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The University is delighted to announce the launch of the Finance Transformation Programme’s Strategic Procurement and Purchasing (SPP) project. Whilst a bit of a mouthful, the SPP aims to support sustainably-informed purchasing choices, whilst maximising the potential of sustainable procurement to help secure a zero-carbon future. 

The SPP project will enable the University to buy its goods, works and services in a manner that improves the environmental, societal and economic impact on spend. This could mean enabling choices which have a reduced negative effect, or an increased positive effect, on human health and the environment, when compared with competing choices that serve the same purpose.

The SPP was developed following a 2019 review of how the University undertakes its procurement and purchasing. With the assistance of global sustainability experts UL, the review highlighted that our current operating model limits opportunities to understand, manage and measure the University’s scope three supply chain emissions. Through benchmarking against organisations from both the Higher Education and private sectors, we have developed a roadmap for Cambridge’s approach to sustainable procurement performance. The process has been informed by peers such as the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. 

The SPP is now working to: 

  • Align with peers such as Oxford in the mid- to short term with a view to aiming higher and adopting approaches deployed in the private sector.
  • Utilise ISO20400 to help integrate sustainability within purchasing and procurement, and related decisions and processes.
  • Develop a long-term, University-wide sustainable procurement strategy as well as proactive guidance on integrating sustainable procurement into buying activities.

Sustainable procurement is integral to meeting the University’s sustainability targets and we are proud of this step towards the future we want to see.

Head of Group Procurement Helen Wain, commented:

“The SPP and its approach to sustainable procurement is crucial to ensuring the University meets its sustainability aims and that of Cambridge Zero, the climate initiative helping the University to build a zero-carbon future. The University has already made great strides with its sustainable food policy which launched in 2016 and achieved a 33% reduction in carbon emissions per kilogram of food.

Now that the SPP has launched, we are looking forward to delivering such tangible examples where our more sustainably-informed purchasing choices will reduce our carbon footprint, making a significant contribution the University's overall sustainability goals.” 

 Written by Nicola Lawrence, Communications Manager – Finance Transformation Programme