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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 businesses to procure locally

To ensure City companies continue to procure goods and services at best value for money, we undertook research to find out which local, small and medium-sized enterprise-orientated sectors are fit to supply.

The City of London Corporation is able to offer City businesses various forms of support in this area, including:

  • Tailored assistance in promoting supplier diversity and sustainable procurement. For more information or to arrange a consultation, email the Corporate Responsibility team.
  • One to one introductions to local small suppliers, through our 'Ready to Supply' the City programme (see below for further details)
  • Written guidance via our Local Purchasing Toolkit, available on our resources page
  • Workshops and training, details available on our events page.

We encourage City firms to work with their Tier 1 and 2 suppliers to advance the responsible purchasing and buying locally agenda further down the supply chain.

Supporting City developers to procure locally

The City of London Corporation has developed a Local Procurement Charter (500KB) and associated guidance notes (1MB) calling on developers to source 10% of goods and services, relating to development, from the City and its neighbouring boroughs. The Local Procurement Charter seeks to encourage City developers and their contractors to source locally and drive the economies of local small to medium-sized enterprises. This will in turn drive local employment levels within the seven surrounding boroughs, where up to 10% of the local population is unemployed. The aims of the Local Procurement Charter are also supported by planning agreements for new developments. 

Ready to Supply  the City

Ready to supply the City matches SMME's based in the City and the City's neighbouring boroughs, with City Buyers  with specific contract needs or wanting to refresh their existing supplier database. All SMME's on the programme receive one-to-one advice, access to procurement focussed workshops and networking events, as well as roundtable discussions with City buyers to ensure that they are well prepared. 

If you would like to find out more about the programme or attend a forthcoming 'Meet the Buyer' event, please contact mohammed.alom@elbp.co.uk from East London Business Place (delivery partners for the project) or view a flyer.

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

Fairtrade

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.

The City of London Corporation hosts a City Fairtrade Steering Group, which comprises a number of influential businesses and organisations including Aviva, KPMG, Waitrose and Matrix Knowledge Group. The steering group is open to representatives of businesses, residents or community groups based within the Square Mile. If you would like to get involved please email fairtrade@cityoflondon.gov.uk or call 020 7332 1563.

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

Responsible procurement resources

City Procurement Newsletter

Sign up to the quarterly newsletter

Directory of Certified Social Enterprise Suppliers

Download the Directory of Certified Social Enterprise Suppliers (5KB).

The directory was launched at an event in November 2011 which welcomed over 60 corporate delegates, eager to learn how to effectively engage social enterprises in their supply chain, whilst over 30 Social Enterprise Mark holders were given the opportunity to exhibit their services to the ethically hungry crowd. The ‘50in250’ campaign launched at the event aims to get 50 businesses to pledge to each use five Social Enterprise Mark holders in their supply chain in 250 days.

The directory above focuses on suppliers for a corporate audience and was produced in November 2011. For an up to date list of all supplier categories, please visit the 50in250 website.

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:

The City of London's supply chain and its relationship with the City fringes

Published September 2008

This research gives an overview of opportunities in the City of London procurement market, details City firm procurement patters, discusses barriers to trade and offers business support recommendations.

View The City of London's supply chain and its relationship with the City fringes' report

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. More information is available under Buying From Social Enterprises.

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 www.actionsustainability.com

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 www.business-business.co.uk

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 www.elbp.co.uk

GLE oneLondon

GLE oneLondon 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 http://www.gle.co.uk/

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.

Contact us

​For more information about the City Procurement Project, please email the Corporate Responsibility team or phone 020 7332 1563.​​​

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