, environmental and economic impacts, contract and risk management, key performance indicators, whole life cost and total cost of ownership.

Level 4

4 Engaging Suppliers

Identify top suppliers and identify means of introducing incentives. The Category Managers are to strategically review and identify areas of impact. Routinely run supplier engagement programmes and exhibitions.

Level 4

5 Measurements and Results

Further development of balance scorecard, measure key performance indicators and small and medium sized enterprise involvement, assess whole life cost and monitor revised savings log.

Level 4


The Procurement Service combined their Sustainable Procurement Policy with their Corporate and Social Responsibility Policy for Procurement in 2013, to create a more meaningful Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy (currently under review). The Policy better addresses the cohesion of the work undertaken and ties into the Responsible University framework.

The Policy also plays a key role in our Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy and Strategy and Action Plan with detailed Key Performance Indicators. These policies are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain up to date and in line with the department's ambitions.

The Procurement Service also contributes to the University's Modern Slavery Statement and all staff are undertaking training on this to keep up to date.


Supplier engagement is a critical part of the work undertaken in the Procurement Service. Supplier development programmes are regularly run to provide useful information to suppliers to assist them in applying for work, not just at Durham University, but elsewhere within the public sector.

Supplier exhibitions and Supplier Development days have been and continue to be held each year, to give staff and suppliers the opportunity to meet each other, and discuss the contracts, and therefore goods or services, that are available. The event held in 2014 was well received by staff and suppliers, with the feedback stating that the organisers were knowledgeable and helpful, the event was well organised, the suppliers felt that the exhibition met their aims and objectives and that they had made new contacts. Run at a break even, rather than a profit, the Procurement Service make it possible for all suppliers to attend.


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 and Environmental Responsibility (CSER);
  • Diversity and Equality;
  • Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE);
  • Whole Life Costing or Total cost of Ownership.