Responsible procurement policy

The Natural History Museum is a trusted source of knowledge about the natural world and our mission is to create advocates for the planet. It is vital that as a leading science research centre, a public institution and a charity, we uphold the responsible use of resources and inspire a future where people and planet thrive.


The Museum's Responsible Procurement Policy seeks to attain best value for money in the acquisition of goods, services and works for the Museum in a manner that is both environmentally and ethically sustainable. We want our suppliers to become advocates/champions for the planet too. 

Principal Objectives

Responsible procurement is concerned with the economic, social and environmental impacts of purchasing decisions. The Museum's Responsible Procurement Policy is designed with three principal objectives in mind:

  • Environmental sustainability: To procure goods, services and works in a way that minimises our direct and indirect impacts on the environment and biodiversity, throughout their lifecycle. 
  • Ethical sourcing: To implement a due diligence process that will promote respect for human rights, equality and diversity.
  • Health and safety: To ensure that our procurement practices protect the health and safety of Museum staff, visitors, contractors and other users of our buildings and facilities. 

Responsible Procurement Policy

This policy will be embedded in all the Museum's procurement activities in an open and transparent manner.

The policy is aligned to the Museum's Ethics Policy and with all existing environmental, equality and diversity policies and the Museum's annual Statement on Slavery and Human Trafficking.

The Museum will seek to inspire others by sharing knowledge and awareness of responsible, best practice procurement with fellow institutions.

NHM Procurement will implement appropriate means of measuring and reporting on progress with responsible procurement intervention. 

Implementation and Review

This policy will be communicated across the Museum to all staff involved in the acquisition of goods, services and works. The policy will be reviewed periodically.


For environmental sustainability, we will:

  • minimise the Museum's environmental impacts and expect similar principles from our suppliers
  • work with the Museum's Sustainability team to review procurement practices and during the procurement process where appropriate
  • consider environmental sustainability from the outset of the procurement process and as part of any business case
  • include a suitably weighted assessment of environmental impacts among award criteria
  • expect our major suppliers to meet the standards set out in ISO 14001
  • monitor and report on sustainable procurement intervention, product and supply chain impacts (in terms of CO2 equivalents).

For ethical sourcing, we will:

  • work with our suppliers to conduct due diligence in our supply chains to promote respect for human rights
  • use our affiliation to Electronics Watch and Sedex to monitor the supply chains of our suppliers.

For equality and diversity, we will: 

  • remove barriers in our procurement approaches and processes that inhibit Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), community sector organisations, diverse enterprises and under-represented groups from easily entering our supply chain
  • monitor and report upon the diversity of our supplier base.

For health and safety, we will:

  • ensure that our contracts and specifications are updated regularly to reflect changes in health and safety standards. 

Last updated

This policy was last updated in February 2019.