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Sustainable procurement at Kingston University

Kingston University (KU) spends approximately £60m every year on goods and services. It also provides a shared procurement service to St George's University of London (SGUL), bringing the total spend to almost £90m, with over 4,000 suppliers. Kingston University believes it is imperative that such purchasing power supports institutional strategic goals – to achieve value for money; benefit the University and student body; and benefit the environment, society and the economy, locally and globally, now and in the long-term.

Since 2014, the KU Procurement Team has put sustainability at the heart of the new institutional Procurement Policy and Strategy. The Team is committed to ensuring a balanced consideration of social, ethical, environmental and economic impacts throughout all stages of the procurement process. By May 2016, the Team achieved Level 4 of the DEFRA Flexible Framework, from a position of Level 0 just two years prior!  It aims to achieve Level 5 – the highest level – and to support other university procurement teams to do the same.


Fair Trade campus logoKingston University is a Fairtrade university – this means we sell Fairtrade products in all our outlets, including all the coffee and tea we sell on our campuses.

Sustainable procurement in action

As a result of our sustainable procurement processes, since 2015/16 the University has done the following:

  • Let a new removals and relocations contract specifically targeted on re-use. This ensures all furniture fittings and equipment no longer required by the University are first sent to re-use rather than recycling, in line with the principles of the Waste Hierarchy.
  • Let a new water coolers contract to replace, where possible, the existing plastic-bottle-fed water coolers with mains-fed water, and replacing plastic disposable cups with reusable cups.
  • Let a new stationery contract to a supplier, offering 223 sustainable features (the highest of all bidders) across the top 100 purchased products and a ‘sustainable basket of goods'. This encourages staff to purchase items with a sustainability feature and gives buyers the option to convert their order to sustainable alternatives on checkout if not already chosen
  • Switched cleaning products to a more concentrated version. These are still non-toxic, biodegradable and Ecolabel certified, and because they are more concentrated than our previously used product, they require less packaging, fewer deliveries and result in less waste.
  • Asked companies tendering for new waste and bus contracts to show support for student employment and skills by providing work experience, learning materials, and opportunities to visit facilities to students
  • Launched a new contract for waterless condensers to replace previous water-consuming models. As well as eliminating water use, the risk of spills is removed.
  • Introduced and rolled out a supplier sustainability tool which will help us understand and monitor how our suppliers are managing our full supply chains. This helps us identify sustainable and ethical improvements, enabling us to work with suppliers to address opportunities and comply with the Modern Slavery Act
  • Commissioned a study which found that in 2014/15, Kingston University generated £921.1 million gross value added (GVA) and supported 12,500 jobs throughout the UK.
  • Procured a new travel contract to more accurately measure the Institution's carbon footprint.
  • Become affiliate members of Electronics Watch and built their specific terms and conditions into our contracts.
  • Been actively involved in London University Purchasing Consortium's Responsible Procurement Group to help promote sustainability within the Consortium's new framework agreements.

Find out more about sustainable procurement

Contact us

Estates and Sustainability
Services Building
Penrhyn Road Campus
Kingston Upon Thames
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)20 8417 6520 
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