Modern Slavery Act 2015 Statement

Purpose of the statement

This statement aims to inform the University of Glasgow Court, our staff and the general public about the steps taken during the last financial year, ending 31 July 2020 in support of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.


The University is committed to ensuring and actively monitoring that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any parts of its operation within the University and its Supply Chain.

The University of Glasgow


The University is the fourth oldest University in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1451, it has earned an international reputation for research innovation, for connecting with experts in global business, and for being the home of inspiring thinkers, from the father of economics Adam Smith, to the eminent scientist Lord Kelvin. In keeping with its historic legacy of changing the world, the University is a founding member of the elite Russell Group of 24 major UK research universities.

Principal operations 

Study and research are grouped into four Colleges, which are made up of broadly related Schools and Research Institutes. The Colleges are:

  • College of Arts
  • College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
  • College of Science and Engineering
  • College of Social Sciences

The majority of operations are carried out on the University’s main Gilmorehill campus in the West End of Glasgow. Finding community and strength within diversity, the University attracts students and academics from more than 150 countries around the globe. In addition, as a venue for international conferences and a hub of cultural interest, the University is also a major contributor to the cultural and commercial life of the country.

Inspiring People – Changing the World

In 2015 the University published its current five-year strategy, Inspiring People – Changing the World. The strategy sets out a vision for Glasgow as a world-class, world-changing university, articulated through three key pillars:

People: The University wants to be regarded among the very finest higher education institutions in the world. For that to happen, it needs to attract the best of the best – staff and students alike. People details the University’s strategy to attract world-class staff and talented students from every corner of the globe and connect with the finest minds worldwide through international partnership and cooperation.

Place: The University wants to provide an internationally excellent environment which inspires its staff and students as world-class learners, researchers and professionals. Place details its vision for world-class supporting infrastructure realised through cutting-edge facilities, best in class systems, and outstanding professional support functions.

Purpose: The University exists to discover world-changing knowledge and then share it with students and society at large. Purpose articulates its vision for internationally excellent teaching, globally significant research, and local and global civic engagement that has tangible benefits and impact for communities.

The University has recently published a new Climate Change Strategy: 

The strategy outlines a route to net-zero carbon emissions for the organization, by 2030.  The University is committed, not only to addressing its impacts on the environment, but also its impacts on people, communities and markets.  As such, we have a well-developed approach to sustainable procurement.

We are fully cognizant of our responsibilities under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Our Climate Change strategy commits us to use of the Ecovadis system for monitoring sustainability-related risks and driving improvements in our supply chain.  We believe that use of Ecovadis will help us to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any parts of our operation, either within the University or our Supply Chain.

Further information on how our procurement processes support our commitments under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 can be found below.

Procurement Governance Supporting the Modern Slavery Act 2015

The University Procurement Office’s role is to provide professional, qualified procurement expertise, advice and services; for all spend with external suppliers; in compliance with the Public Contract (Scotland) 2015 Regulations, the Procurement Reform Act 2014, the Procurement (Scotland) Regulation 2016 and any other Directives. We will procure all Goods, Services and Works with high ethical standard and applying principles of sustainable procurement. Sustainable Procurement is a process whereby the University meets its needs for Goods, Services and Works in a way that achieves value for money (VFM) on a whole life cost basis, generating benefit not only to the University, but also with consideration to Social, Economic and Environmental factors.

The Procurement Office has implemented the Advanced Procurement of University and Colleges (APUC) Supply Chain Code of Conduct. This focuses on the organisation’s and its Suppliers responsibilities in social, ethical, economic, and environmental areas across the Supply Chain. The University Procurement Strategy is committed to delivering our Sustainability Objectives, which include identifying modern slavery risks within our Supply Chain. Procurement has used the sustainability risk prioritisation tool (Marrakech) which assigns a score for each risk attached to a category of spend.  The high-risk categories are then investigated using the DEFRA analysis tool.  Thereafter Suppliers identified within these categories are measured and monitored through the EcoVadis Sustainability Rating Programme. This policy is a part of University’s Procurement Policy and Contracts and Supplier Relationship Management (CS&RM) Policy and is incorporated into all procurement and supply chain activities including tendering and contract procedure.


The University of Glasgow has selected EcoVadis to simplify collaboration with our external Suppliers in order to assess their sustainability / Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance worldwide. We rely on EcoVadis’ CSR expertise to produce ratings and detailed scorecards that make it easy for the University and the Supplier to understand their CSR performance, and to work together if any improvements are needed. As an internationally recognised standard, EcoVadis sustainability ratings provide global benchmarks, which are essential for measuring and improving the performance of our global supply chain. The EcoVadis rating is based on an evidence-based assessment, adapted to hundreds of business categories, takes into account relevant industry labels and certifications as well as local laws in 150 countries, and is aligned with global standards like the UN Global Compact.

The EcoVadis assessment is an evaluation on how well a company has integrated the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility into their business and management system. It is based on the following founding principles:

  • Evidence Based
  • Industry sector, country and size taken into account
  • Assessment by experienced CSR experts
  • Traceability & Transparency of documentation
  • Excellence through continuous improvement

EcoVadis has a comprehensive scoring criterion for each Supplier, see figure 1. Under the labour & Human Rights pillar, assesses the Suppliers compliance to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 statement, see figure 1.

Figure 1

A Robust Methodology table with data

After assessment, EcoVadis provide the Supplier and the University full access to their sustainability rating through their online portal.  This details area of strength and areas on where improvement is required.  The Supplier assessments are reviewed on an annual basis. Figure 2 is an example of a Suppliers sustainability scorecard.

Figure 2

Ecovadis dashboard screen

Supply Chain Expenditure

The University has a non-pay expenditure of c£298m across Goods, Services and Works. The sustainability risk prioritisation tool (Marrakech) and the DEFRA analysis tool review have identified 7 high risk category area in relation to Modern Slavery as listed below:

  1. Catering
  2. Furniture
  3. Utilities
  4. IT
  5. Labs
  6. Travel
  7. Construction

Procurement Outcomes

The current expenditure across the 7 high risk categories is c£171m, with 198 Suppliers.  The number of Suppliers that have completed their EcoVadis assessment is 51, with an expenditure of £143m. This results in 84% of the expenditure identified across the 7 high risk categories as having an EcoVadis sustainability rating, see figure 3.  The Procurement Office are continually working with our external Suppliers and EcoVadis and there are a further 26 Suppliers going through this assessment process.

Figure 3

Sustainability Expenditure table

Training and Awareness

Sustainable Procurement training has been completed by all members of the Procurement team.


CIPS Procurement Excellence Standard Award

The University has held the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Certification since 2015 and has recently been revalidated and achieved the Procurement Excellence Standard Award Number 0500 valid until 03/2022. This is an in-depth assessment process that measures the organisation’s procurement function against world-class standards.

Living Wage Employer

The University of Glasgow is proud to be an Accredited Living Wage employer. This means:

  • We are committed to paying all employees at least the Living Wage
  • We ensure that all casual workers engaged directly by the University are paid at least the Living Wage
  • We have set up our procurement procedures to ensure that we engage with contractors and potential contractors to encourage them, as far as possible, to also pay the Living Wage to people regularly working on our premises.

Electronics Watch

The University is a member of Electronics Watch, which is an independent monitoring organisation that assists public sector buyers to meet their responsibility to protect the labour rights of workers in their global electronics supply chains more effectively and less expensively than any single public sector buyer could accomplish on its own.

an image of 3 logos

  • Release Date: January 2021
  • Author: Head of Procurement
  • Approver: David Duncan on behalf of Court.
  • Title: Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary.