At UCL we see our suppliers as key partners in delivering responsible procurement. We have adopted the innovative ‘NETpositive Supplier Engagement’ tool to support this ambition.
The term ‘NETpositive’ is a new concept which defines the ambition for businesses to contribute more to society, the environment and the global economy than they take out. We believe that our procurement practices and processes offer an opportunity to maximize this potential.
What is the NETpositive tool?
The tool is an online platform which creates bespoke sustainability action plans for our suppliers based on their business operations. It allows us to view their plans, so that we can support our suppliers in becoming more sustainable.
The tool is free for suppliers to use and is used in collaboration with other universities and higher education organizations.
The tool was launched in September 2017 at UCL and is being rolled out in 2 stages:
- Firstly the tool will capture UCL’s tier 1 suppliers (direct suppliers).
- Following this we will engage with tier 2 suppliers (suppliers of our suppliers) in selected priority categories. This will map out UCL’s supply chain and manufacturing locations where we have influence over. We will be able to address and reform these selected supply chains.
Going forward all new prospective suppliers will have to complete an action plan as part of a new supplier request process.
Procurement managers at UCL have been trained on how to use the tool, and it has been embedded into their job descriptions. We continue to engage our suppliers in training opportunities for their staff.
- Benefits to UCL
Because the tool allows us to view our supplier’s sustainability action plans, including whether actions have been completed, we are able to:
- Understand where suppliers can improve sustainable practice and highlight achievements.
- Undergo detailed investigation of our supply chains in areas of concern e.g the Modern Day Slavery act or the New Criminal Finances Act 2017.
- Benefits to UCL staff
The tool will be useful for contract managers monitoring the performance of suppliers. Managers will gain an insight into the operation and highlight areas for improvement, and be able to use action plans for ongoing contract management.
The tool is not limited to procurement services, and UCL will identify departments and projects that could be interested in utilizing the tool.
- Benefits to UCL suppliers
The tool helps our suppliers to:
- Create a simple, free sustainability action plan for their business
- Communicate their specific sustainability challenges and opportunities back to UCL. This data will enable us to support suppliers to address their sustainability issues.
- It takes a supplier less than half an hour to provide their details, which will create their bespoke sustainability plan.
If you are a supplier and you want to find out more, head to our Procurement pages.