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The City of London offers businesses information to help them consider the impacts of their purchasing decisions, including details on local, green and fairtrade purchasing, and supplier diversity.​​

"The current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed in the interest of our future welfare and that of our descendants." Millennium Declaration

Local purchasing

​The City of London Corporation encourages businesses within London to procure locally and from businesses located in the more deprived areas in London.

Why purchase locally?

  • By purchasing locally, businesses foster local economic regeneration and create employment opportunities using money intended to be spent
  • Purchasing from local small and medium-sized enterprise that offer best value for money helps to increase market competition and regenerate our local economy
  • The corporate social responsibility benefits, both social and environmental, additionally support buying locally.

Supporting City developers to procure locally

The City of London Corporation has made available a Directory of Construction SMEs (1.42 MB) located within the City of London and neighbouring boroughs. The directory has 130 companies listed, which are arranged alphabetically in the directory, including a number of social enterprises. The directory will assist you in identifying relevant suppliers that can meet both business needs and fulfil S106 Local Procurement obligations in the City of London.

Green purchasing

​Green purchasing is environmentally responsible procurement; it's about using your purchasing power to promote productive use of resources and materials. This involves integrating environmental considerations into all stages of the purchasing process: from avoiding unnecessary purchases and identifying greener products to the specifications you use for contracts and whole life costing. Quality remains the priority: green products are fit for purpose and can be cost comparable.

The City Corporation helps host the City Environmental Forum, during which informal, themed meetings with presentations given by both outside speakers and Forum members are held on a quarterly basis. These meetings review best practice and provide practical advice on environmental and sustainability issues. There is no fee associated with membership; however, members are encouraged to host meetings and recommend or provide speakers.

Topics covered to date include:

  • Energy
  • Schieving buy-in for environmental initiatives
  • Environmental management systems
  • Sustainable refurbishment
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Carbon reduction commitment

Supplier diversity

​Supplier diversity takes creative and proactive steps toward ensuring equal opportunities for under-represented businesses, such as minority ethnic-owned, women-owned and disabled people-owned businesses, to bid for business (contracts and procurement opportunities) with the public and private sectors. It is important to be aware that supplier diversity does not guarantee work; it only provides equal opportunities to under-represented businesses to compete.

Supplier Diversity Europe (SDE)
SDE's mission is to enhance the capacity of large organisations and under-represented small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in business relationships with each other.

Minority Supplier Development UK (MSDUK)
MSDUK is a private sector-led, not-for-profit membership organisation created to provide a direct link between its corporate members and minority businesses to enable the building of mutually beneficial business relationships.

Social Enterprise UK
Social Enterprise UK can help businesses connect with social enterprise, whether it’s to help them develop programmes to support the social enterprise sector or by advising them on how to get more social enterprises into their supply chains.

Social Enterprise Mark
The '50 in 250' campaign was launched at the City of London in 2011. Organised by the Social Enterprise Mark, it encourages businesses to procure from Social Enterprise Mark holders, ie businesses that invest over 50% of profits into environmental or socially responsible projects


The Fairtrade mark is an independent consumer label which appears on around 2,500 products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal. There are an estimated one million farmers and workers directly involved in Fairtrade and millions more benefit indirectly from the extra money it brings to their communities.

For more information on Fairtrade, products and suppliers, visit the Fairtrade Foundation's website.

Responsible procurement resources

Directory of Construction SMEs in the City and the City

To support City developers, the Corporation, with support from MTW Consultants Limited, has created a Directory of Construction SMEs in the City's Surrounding Boroughs. The directory lists over 100 companies covering 60 trades and services and supports City developers to pursue local procurement:

Sustainable procurement guides

These category management guides have been produced by the Financial Services Corporate Responsibility (FSCR) Working Group, in collaboration with the City of London. Recognising that there are a limited number of tools available to purchasing professionals within financial services, these buyers' guides provide background information and potential questions that could be included in tenders. Currently, these guides cover the following and can be downloaded below:

Local purchasing toolkit for City-based firms - version 1

Written with corporate responsibility managers in mind, this toolkit offers the business and corporate responsibility case for local purchasing, practical guidance on how to set up a Local Procurement Programme and links to relevant supplier databases.

Download the Local purchasing strategy toolkit version 1 (3MB)

Local purchasing toolkit - version 2

Aimed at purchasing and supply professionals, version 2 of the 'Local purchasing toolkit' combines national and international best practice to provide a set of guidance notes, templates and case study evidence to help purchasing and supply professionals, other large company buyers, developers and contractors, or diversity and corporate responsibility professionals to understand and implement a local purchasing strategy.

Download the Local purchasing toolkit version 2 (4MB)

Buy Social Directory

The City of London Corporation, in partnership with the Cabinet Office, Social Enterprise UK and Aspire Group, has developed the​ Buy Social Directory. The largest online database of social enterprise suppliers, with over 10,000 UK social enterprises promoting their products and services.

Organisations that support sustainable procurement for your business

​Action Sustainability

Action Sustainability is a not for profit social enterprise registered as a Community Interest Company. Their aim is to continuously extend, lead and inspire sustainable procurement, by extending the boundaries of best practice. Their services include consultancy, training, benchmarking, research, case studies and support. For more information visit Action Susatinability

Business to Business

BtoB provides support that helps SMEs to develop and grow. They provide a diverse range of business support services to everyone from micro-businesses to multi-national blue-chip organisations. With experts in every aspect of business strategy and operations, we are able to provide a coherent programme of action to meet any organisation's demands. For more information visit Business to Business.

East London Business Place

East London Business Place is a partnership of private and public sector organisations, led by Canary Wharf Group and East London Business Alliance, with funding from the LDA. It provides a free, face-to-face, sourcing and matching service to enable buyers and suppliers in 10 east London boroughs to take full advantage of local business opportunities. For more information visit East London Business Place.


Newable provides a wide range of business support to people thinking of starting their own business and also to those looking to grow their business. They finance, advise, mentor and train thousands of people every year to start and grow their businesses. For more information visit Newable

Supply Cross River

Supply Cross River is an initiative led by Cross River Partnership with funds from London European Regional Development Fund programme. It aims to open up supply chain and procurement opportunities to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises across the Cross River Sub Region and promote supplier diversity and sustainable procurement to buyers.