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Sustainable production and consumption

As a large organisation, the way we procure goods and services and the way we invest our funds can have a significant impact on the world around us.

We want to make sure that we use sustainably minded sources and that we consume resources in a sustainable way.

We're building strong relationships with our suppliers, so that we can reduce our environmental impact together.

Procurement and supplier relationships

We recognise the need to be responsible in our choice of suppliers and understanding of the life cycle of what we buy. The principles behind our procurement policies aim to:

  • Appoint environmentally responsible suppliers where practical
  • Take a long-term partnership approach with key suppliers to reduce our joint environmental impact
  • Endeavour to purchase goods and services with the least environmental impact during their life cycle
  • Reduce paper-based transactions within the purchase cycle
  • Support local businesses and the economy wherever possible
  • The University is a member of the North Eastern Universities' Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) who, together with Sustainable Procurement Centre of Excellence, produced a NEUPC SPCE Sustainable Procurement Policy (PDF , 78kb). We subscribe to the principles included in this document.
  • Our York Print Plus project replaced personal printers with multi-functional devices shared by offices to reduce paper, consumables and power usage
  • Our business travel service SLA encourages the use of a single supplier to enable us to accurately measure our carbon footprint from business travel
  • Our e-purchasing system is reducing paper transactions and building up a chosen supplier base with known sustainability credentials
  • Our Design and Print team use FSC certified paper and water-based inks for their printed materials.

If you are a member of staff, you may also find the information contained in our sustainable procurement guidelines useful.

If you are a current or potential supplier you should be aware the University encourages all organisations to register with the NETPositives Engagement tool.

Food procurement

With a large number of food outlets, we have an obligation to deliver food and dispose of its waste responsibly.

  • Our outlets offer a range of products based on raw materials from ethical and sustainable sources
  • All our fresh eggs are 'Lion Branded' free range
  • We purchase most of our raw materials from regional suppliers
  • Most of our meat comes fresh from the region, from suppliers demonstrating the highest animal welfare standards
  • Our fish comes from suppliers following the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. We do not purchase endangered species.
  • We're working with local suppliers to reduce food packaging

Commercial Services sustainability

Certified products

We work closely with the Students' Union to improve the availability of Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance products across our campus.

  • All of our catering outlets serve Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance coffee and tea as well as a choice of Fairtrade juices, confectionery and cakes
  • All of our coffee vending machines stock Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance products
  • Campus Nisa outlets stock a wide range of Fairtrade groceries

The NETpositive tool

Working with NETPostive Futures, we've introduced a tool for suppliers to generate their own bespoke Sustainability Action Plan. It's free, easy to use and allows organisations to:

  • Undertake a simple sustainability analysis of business impacts
  • Create a bespoke plan to become more sustainable, in-line with Provider Organisation aspirations
  • Find supporting, business-relevant sustainability information 
  • Demonstrate progress against their individual action plans
  • Use the plan to communicate what they are actually doing, not just what they're committed to at a policy level

Sign up to NETpositives

The Yorcup scheme

The Yorcup scheme combines the convenience of a disposable cup with the environmental benefits of a reusable one. Available to purchase from any outlet across campus, it can be kept and refilled to save paying the latte levy, or returned to be cleaned and reused. Simply hold onto the sleeve and present it next time to be given a clean, reused cup.

  • In its first 7 months, the latte levy raised over £22,000 to be reinvested in sustainable initiatives across campus and in the same period, Yorcup saved 72,300 single use cups from going to landfill.

Find out more about Yorcup