Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
Guy's Campus ;

King's tops the charts with ethical and sustainable procurement practices

Ripple Effects
Veronica Daly

Chief Procurement Officer

14 June 2024

The publication of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings is to sustainability advocates what the release day of tickets are to ‘Swifties’. When the King’s Climate & Sustainability Team sent me the link to the results, I quickly clicked on it and did a little Taylor dance that I didn’t have to ‘Shake It Off’ and reassure myself that next year we would celebrate.

But it is not going to be a ‘Cruel Summer’ because King’s have a new number one hit – securing a joint top spot in the world for SDG12, Responsible Consumption and Production, which charts an increase of 15 positions since 2022.

This recognises the success that has been achieved by the University’s commitment to monitoring and promoting ethical and sustainable supply chains when we contract for goods and services, including construction works. King’s Procurement works closely with staff across the organisation to minimise harm to people and planet as a consequence of what we buy, how we use it and how we dispose of it. We do this by:

  • Applying selection criteria that ensure only those suppliers who have not breached social or environmental regulations can participate in our tender exercises;
  • Evaluating suppliers who wish to be awarded one of our contracts, in accordance with King’s sustainability objectives, including how they intend to manage any waste produced by their good or service;
  • Awarding more points to companies who can offer social value to our communities when delivering the contract;
  • Regularly auditing our supply chain to assure against risks such as modern slavery;
  • Working with colleagues across King’s to find alternatives to the use of polluting materials such as plastics; and
  • Supporting colleagues who manage our contractors and suppliers to ensure they deliver on their promises in relation to sustainability and other outcomes.

Purchasing and Procurement is a key objective in King's Climate & Sustainability Action Plan, including targets to reduce the emissions from our supply chain which form the majority of our carbon emissions (as is common for most businesses). We therefore plan to focus on this aspect of sustainable procurement over the next few years; working with colleagues to raise awareness that what we buy, where we buy it from, how it is packaged, used and disposed of is critical to King’s achieving its net zero and sustainability targets.

Travel booking is also managed by the Procurement Team and we have been working with colleagues in King’s Climate & Sustainability to develop a Sustainable Business Travel Policy. Over the past year we have engaged with the King’s community through a series of debates to understand how we can introduce more sustainable travel and reduce aviation emissions while at the same time enabling their research, work and careers. This engagement has proved invaluable and we shall be launching the new policy, with improved travel booking processes and tools, in the autumn.

‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ with the use of unnecessary polluting materials such as plastics, poor waste disposal practices or contracting with companies who do not protect the welfare of their staff. The Socially Responsible Procurement Policy is being reviewed at the moment to ensure we are ‘Fearless’ in our ambitions and we know that across King’s staff are ‘Ready For It’.

Read the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Ripple Effects

Ripple Effects is the blog from King's Climate & Sustainability, showcasing perspectives from across the King's community.

Latest news