Ethical Purchasing Guidance for Schools & Colleges


This free guidance document will assist schools and colleges with ‘Ethical Purchasing’. It has been developed by the Centre for Global Education York together with the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation.

There is already government guidance available with a strong focus on ‘environmental sustainability’ but very little advice on ‘ethical trading and consumerism’. As a result, it can be difficult for schools and colleges to be able to reflect in practice core moral principles that affirm their ethos and their pupils’ values. This document addresses this shortfall within a compromising climate of a national ethical food controversy (horsemeat scandal, January 2013), global manufacturing tragedies (Bangladesh factory disaster, April 2013), limited Government standards monitoring and financial restraints.

It is important that schools and their pupils know that ‘trade and consumerism’ are part of a complex chain that can so easily be exploited but remains everybody’s responsibility, both corporate and individual. This document explains cllearly what is meant by ‘ethical purchasing’, and what you should look for when making purchases. It also includes key ethical recommendations and advises on resources and key concepts for teaching about these important issues both at primary and secondary level.


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