UCC by its nature procures a large amount of goods and services, and the environmental and wider sustainability implications of such expenditure can be significant. This is a great opportunity for the University to reduce the negative impacts of its purchasing decisions by implementing a systematic green or sustainable procurement policy and process. This policy would outline a series of environmentally, ethically and socially- conscious purchasing practices and reiterate the University’s commitment to sustainability through the support of green, responsible, and potentially local businesses. Furthermore, owing to the scale of the procurement, such a system (along with similar action by other public procurers) can affect real change in the marketplace resulting in great availability and more competitive pricing of environmental preferable products.
UCC’s procurement strategy 2017-2022 highlights that the University should “provide leadership on sustainable and corporate social responsibilities” as one of four strategic objectives over the next five years. Read more here. UCC’s Procurement Office work together with the Green Campus Committee to identify potential for sustainability inclusion in upcoming contract renewals and to determine what criteria UCC should apply when assessing the sustainability commitments of contractors and suppliers.
As part of UCC’s submission to the STARS programme, full inventories of all cleaning and janitorial supplies and all food and beverage purchases were undertaken. The inventories revealed that 95% of all expenditures on cleaning and janitorial products that are third party certified to meet recognized sustainability standards and that 40% of all food and beverage expenditure is on products that are third party verified under one or more recognized food and beverage sustainability standards or Local & Community-Based. These inventories can be accessed via UCC’s online STARS submission report.
Having previously divested its Trust of fossil fuels, in 2018 the University went a step further in signing the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment. Signatories to the PRI commit to only invest positively across a range of sustainability criteria and including ethical and governance considerations. The University will report annually to the PRI on its investment portfolio. Currently over 70% of the University’s Trust is invested in what would be considered “positive sustainability investments” for example ethical global equity fund, Irish energy efficiency fund, and renewable energy funds.