Nottingham Trent University launches pioneering Net Zero Carbon Supplier Tool with over 30 universities signed up

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has launched a pioneering tool to enable higher education institutions and their suppliers to meet Net Zero Carbon targets – with over 30 universities already incorporating it into their supply chain processes.

Developed by colleagues in sustainability and procurement (at NTU), and in collaboration with NETpositive Futures, the Net Zero Carbon Supplier Tool not only provides an institution with their supply chain carbon emissions data but also proactively targets and influences its suppliers to reduce their own carbon emissions. Following a successful trial with six universities, the Tool has now launched to sector with over 30 universities already on board as part of a one-year action research project.

The Net Zero Carbon Supplier Tool helps universities to calculate the carbon footprint of their supply chain. By collecting supplier-specific carbon footprint data, universities can report on the sustainability impact of the goods and services they purchase, as well as track reductions in emissions when sustainability interventions are implemented. Aligning with sector-specific carbon footprint calculation methodology, the Tool helps universities to understand how suppliers are responding to the shared challenge of climate change and support them in taking actions to progress net zero carbon in their own businesses.

Suppliers are each provided with an estimated carbon footprint and a bespoke carbon reduction plan free of charge. Regardless of how many universities they do business with, only one account is needed as the data is shared. By completing some simple steps, suppliers who already know their carbon footprint and have committed to take action, can share this with multiple universities via the Tool.

Laura Mayhew-Manchón, Head of Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University said:

“NTU has a commitment to not only meet its own Net Zero Carbon target by 2040, but also to build sustainable supply chains across the higher education sector. Supply chain emissions are the largest single source of emissions within our own footprint – five times greater than our emissions from energy use, which is common in many organisations. Our Net Zero Carbon Supplier Tool goes some way to help us and the sector to reduce our Scope 3 emissions in a targeted and informed way

“The Tool has two main benefits to the universities who use it – a more robust understanding of supply chain emissions which includes being able to see the positive impacts of sustainability interventions as they happen; and providing a conduit to engage and support suppliers from across the supply chain on their own sustainability journeys.”

Larissa Morrish, Head of Procurement at Lancaster University said:

“Lancaster University declared a Climate emergency in 2020 and has set an ambitious target to become Carbon Net Zero by 2035. We’ve reduced our electricity and heating emissions by 50% since 2005 but we know there is a long way to go significantly impact our Scope 3 emissions. Visibility of carbon reduction activities in the supply chain is a huge challenge for all organisations.

“The Net Zero Carbon Supplier Tool gives us a tangible way forward to work with our suppliers and to record their carbon reduction activities. I’m particularly pleased with the engagement from our SME suppliers who made up 70% of responses. Many measured their carbon impact for the first time using the tool and unlike larger suppliers did not already have a carbon reduction plan in place”.

The universities taking part in the one year action research project are:

Anglia Ruskin University
Aston University
Bath Spa
Birmingham City University
Canterbury Christ Church University
City, University of London
Coventry University
Durham University
Kingston University
Lancaster University
London School of Economics and Political Science
Nottingham Trent University
Ulster University
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bradford
University of Cambridge
University of Exeter
University of Law
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
University of Plymouth
University of Southampton
University of Surrey
University of Warwick
University of Westminster

Universities that are interested in signing up to the Tool will be able to do so once the year-long project has been completed at the end of 2024. For more information, contact

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