An NHS Trust has launched a sustainable procurement strategy to encourage its 2300 staff to develop good procurement practices and assist in the development of ethical supply chains.
The South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is fully committed to being a socially responsible organisation, introducing measures that reduce or offset its environmental impact. This includes encouraging all staff who are involved in the acquisition and disposal of supplies to take environmental and social factors into account in purchasing decisions.
The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services for Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield as well as some specialist services for the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber.
The NHS is the largest single purchaser of food in the country, spending £500 million a year on meals for patients, staff and visitors. The NHS also spends £20 million a year on products and services and consumes over £410 million worth of energy annually.
The detailed strategy sets out how the Trust can create sustainable procurement practices to make the best use of resources. This will not only help ensure that goods, services and utilities are value for money, but it will also generate wider benefits to the organisation, society and the economy. It is hoped these practices will also minimise damage to the environment, or indeed improve it.
The strategy highlights the fact that for nearly every item the Trust buys there is a sustainable alternative and staff will be educated on how to evaluate the pros and cons of products and services before making a purchase. Questions staff are being asked to consider include ‘can the need be met in a more sustainable way, can the product serve any useful purpose after its initial use and is the product/service available to buy locally?’
The Trust is also committed to using materials, equipment and procedures that pose the least risk to the environment. The environmental principles detailed in the strategy will be adopted for purchasing products, minimising waste, efficient use of energy and water and ensuring that waste is recycled wherever practicable and disposed of appropriately.
The Trust’s head of procurement Tony Cooper said, "The Trust has set out its ambition to be a good corporate citizen and the sustainable procurement strategy ensures that environmental and social factors are always taken into account in purchasing decisions. Sustainable procurement includes looking at what products are made of, where they come from, and who has made them. It’s also about considering whether the item is necessary at all. Ultimately it’s about minimising the environmental and social impacts of the purchases we make by using ethical supply chains. "