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Responsible Procurement

The University of Reading spends approximately £75 million per annum (19/20 figures lower due to Covid, excludes staff costs) on goods, services and works and is fully committed providing responsible procurement operations and leveraging our supply chain to benefit the University and our community. The University is committed to achieving the highest standards of environmental performance, preventing pollution and minimising the impact of its operations. The Responsible Procurement Group works to contribute to the University of Reading Strategy which aims to create new knowledge; embrace and celebrate diversity of people and ideas; and care for our environment.

The University's Responsible Procurement Group meets termly and aims to achieve the following goals:


Environmental Sustainability & Carbon Management

Work closely with the Sustainability Team to contribute to the UoR Environmental Sustainability and Energy Policies and contribute to the University's Net Zero 2030 Carbon Plan.

Equality and Diversity

Diversify our supplier chain with organisations that promote equal, diverse, safe and fair workplaces for their employees. Please refer to the University's Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement.

Ethical Sourcing

Ensure the products and services being sourced are obtained in a responsible and sustainable way, where ethical policies and procedures are in place during the manufacturing and sourcing process. All suppliers must ensure their own sourcing practices and procedures comply with the Equality Act 2010. 

Social Value

Ensure that we look beyond the price of each individual contract and consider the collective benefit and value of our purchasing to our local community. 

Aspects of the aims above will be explicitly evaluated in all our procurement activities.


2022/23 Responsible Procurement Areas of Focus

The Responsible Procurement Group has established clear areas of procurement-related focus for each academic year, with SMART objectives that we will report on to the UoR Procurement Board.

These areas will help us carry on the valuable work we have done in 2021/22 and streamline the work of the Responsible Procurement Group in the next academic year. Each area has SMART objectives (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound) to ensure that year-on-year progress is clear.

Our 2022/23 Areas of Focus are:

  • Scope 3 Emissions
  • Ethical Workforce
  • Local Community Engagement
  • UoR as Responsible Consumers
You can find more information about our 2022/23 Responsible Procurement Areas of Focus here.


What we are doing in Procurement


The University of Reading won the Big Sustainability Awards' Carbon Reduction Project of the Year in October 2021. Procurement was involved in this project which was funded by Salix Finance, along with colleagues from the Sustainability team, to help the University of Reading to reduce its carbon emissions. 

The University has reduced its carbon emissions by 40%, consistently achieved a 50% recycling rate and has diverted the majority of waste from landfill to energy from waste alternatives. In addition, our main campus has achieved the Green Flag award 12 times in a row for its outstanding green space. Procurement works closely with the Sustainability and Waste Management teams to ensure the best commitments from our suppliers.

We have also invested significantly into improving new build standards ensuring that they meet BREAAM 'Very Good' or better, whilst incorporating low carbon technologies where possible. To ensure the equipment in buildings is as efficient as possible, Procurement has worked with the Estates team to have a programme of works to identify inefficient equipment, such as fume cupboards, and upgrading them to improve energy efficiency.

We are continually improving our environmental performance with the use of both an Environmental Management System (EMS) and an Energy Management System (EnMS) certified to ISO14001 and ISO50001 respectively. The EMS covers aspects such as emissions to air, water use, waste and recycling, energy, transport and travel and use of raw materials. Procurement is represented on the boards overseeing the EMS and our overall University Environmental Sustainability policy. 

We have moved to responsible disposal and recycling of IT equipment in partnership with our Digital Technology Systems team. 

We are making conscious efforts to reduce travel and associated carbon emissions in travel to and from campus and for business travel as part of the University Sustainable Travel Policy.


We have minimum supplier buying standards for workers' and animal welfare, waste management in our tender evaluations.

We are affiliated with the following organisations to help us improve our responsible procurement practices:
  • Stonewall - committed to creating an inclusive workplace and supplier base. The University has achieved a prestigious silver award in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) 2022 for excellence in LGBT+ inclusion including initiatives to promote trans and bi inclusion.
  • Fair Trade - committed to paying fair prices to workers in our supply chain
  • Electronics Watch - committed to collaboration with civil society monitors in production regions to protect the rights of workings in their supply chains
Engaging with Suppliers in our Community

The Procurement team is working with the UoR Community Action Partnership (CAP), Reading Business Network and the Federation of Small businesses to allow us to interact with and listen to our community as we develop our responsible procurement plans.

We are also consciously working with more local and SME suppliers in Catering. 


Your Role as a Supplier 

As a supplier, you have a crucial role to play in helping us achieve our responsible procurement targets. We aim to allocate approximately 10% of the total weighting of tender evaluation scores to responsible procurement criteria. We review responsible procurement practices with our suppliers at contract award, regular supplier review meetings and contract renewal stages.

Suppliers must also commit to our Supplier Code of Conduct which includes social, environmental and ethical compliance requirements.

Environmental & Energy Policy

The goods or services you supply will impact our environmental and energy performance and it's your responsibility to ensure this is managed in accordance with University Environmental and Energy Policy. It is important that you make all staff working on behalf of the University aware of this policy and ensure they know that they must comply with our EnMS and EMS.

Furthermore, if the environment and energy procedures are followed, it reduces the risk of non-compliance with environmental legislation and helps us to protect the environment.

Where we are purchasing equipment that may have a significant impact on the University's energy usage, the tender will partly be evaluated on the basis of energy performance. To find out more about the University's relevant policies and management systems, visit our Sustainability web pages.

If you require further information on your role as a supplier in terms of sustainability, details of our policies and management systems, please email

Modern Slavery Policy

The University of Reading is committed to improving our practices to combat slavery and human trafficking. The University of Reading Modern Slavery Statement sets out the steps the University has undertaken, and is continuing to take to ensure that modern slavery or human trafficking is not taking place within our organisation or supply chain. It is expected that our suppliers will also commit to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking.


We encourage suppliers to help us improve our management systems and purchasing processes and we welcome suggestions on how this can be done. We look forward to working with suppliers via our new eMarketplace in 2022.


Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI)

The University of Reading has achieved the prestigious silver award in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) 2022 for excellence in LGBT+ inclusion including initiatives to promote trans and bi inclusion. 

The Workplace Equality Index is a benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in the workplace. Participating employers report, through a written submission and portfolio of evidence, on work by many individuals across the organisation covering:

    • LGBT+ experiences of the employee lifecycle
    • relating to HR policies
    • our work with and support for our students
    • the activities of our LGBT+ Staff Network group
    • our LGBT+ allies and role models
    • support shown by senior leadership
    • data monitoring
    • our community engagement
    • our work in procurement reaching out to and influencing other organisations. 
Staff from across the organisation also complete an anonymous survey about their experiences of diversity and inclusion at work in relation to our LGBT staff.

Stonewall says that “entering the Index is an important step towards LGBT+ inclusion. It signals to staff that the University of Reading takes inclusion seriously and gives the University a solid foundation to build on. We look forward to sharing where we have identified strengths and gaps, and supporting the University to develop an action plan for future years.

Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Allán Laville says “I am delighted that we have been awarded a silver award by Stonewall. We look to build on this in coming years and will continue to listen to our LGBT+ community to develop LGBT+ inclusion in a meaningful way.  I encourage all staff to get involved; by participating in events or training such as those held for LGBT+ History Month and working to become an ally to our LGBT+ colleagues and students.”

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