Sustainable procurement key to greener universities

30 July 2009

31 July 2009 | Helen Gilbert

Plans to develop a sustainable procurement centre of excellence for universities have been unveiled.

The project, which would be led by the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium in partnership with the Association of University Procurement Officers, is one of the measures outlined to help the higher education sector reduce its carbon emissions.

Under the proposals, unveiled in a joint consultation between The Higher Education Funding Council for England and representative bodies Universities UK and GuildHE, the centre would help universities embed sustainable procurement into their standard procedures, practices and policies. This would be achieved by:

• Building capacity in sustainable procurement • Developing capability in influencing supply chains • Addressing process issues • Developing measurement and monitoring tools • Communicating a full understanding of carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental impacts, in the specification, production, delivery and disposal of goods and services purchased by the higher education sector.

The Consultation on a Carbon Reduction Target and Strategy for Higher Education in England focuses on areas that offer the greatest potential for carbon reduction. These include energy use within the estate, transport, water consumption, waste and procurement.

Lord Mandelson, secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: "Universities can play a vital role in our economic recovery, especially in advancing a strategy for real and lasting change in order to reduce our carbon footprint. The results of this consultation will be awaited with enormous interest."

The closing date for responses to the consultation is Friday 16 October 2009.

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