Improving Supply Chains: An Opportunity for Growth at the University of Edinburgh

As part of Buchanan's Summer Research Programme, a team dives into the University’s sustainability plans, how it manages its supply chains and how it works with the local community as an anchor institution. The brief lays out the current policies in place by the SRS department and how the University was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.



University of Edinburgh, Sustainability


Chloe Asquith

Benjamin Duncan

Rachel Dunn

Hazel Law

Katrina Murray

Hannah Venter

Executive Summary

The University of Edinburgh has produced a number of policies relating to the sustainability of their supply chains. This paper investigates the University’s supply chain policies and how they relate to the University and Edinburgh communities.

The policies in place by the Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) Department of the University around supply chains, have allowed the University to become more equitable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible. However, there are issues of engagement and upholding certain sustainability policies as the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed normal functions of the University. This paper argues the University has a crucial role as an influential anchor institution - a non-profit organisation tied to its community of students, staff and Edinburgh locals - to make changes to its policies.

To begin, the current policies the University has in place, implemented mainly by the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Department, will be examined to show where specific improvements can be made. By engaging with the local community more staff, students and Edinburgh residents can be more aware of opportunities they can be involved in. Furthermore, through innovation using technology and collaboration, the University can be more informed in the early stages of supply chains, thus allowing it to be sure policies such as the Conflict Minerals Resolution are being upheld. Here, the benefits of doing more research into emerging supply chain technologies - the blockchain, 3D manufacturing and 5G - will be highlighted.