Demonstrating Sector Commitment to Sustainability

21 Dec
Demonstrating Sector Commitment to Sustainability  

The NETpositive Supplier Engagement tool (HE), has now, following the results of the sector survey on responsible procurement, been recognised as the preferred choice for Universities in England.


The tool enables suppliers to develop a sustainability action plan for their business based on their context and leading-edge sustainability thinking. Using the tool means supporting suppliers to go beyond simply stating a commitment to sustainability by providing them with a customised action plan, which can be monitored and measured. Institutional tool providers are able to interrogate the associated data dashboard across their supplier base. Data can be used to plan supplier engagement activities, gather evidence of good sustainability practice and the action plan provides a clear and measurable focus for your contract management discussions.


Between 2015 and 2017, 42 Universities from around England signed up to the tool and in turn, 3279 suppliers have now been supported to create their own bespoke action plans for their business (for free!). NWUPC, alongside HEPA and the Steering Group are currently exploring how the vast amount of national data can be used to demonstrate the contribution and impact UK HEI procurement has had and is having on sustainability in the UK.


NWUPC have supported members and suppliers throughout the year including


  • 27 procurement staff benefitted from 4 training session designed to help the ‘Squeeze the Value’ from their use the tool (and arguably their spend!)
  • a range of guidance documents designed to help tool providers exploit the full value that using the tool can unlock in their own institutions has been developed
  • Most recently the sector’s first Responsible Procurement Supplier Awards used the tool as a mechanism to both engage and celebrate suppliers with sustainability (at the University of Manchester) and a guide for Tool Providers was developed to help others run a similar celebration in their own context

You can read more on the new dedicated website provided by NETpositive Futures, which provides support and guidance for procurement professionals deploying the tool in their own institution as well as for suppliers creating their action plans.


Working with the other partners, including HEPA, we are currently exploring ways of developing this approach further. These may include:


  • National Supplier Awards recognising and celebrating sustainability activity across the supply chain
  • A Sector Impact Report with a focus on the contribution and impact in relation to sustainability and social value made through HE spend
  • Using the data to develop practical guides to support the development of commodity strategies, which are emerging in best practice across the sector
  • Training and support designed to raise the profile and practice of HE procurement teams

Get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. directly if you want any specific information, otherwise, watch this space for the next exciting stage of the project and how it will help you.