APUC Responsible Procurement Policy


This policy details APUC's commitment to responsible procurement and embedding its principles into everything we do. It outlines the vision, scope and principles of the policy as well as detailing how these will be maintained and monitored.The policy is linked to APUCs Operational Procurement Strategy and Action Plan. It is also aligned with the Scottish University and College Sectors Supply Chain Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy (2022 to 2030) and as well as wider Scottish public sector and UK Higher and Further Education sustainability such as Fair Work First and Net Zero.


The Core Vision of APUC is "to maximise the value of Scotland's investment in further and higher education by working in partnership with institutions to support and enable sustainable innovation in procurement and shared service optimisation". As part of this APUC aims to be a leader in driving forward a responsible procurement agenda with a broad scope covering aspects of social, ethical, human rights and environmental sustainability impacts. APUC aims to deliver best value for member institutions whilst being committed to embedding sustainability into its procurement activity.


APUC will carry out procurement activity with the aim of minimising any negative environmental, ethical, economic or social impact, and promoting positive impacts and change, throughout the whole life cycle and supply chain, in order to fulfil current needs without lessening the ability of future generations to do the same. APUC will also seek to promote best practice with regards to responsible procurement to members. APUC shall strive to bring about positive impacts on supply chain sustainability, reaching as far into its supply chain as reasonably possible. The Responsible Procurement resources within APUC are there to both support the APUC core team in addressing these matters, but also with a strong focus on supporting all procurement staff and other stakeholders based in member institutions, and other relevant sector / cross-sector groups, in maximising effectiveness in this area.


The guiding principles of this policy are that APUC shall:
  • Ensure its agreements remain fully compliant with all relevant procurement legislation with a strong focus on sustainable considerations wherever practicable and legal.
  • Comply with, and support, the Sustainable Procurement Duty detailed in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and Scottish Procurement Policy Notes (SPPN).
  • Embed the objectives of the HE/FE Supply Chain Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy (SCCEES) 2022 to 2030.
  • Apply sourcing strategies that maximise social value and deliver community benefits wherever feasible.
  • Actively apply, promote and support the implementation of Fair Work First.
  • Promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion through procurement activity and meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
  • Promote Fair and Ethical trade and aim to ensure workers' rights in supply chains. Including developing, disseminating, and requesting compliance with the Sustain Supply Chain Code of Conduct.
  • Address the Climate and Ecological Emergency as a strategic priority including working towards a target of net zero emissions by 2030 and maintain a significant focus on assisting our members institutions in addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  • Promote and develop net-zero options on Framework Agreements.
  • Apply due diligence and develop a full understanding of the level of supply chain sustainability within its supply base to mitigate supply chain sustainability risks and protect against shocks.
  • Manage tendering and lotting strategies that ensure fair access to contracting opportunities for businesses of all appropriate sizes and organisation types wherever relevant.
  • Manage continuous improvement in responsible procurement as well as seek out and implement best practice with regards to responsible procurement.
  • Maximise the creation and use of Circular Economy Solutions.
  • Foster product and/or process innovation through supply chain collaboration.
  • Promote adherence to the United Nations (UN) 10 principles of the Global Compact.
  • Work In partnership with UKUPC consortia to deliver sustainable Framework Agreements meeting the needs of client institutions whilst working towards achieving all relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Actively take steps to reduce the risk of Corruption in our consortia, our members and our supply chains.
  • Engage with our suppliers to ensure they are taking all reasonable steps to minimise negative impact and maximise improvements in relation to all relevant Environmental factors.
  • Ensure effective procedures are in place to promote and monitor Human Rights and aim for the eradication of slavery and forced labour throughout all influenceable tiers of our supply chains.

Monitoring and Reporting

APUC will seek to monitor delivery of sustainability outcomes throughout the life of its Framework agreements through effective contract and supplier management.APUC publishes an Annual Procurement Report which summarises its procurement activity over the previous 12 months including extensive reporting on responsible procurement. This report is linked to the APUC Procurement Strategy and aligns to this policy. The collaborative team is tracking their responsible procurement activities internally and reporting on responsible procurement activity is delivered to APUC members through quarterly Procurement Strategy Group meetings.


Angus Warren
APUC Chief Executive

Review Date
November 2024