Sustainable Procurement or Supply Chain

Be inspired by our three finalists

The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on 28 November.

ARIA Bridal - Designing in sustainability from the start

Sustainable bridal fashion with an ethical, open and transparent supply chain

Aria Bridal UK is an innovative, sustainable bridal label for brides who dare to be different. Each one-off design is created in direct collaboration with the brides, by designer maker Helen O’Sullivan in her home-based studio in south Wales. All of the designs are then made using sustainable materials such as hemp, organic cotton, organic silk, bamboo and upcycled/reclaimed materials.

Bridal design much like the mainstream fashion industry, is by default unsustainable. Gowns cost a fortune to be worn once and then placed in the cupboard for the rest of its life. Gowns are most commonly manufactured using unsustainable fibres with little regard for workers conditions and safety across the globe. Aria Bridal UK aims to address this by ensuring that not only are environmentally friendly materials used but that they are also sourced and manufactured responsibly and from local supplier.

Aria Bridal has:

  • created an online interactive map of her supply chain including fabrics and components tracing each product used all along the supply chain from wholesaler to factory to the field.
  • developed an annual environmental policy, which highlights Aria Bridal UK’s achievements to date but just as important the goals for the next 12 months.
  • developed a document outlining how the company currently meets the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • balanced short-term needs and wants of brides/customers without depleting resources for long-term well-being and sustainability.

Aberystwyth University - BEACON More taste, less salt, healthier lives

Developing a natural flavour enhancer from a by-product of the food industry

Eating too much salt causes high blood pressure, which leads to strokes and heart disease. In the UK we eat around 8.1g/person/day, compared to a recommended maximum of 6g. However, around 80% of the salt we eat is already in the foods that we buy, rather than salt we add to it ourselves.

An additional problem for the food industry is what to do with waste streams. Making Quorn™ products results in large volumes of liquid, which is currently disposed of via the sewage network.

The BEACON team at Aberystwyth University used biorefining processes to extract umami-taste compounds from Quorn processing liquid, which was then added to foods like cheese, ready meals and Quorn products, and taste tested. The project team demonstrated that a 15-40% reduction in the salt content of a range of food products was possible, without negatively impacting its taste. We have therefore both reused a food processing liquid that would otherwise be wasted, and contributed to health and well-being.

This project contributes directly to a Healthier Wales and also to a Globally Responsible Wales. The Stroke Association estimate that 7,400 people in Wales have a stroke each year, that there are 66,000 stroke survivors living in Wales, and yet 70% of strokes could be prevented if we adopted healthier lifestyles. Quorn are now investigating the business and commercial scope for treating their left over liquid at the scale required by their manufacturing plants (500-700 million litres/year). Ultimately this could lead to widespread use of this compound within the food industry, in Wales and further afield; Quorn estimate that if scaled up the process could generate around 10,000 tonnes of flavour enhancer.

This work was supported by InnovateUK and was a collaboration with several commercial partners. BEACON is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government.

WRAP Cymru – Public Sector Sustainable Procurement Project

Revolutionising sustainable procurement

Since 2015 there has been a growing trend of senior decision-makers across the public sector demanding that their organisations align with the seven Well-being Goals. However, there has been less consensus and understanding of how to actually implement change to fulfill this ambition. WRAP Cymru aimed to use procurement as a key driver for achieving the desired outcome.

The project team worked with influential procurement organisations in Wales – such as the Welsh Government, National Procurement Service and NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership – and the procurement teams of public bodies, to prioritise sustainability when purchasing goods and services.

The project supported public bodies and their supply chains to promote the environmental, societal and economic benefits of procuring (and supplying) more sustainable products. It helped to drive demand for more sustainable procurement practices by highlighting how this can help organisations to meet their obligations and targets as set out in:

  • Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
  • Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales
  • Welsh Government’s Towards Zero Waste strategy
  • UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.7 (promote public procurement practices that are sustainable)

It delivered the following support:

  • Training procurement staff
  • Producing guidance to enable ‘quick wins’ and wider-ranging, longer-lasting impacts
  • Showcasing alternative ways of working and circular business models (such as leasing products rather than buying)
  • Developing sustainability criteria for procurement frameworks, tender specifications, assessment and contract management
  • Developing tools to manage the environmental performance of suppliers and the impacts of their delivery
  • Supplier engagement workshops

Between April 2017 and March 2018, WRAP Cymru delivered 12 procurement support projects to public bodies in Wales to help them achieve sustainability objectives and contribute towards meeting their Well-being Goals.

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