Change Agents UK

Sustainable Procurement Officer

Project Sustainable Procurement Officer
Employer University College London
Job Description


University College London (UCL) is a public research university in London, England, and the oldest and largest constituent college of the University of London.

UCL's main campus is located in the Bloomsbury area of central London, with a number of institutes and teaching hospitals located elsewhere in central London.

The UCL Sustainability Team has been in place for 4 years and in that time the Institution has moved from 61st to 29th place in People and Planet’s Green League, won a Green Gown Award for Innovation and has grown to six members.

As a research intensive institution, UCL requires a lot of energy to run (currently costing £14 million/year) and purchases over £250 million worth of goods all of which have a significant carbon impact. We are seeking a dynamic individual to help implement our ambitious carbon reduction plan with a particular focus on sustainable procurement.


The Sustainable Procurement Officer role is a new fixed term role reporting to the Sustainability Manager (Energy and Carbon) reflecting the importance of improving the institution’s carbon performance. The role will work across UCL to drive a circular economy approach to the goods and services that UCL buys, thereby reducing carbon emissions, waste and the use of other natural resources, as well as support UCL’s wider carbon reduction programme. It is also envisaged that the role will help to drive engagement with companies providing goods and services to UCL around sustainability.

Benefits of this opportunity

The role offers generous training and support and is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who has an interest in the circular economy, carbon management or behaviour change to deliver real improvement in environmental performance. You will be working in an inspiring team, and be liaising with departments across the University from Astrophysics to Genetics and Greek.

Future employment potential

Previous fixed-term roles taken forward through Change Agents UK have now been made permanent. Any potential for future employment however is dependent on the needs of the team at the time of the contract expiry and in the future. We would like the applicant to use their time at UCL to develop their experience and knowledge as much as possible to give them strong experience for their future career here or elsewhere. This role should enable the successful applicant to find employment in sustainability, the circular economy, energy management and a number of other areas.

Benefits of working with Change Agents UK

Change Agents UK is a not-for-profit organisation which enables students and recent graduates to work with businesses, local authorities and community groups to learn about and implement sustainable development, and become more employable. With this service Change Agents UK will provide:

• Enrolment onto our Skills Development Programme, utilising bespoke exercises to increase skill set and employability through self-evaluation, learning and the Change Agents Academy.

• Management support and networking opportunities.

• A monthly Change Agents UK Newsletter informing you of current sustainability news topics, up and coming events and workshops and a network of other change agents.

• Inclusion in the Change Agents staff and alumni networks: socials, networking opportunities, etc.

• Support in an organisation whose ethos is one of positive personal and professional development.

This recruitment is being managed by Change Agents UK, please direct all correspondence to or call 01572 723419

Location London

Outputs and Key Tasks


The Sustainable Procurement Officer will work with the Energy and Sustainability Manager to:

  1. Lead development and implementation of projects to improve UCL’s sustainability by making sure we are buying the most sustainable products and services in key impact areas including: Furniture, laboratory equipment, chemicals, IT and stationery.

  2. Embed circular economy practices at UCL by increasing the amount of materials and products that are re-used, recycled or shared as well as identifying opportunities for UCL’s waste to be turned into high value items.

  3. Identify and implement opportunities to reduce energy consumption using the £10million energy efficiency fund that UCL has made available over the next 10 years.

  4. Establish programmes of supplier engagement with the focus on encouraging more sustainable supplier practices.

  5. Develop and implement behaviour change programmes with staff and students to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Key Tasks

  1. Develop and implement an action plan to embed sustainable purchasing practices within UCL departments. This will include understanding current purchasing behaviours and developing a programme to address these which are likely to include:

    • Developing and delivering training for staff who purchase goods to encourage them to choose more sustainable options.

    • Liaising with UCL suppliers to encourage them to add more sustainable products to their catalogues, and devise ways to make these more desirable.

    • Developing sustainable purchasing guides to provide guidance to staff buying products.

  2. Work with UCL’s Procurement Department to ensure that new suppliers are required to provide more sustainable products.

  3. Improve UCL’s existing means of re-using products and equipment.

  4. Liaise with departments to identify opportunities for energy saving by behaviour change, sharing equipment or undertaking energy efficiency projects.

  5. Seek opportunities for waste products from UCL to be turned into high value products.

  6. Work with the Sustainability Manager and Sustainability Communications Officer to plan and devise behaviour change programmes with staff and students to reduce energy consumption, encourage sharing of resources and minimise the sustainability impact of the goods that are bought.

  7. Through supplier engagement, seek to support their development of sustainability measures and good practice

Personal Specification


  1. Good organisation skills.

  2. Excellent communication and influencing skills at all levels, including with academic and maintenance staff – oral and written.

  3. A positive and creative “can do” approach. Ability to problem solve.

  4. A natural collaborator and influencer; working cross functionally, internally and externally.

  5. Time management and the ability to balance a number of objectives at once.

  6. Ability to translate numerical data into easily understandable reports and communications.

  7. Highly developed numeracy and IT skills.

  8. Personal commitment to environmental sustainability.


  1. Understanding of the challenges to implementing change in a large organisation and how these challenges can be overcome.

  2. Understanding of energy efficiency or sustainable purchasing.

  3. Experience of developing and delivering training programmes.

  4. Formal qualification in an engineering or environmental related discipline.

  5. Experience of developing and delivering behaviour change programmes.

  6. Experience of working with academic staff or in a scientific environment.

Position Details

Employer: Change Agents UK on behalf of University College London

Salary (per annum pro rata): £22,000

Interview Date: Thursday 2nd February 2017

Closing Date: Sunday 15th January 2017

Start Date: ASAP

Length of Opportunity: 1 year

Hours/Week: 35

Work outside normal hours: Occasional

Annual leave: 27 days per year. UCL also has six closure days over Christmas and Easter.

Probation period: 1 month

Base: Bidborough House, 38-50 Bidborough Street, London, WC1H 9BT

Department: Environmental Sustainability within the Estates Division

Salary £22,000
Application Deadline 2017-01-15
Interview Date 2017-02-02
Hours Per Week 35.00
Places Available 1

Closed - no further applications permitted