Date Category
13th October 2022 Blog

Responsible procurement has become an integral aspect at the forefront of purchasing activity. Organisations are more aware than ever of the importance of sustainability and social responsibility in procurement.

SUMS Group’s Commitment to Responsible Procurement

SUMS Group is committed to ensuring all purchasing activity that we are able to control or influence is of no detriment to the environment and causes no harm to others. Responsible procurement is a main priority and we endeavour to tender goods and services for our members with sustainability as a central value. We regularly monitor our procurement activity to take into account the positive and negative impacts imposed at a local community level, as well as upon the vast global community throughout our supply chains.

Our approach to responsible procurement is two-fold. We strive to minimise both direct and indirect carbon emissions within our operations, and to protect the safety and well-being of all members of our supply chains, from start to finish.

Protecting the Environment

SUMS Group recognises that in the last two decades, sustainability has shifted to be firmly on the agenda for UK Higher Education institutions, with most universities committing to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have implemented several policies and strategies which outline our dedication to embedding responsible procurement across the procurement process and all wider activities.

SUMS Group Sustainability Policy

Our Sustainability Policy pledges to identify the environmental impact of our operations and seek to mitigate the negative impacts, whilst remaining economically stable and fulfilling financial obligations. We strive to develop a greater understanding of our carbon emissions, and to support our members in making sense of their negative impacts on the environment, advising them on best practices to minimise this.

Sustain Supply Chain Code of Conduct (SSCCoC)

SUMS Group abides by the SSCCoC which requires our supply chains to acknowledge the climate emergency and to put plans in place to ensure their operations run responsibly. SSCCoC is embedded into our tendering process to certify that sustainability is consistent amongst all of our frameworks and purchases.

Partnership With EAUC

Another approach to ensuring SUMS Group meets the increasing calls-to-action coming from staff and students is our partnership with EAUC, the sector leader in sustainability. This partnership joins expert consultants with sustainability specialists, to provide our members with expertise in key facets of sustainability such as:

  •        Leadership, staff and governance
  •        Estates, community and operations
  •        Partnerships, society and engagement
  •        Learning, research and student engagement

“Access to sustainability expertise will help institutions respond to the very real challenges facing our society – climate change, labour abuses and supply chain waste – and deliver meaningful change with lasting impact.”

Joel Arber, SUMS Group Managing Director

Scope 3 Reports

In response to the need for action in reducing carbon emissions, SUPC, part of SUMS Group, has updated the Scope 3 reports provided to members. These reports record and attribute institutions’ carbon emissions which occur through their supply and value chain. They enable an institution to demonstrate and commitment to responsible procurement by:

  • Understanding their carbon emissions and identifying key areas for reduction
  • Demonstrating progress to date in reducing their carbon emissions in the supply chain from year to year
  • Communicating progress to stakeholders in procurement, estates and sustainability functions

SUPC’s upgraded Scope 3 reports have already provided value to members, such as the University of Reading:

“SUPC refined the Scope 3 Report to provide an impressive document that gave us greater insight than we were able to get elsewhere. The University of Reading has ambitious plans in the area of net zero carbon emissions, and insight like this from SUPC provides a useful foundation to help us assess and improve our own performance.”

Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Director, Estates, University of Reading

Protecting our Workers

As well as environmental sustainability, SUMS Group also acknowledges the importance of social responsibility, and the need to protect the safety and well-being of all our staff, members, wider community and workers within our supply chains. We have put in place an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, Modern Slavery Statement as well as  Modern Slavery Guidance for Suppliers and Modern Slavery Evaluation Guide. These documents provide regulations and guidance to guarantee our and our members’ operations comply with all modern slavery legislation.

Affiliation with Electronics Watch

A crucial aspect in ensuring an institution is fulfilling their commitments to responsible procurement is the protection of human rights throughout its supply chains. For this reason, SUPC is fully affiliated with Electronics Watch on behalf of its members.

Electronics Watch is an independent organisation that coordinates worker-driven monitoring to protect the rights of workers in electronics supply chains, and to remedy human rights and safety violations within them. SUPC’s affiliation allows members access to a platform for public buyers to collaborate through capacity building and the provision of responsible procurement tools.

Capacity building

  • Webinars and training
  • Case studies
  • Help with strategy development and support with market engagement and supplier dialogue

Responsible procurement tools

  • Contract conditions
  • Product and disclosure forms
  • Guidance and instructions
  • Risk assessments

SUMS Group’s values align with those of Electronics Watch and through our affiliation, we aim to support our members commitment to responsible procurement by protecting the rights of workers in supply chains and influencing change in the industry.

Tools and Resources

To implement these ideas and values in our work, and to provide members with the best instruments for responsible procurement, we have a plethora of tools and resources both publicly available and available exclusively to members. These include:

Our Mission

All of these commitments shape our approach to responsible procurement. SUMS Group implement these practices in all of our operations and embed them in our tenders. We stand by Higher Education Institutions in their pledges for NetZero carbon emissions, and support them in implementing strategies to achieve this.

For more information on our approach to sustainability, and to access the resources to help you on your journey to responsible procurement, click here.