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Sustainable procurement considers the broader economic, environmental and social cost of purchases made by UNSW

Sustainable procurement at UNSW

Sustainable procurement at UNSW means that when buying goods and services we consider:

  • strategies to avoid unnecessary consumption and manage demand
  • ways to minimise the environmental impacts over the life of goods and services from 'cradle to grave'
  • the social responsibility practices of our suppliers, including compliance with legislative obligations to employees, the community, supply chain management and international treaties
  • value for money over the lifetime of goods and services, not just the up-front price.

The University encourages significant and strategic purchases to be made through the centralised strategic procurement team and, whenever possible, for them to be made online using e-procurement. This allows UNSW to more accurately measure and manage efficient material and services use, avoid unnecessary expenditure and calculate carbon emissions.

UNSW continues to pursue the use of electronic tools for procurement, and is building a suite of purchasing analysis reports and analytics to enable it to gain insights into the purchasing profile of the University. This should assist in identifying opportunities to understand and track purchasing behaviours, areas of spending and product categories.

Work in progress in 2016

A new Waste Tender is currently in preparation and will be implemented in 2017.
Sustainability has partnered with Strategic Procurement (Finance), and Health and Safety Unit to incorporate resource management and minimisation into decision making processes. Learn more about our procurement procedure.

UNSW Sustainability and Facilities Management work with Strategic Procurement (Finance) and Health and Safety Unit to incorporate energy and water efficiency requirements, including minimum 4-Star Energy Rating for any new equipment.

A review is underway to update minimum environmental standards for current and future lease agreements for vendors on campus to incorporate waste minimisation strategies.

Sustainability features of current supply agreements

Stationery and office supplies

UNSW's preferred stationery supplier provides a range of environmentally preferred goods as a 'Planet Friendly' sub-brand. Items include copy paper and other paper products with recycled content, remanufactured laser toner cartridges, janitorial equipment, Fair Trade teas, coffees and hot chocolate.

The supplier also encourages the return of their shipping packaging for reuse. A small order handling fee has also been agreed to encourage staff to consolidate stationery orders and reduce unnecessary delivery trips to campus.

Office furniture

UNSW's preferred supplier for office chairs offers a range of chairs certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia. The supplier is currently undergoing certification of an Environmental Management System compliant with ISO 14001.

Woollen fabric standards have been chosen. Woollen fabric is known for its long life and ease of cleaning as well as being a natural fibre capable of being recycled. Sustainable practices are conducted in the processing and manufacturing of these fabrics.

Travel / video conferencing

UNSW offers high quality video conferencing facilities as an alternative to staff travelling for meetings.

Residential catering

UNSW has negotiated achievable environmental and sustainability standards become part of our Residential Catering Agreement. This includes initiatives on:

  • water conservation
  • waste disposal and recycling
  • cooking oil, including reprocessing for bio-diesel
  • food waste, including compost and food rescue
  • packaging
  • economical use of equipment (e.g. fridges in high functioning order), use of sustainable consumables (e.g. light globes), economical use of utilities and use of locally sourced and seasonal produce.

Green Print Centre

UNSW's Green Print Centre is our onsite printing centre providing staff and students with a variety of print solutions. The print centre has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including reduction in paper use, as well as recycling of consumables and paper. A range of papers certified by the sustainable forestry networks are also stocked.

Campus cleaning contracts

UNSW insists that all cleaning contractors implement and maintain a Green Cleaning Regime. Some of the requirements include:

  • using methods that reduce environmental impact in relation to chemicals and equipment used; cleaning techniques; and waste and energy management practices
  • not using any ozone-depleting substances, and ensuring that hazardous chemicals are only used where no viable alternatives exist (these must be approved by UNSW prior to use)
  • using the minimum amount of power and utilities, and minimising resource consumption and waste generation including the use of chemical dispensing systems and colour-coding systems. Our contractors are required to keep abreast of emerging developments in industry best practice with regard to sustainability and expected to propose innovations which will further improve sustainability performance.