Responsible procurement policy

The Natural History Museum has a vision of a future where people and planet thrive and a mission 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 environmentally, ethically and economically sustainable. We want our suppliers to become advocates 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 exercise due diligence in our higher-risk spend categories 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 applied to the Museum's procurement activities in an open and transparent manner.

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

The Museum will adopt a pragmatic approach to encouraging and influencing our suppliers to improve their sustainability practices and will seek to inspire others by sharing knowledge and awareness of responsible, best practice procurement with fellow institutions.

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, aim to reflect our net zero aspirations in our procurement activity, and expect similar principles from our suppliers
  • work with the Museum's Sustainability team to review procurement practices and apply this policy during the procurement process where appropriate
  • consider environmental sustainability from the outset of the procurement process and as part of any business case valued at £25,000 and above
  • Include a suitable assessment of environmental impacts among decision criteria for contracts valued at £25,000 and above, with consideration of the impacts of goods and services throughout their lifecycle
  • expect our major suppliers to meet the standards set out in ISO 14001
  • develop and report on our understanding of our supply chains and systematically analyse and improve that footprint wherever possible

For ethical sourcing, we will:

  • work with our suppliers in higher-risk spend categories 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 in higher-risk spend categories

For equality and diversity, we will: 

  • strive to 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 value of our business awarded to SMEs

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 2022.