skip to content

Procurement Services

Eco Merchandise

Our commitment to sustainability

The University’s Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy and Strategy contains a vision that the University is committed to making a positive impact through outstanding environmental sustainability performance.

Sustainable Procurement is one of nine themes within this policy and strategy. We are the first University in the world to announce a Science Based Target to reduce energy related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048 with an aspiration to achieve this by 2038.

Procurement Services is working closely with the Sustainability team to ensure that the University:

  • Complies with all relevant legislation and regulatory requirements
  • Promotes sustainable awareness and assessment amongst suppliers and contractors
  • Procures sustainable products and services
  • Reduces the environmental sustainability impacts of construction and refurbishment projects.
  • Includes environmental, economic and social aspects when specifying specific good or services.
  • Includes sustainable criteria when evaluating offers from potential suppliers
  • Promotes awareness of sustainable issues and considerations within the user community
  • Develops measures of our sustainable practice using sector standards
  • Uses the measures developed to monitor our sustainable practice with a view to seek continual improvement
  • Uses the results of the monitored practice to benchmark our performance against similar organisations
  • Analyses the benchmarked performance to identify areas of practice for improvement

Our plans for implementing Sustainable Procurement

Our aim is to meet ISO 20400 standards for Sustainable Procurement, so that our purchases have 'the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible over [their] entire lifecycle' (ISO20400).

Achieving ISO20400 certification will allow our procurement and purchasing activities to contribute to the University's wider sustainability commitments. 

During the Strategic Procurement Review (the 'SPR'), how the University buys goods, works and services was analysed. Our ability to influence spend versus that spend's carbon impact was mapped, alongside a high-level distribution map of emissions within our supply chain. This provided a picture of the University's current position in respect of carbon and how the University compares to its organisational peers.

We are in the process of developing a new Procurement Strategy informed by the outputs from the SPR, of which sustainability will form a key component. Once this strategic mandate and direction is in place, we will review our policies and procedures to ensure sustainability is directly built-in to how we buy goods, works and services, and commence pursuit of immediate opportunities for improving our environmental, social and economic impact.

You can view the ISO 20400 standard on the BSI ('British Standards Institution') website, accessible for University of Cambridge staff here (search ISO20400).

Carbon Reduction Strategy 2020

Travel emissions data is collected University-wide as one way to monitor carbon reduction targets via the Travel Mangement Company (TMC). Staff and students are asked to follow the University of Cambridge Guidelines for Sustainable Business Travel March 2022 when booking bussines travel with TMC (refer to 5.15 Booking arrangements).

The Sustainability team released a 2020 update to the Carbon Reduction Strategy, which covers the University's approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are conventionally classified into one of three “scopes”, one of which (Scope 3) covers purchased goods and services, including the materials and processes used in constructing new buildings, alongside business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal and investments.

Procurement Services will be focusing on improving our approach to sourcing and our ability to capture data to improve our sustainability outcomes around Scope 3 emissions. Our long-term ambition is to be carbon neutral - where emissions arising from Scope 3 activities are offset. Our target is to reduce per capita emissions from air business travel by 25% against 2014/15 levels by 2024/25, taking into consideration our current under-reporting.

For more information contact Cyndi Mudaly, Head of Sustainable Procurement, Procurement Services

Was this page helpful? Yes No

Raven Login

Some items on this website are restricted, including search functionality. University members are encouraged to log in using Raven to make the best use of the site:

Login with Raven