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SFMI helps WWF-UK win ethical procurement award

Work by the Sustainable Facilities Management Index (SFMI) and support services company ENGIE led to a win for WWF-UK in the Ethical Procurement category of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply’s 2019 Supply Management Awards. 

The award recognised the non-governmental organisation’s procurement project to appoint the UK sustainable facilities management service at its iconic Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey.

WWF-UK needed an ethical procurement process that could measure supplier and solution ethics at all stages of the tendering and contracting process for facilities management. The organisation’s procurement team collaborated with the SFMI to deliver an outcome with an ethical and environmental impact.

In 2018, WWF-UK was in the process of setting out a long-term strategy to reverse the decline of nature and expand its own scope to influence broader environmental and ethical issues such as climate change. When the previous facilities management (FM) services contract ended in 2018, the organisation saw an opportunity to bring in a new FM solution that could help it achieve these goals.

WWF-UK’s aims were to embed ethical criteria at every stage of the procurement process; ensure that every ethical aspect included in the procurement process would lead to a tangible or measurable output; and encourage tender proposals that would create the UK’s leading sustainable FM service. To achieve this, WWF-UK’s procurement team had to put together a focused procurement process that excited businesses with a similar ethical focus.

The procurement team identified the SFMI, an initiative created by sustainability consultancy Acclaro Advisory, as a credible and sector-specific sustainability benchmarking process that could help to measure the ethical elements it had identified. 

Acclaro’s work comprised a focused pre-qualification of bidders, which included a list of suppliers that had performed well in the 2017 SFMI, and an enhancement of the tender specification, reviewing services and making amendments where there was room to improve the level of environmental and ethical stewardship. Acclaro then compiled a tender appendix of ethical criteria tailored to WWF-UK’s services to boost ethical performance further.

The next step was to benchmark the four shortlisted bidders against one other across a subset of SFMI criteria that were deemed most relevant to WWF-UK’s contract scope. Finally, Acclaro supported the mobilisation of successful bidder ENGIE through a series of three-way workshops and a standard operating procedure.

WWF-UK also included a contractual requirement that ENGIE must maintain a ‘platinum’ standard SFMI assessment annually throughout the life of the contract. The service provider did so in 2019 as the highest platinum-scoring company and winner of the SFMI Awards.

Ethical benefits that WWF-UK has gained since the procurement project include chemical-free services, the removal of more than 4,500 single-use plastic bottles per annum, providing the Real Living Wage to all contracted staff as standard, and greater community engagement.

Aside from the ethical outcomes, the partnership has delivered first year savings from a 7.5 per cent reduction in fixed charges, improved skills composition of delivery team, and technology across hard and soft services that is driving strong KPI performance.

Adrian Warburton, Director of Finance for WWF-UK, said: “The procurement of the facilities management service was an important opportunity for WWF-UK to engage a supplier that could not only deliver excellent operational services but also support WWF-UK’s strategic aim. The integration of the SFMI into the tender process has provided strong assurance that we have selected a supply partner in ENGIE that shares our ambitions, particularly in the area of carbon reduction.”

As the only sustainability benchmark for the UK FM sector, the SFMI judges the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of FM service providers annually. Acclaro’s team conducts independent assessments across 23 criteria including sustainability frameworks, management systems, energy, water, compliance, health & safety, employee development, diversity, and more.

To read more about SFMI’s partnership with WWF-UK click here.

About Sarah OBeirne

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