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Sustainable Procurement

Icon depicting a hand holding a leaf and a pound signThe ICR’s supply chain is varied, consisting of facilities services, laboratory equipment, laboratory consumables, construction materials and many other types of products. The environmental and social risks and opportunities from such a diverse supply chain are complex and wide-ranging.

It is important for the ICR to tackle these and take a focused approach in doing so – particularly because approximately 90% of our climate impacts are from procurement. Decarbonising the goods and services we buy will not be easy, but it is now a priority, and we are ready for the challenge.  

The ICR is part of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), who have mapped out social related risks from issues such as child labour, modern slavery, illegal work practices and others. We also comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including publishing our assessment of slavery risks in our operations and supply chain.

The ICR is also a member of Electronics Watch – the independent monitoring organisation that aims to improve workers’ conditions in global electronics supply chains. This affiliation and our ongoing collaboration with the LUPC, fellow members and the wider sector will enhance our focus on responsible procurement and support work to mitigate human rights abuses in supply chains.

Supplier engagement

We are mapping our suppliers and contractors against sustainability risks – for example, identifying carbon hotspots from our purchased goods and services. We communicate the ICR’s sustainable procurement policy and guidelines to key suppliers and we are introducing sustainable procurement criteria in all competitive tenders.

We are also implementing a project to request our suppliers to provide us with supplier-specific carbon data, which will help identify where improvements can be made.

As a result, we expect that 100% of our suppliers will be aligned with our Net Zero target by 2030. We hope to make a real difference in our supply chain and support our suppliers to take the same path.

Engaging with ICR staff and students on sustainable choices

A key part of our strategy is to give all our staff necessary training and guidance so that they can make more sustainable choices to decrease their environmental and social impacts. ICR researchers, staff and students will be able to identify what is not necessary to buy and to understand the sustainable alternatives to purchase.

Facility-wise, we have been buying renewable electricity via the higher education purchasing group TEC. We will continue to make sure we purchase only 100% of our energy from reliable renewable sources.

Greener business travel

Reducing carbon emissions from business travel is an important part of our net zero target, and we provide guidance for our people to assess when it is possible to avoid business travel or take lower carbon transport modes of transport.

For example, this could include looking at sustainable transport choices such as long-distance rail instead of flying, or questioning the need for travel at all and using video conferencing, virtual meetings and other forms of technology instead.

To find out more about our plans for Sustainable Procurement at the ICR, download our Sustainable Discoveries Action Plan:

Sustainable Discoveries (PDF)