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Our Procurement for Mutual Good programme

At Nationwide, we’re committed to building a more inclusive, more ethical, and greener supply chain. In 2020, we formalised our Procurement for Mutual Good programme. This was so we could go further in embedding environmental and social considerations into our procurement policies and processes. And improve our performance over time.

We completed a desktop-based materiality assessment to understand which sustainable themes we should prioritise based on what’s important to our organisation, our industry, and the procurement profession. As a result, we selected:

  • climate change
  • circular economy
  • modern slavery
  • prompt payment
  • real living wages
  • social enterprise
  • supply chain diversity

Our Responsible Business team within Business Services created a plan to uplift these themes within our procurement processes, and to initiate activities to baseline and improve our performance.

Procurement for Mutual Good also contributes to our Society-wide Mutual Good Commitments, which are:

  • Lead the greening of UK homes
  • Help to achieve safe and secure homes for all
  • Support our members' financial well-being
  • Champion thriving communities, and
  • Reflect the diversity of our society.

Each of our priorities supports a Mutual Good Commitment. We’ll take you through the details of this below.

“Through our Procurement for Mutual Good programme, we aim to work with our suppliers towards a common goal – to protect people and planet, now and in the future. We’re striving for an inclusive, ethical and green supply chain, both in terms of the products we procure and the partners we work with.”  

Imran Rasul, Chief Procurement Officer 

Leading the greening of UK homes

Climate change

We're working with Carbon Intelligence to calculate our upstream scope 3 emissions, including those for our purchased goods and services. And we’re identifying carbon hotspots for prioritisation. We’re also driving decarbonisation across our supply chain, working with our third party suppliers to measure, report and set targets that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This is a requirement for all the large third party suppliers – those with more than 250 employees – we engage with, and is part of our onboarding process.

You can read more about this in the Screening supplier sustainability performance section below. Decarbonisation of the supply chain is further championed through our partnership with EcoVadis, which you can also read about further down this page.

Circular economy

We’re aware that worldwide we consume more resources than are naturally regenerated. And where possible we look for opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle across our supply chain. Examples include:

  • Using recycled plastics in our cards, card readers, and colleague uniforms
  • Working with partners to repair, resell and recycle unwanted IT hardware and ink cartridges
  • Setting up a cleaning product refill station and buying in bulk to cut down on single-use plastics

Helping to achieve safe and secure homes for all

Modern Slavery

People in slavery are often in unsafe homes and forced to work under the control of others. We’re reinforcing our commitment to safe and secure homes for all by taking steps to combat modern slavery and labour exploitation.

We’ve been working with anti-slavery charity Unseen (opens in a new window) to better understand the risks that exist within our supply chain and how to take action to mitigate them, for example through enhanced due diligence. We also work with Unseen to provide training for our Procurement team and key supplier relationship owners across our organisation to improve their understanding of modern slavery, the role of businesses and the requirements expected of them.

Supporting our members’ financial wellbeing

Prompt payment

Paying our third party suppliers promptly supports their cashflow and ensures that they can, in turn, pay their workers on time. We’re signatories to the UK Prompt Payment Code and aim to make our payments in line with its requirements.

As a Society, we’re committed to ensuring our pay meets the true cost of living, and we’re also championing the real living wage across our supply chain. In 2020, we called on our strategic third parties to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, if they weren’t already. We supported some of these third parties with their accreditation process by sharing our experiences.

Championing thriving communities

Social enterprise

We’re members of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge (opens in a new window), a group of businesses committed to collectively spending £1 billion with social enterprises. 

As a socially driven business, it’s important to us that we support other organisations founded with a social mission. Our social enterprise relationships include:

  • Belu Water
  • Business in the Community
  • Change Please
  • Divine Chocolate
  • Hey Girls
  • IncomeMax
  • Nemi Teas
  • Social Enterprise UK
  • Scottish Braille Press
  • Tech Talent Charter
  • Waste to Wonder
  • WildHearts

Reflecting the diversity of our society

Supply chain diversity

We’re proud to have joined the Minority Supplier Development Network (MSDUK) in early 2022. We look forward to working with MSDUK to connect with ethnic minority businesses, and to review our processes to further support supply chain diversity.


Policies and principles

What we buy and who we buy it from matters. Which is why it’s so important to us that our approximately 1100 third party suppliers reflect our values and ambitions. We expect our suppliers to comply with our Third Party Code of Practice – PDF, 1MB (opens in a new window) and the standards it sets out. 

We also have internal Responsible Purchasing Principles, which we encourage our Procurement team and any colleague involved in third party processes to consider. These include:

  • Avoiding unnecessary consumption and seeking opportunities to reduce, reuse and repair
  • Evaluating and seeking to minimise environmental impacts across the lifecycle of goods and services, including what will happen at end of use
  • Considering using social enterprises, majority diverse-owned organisations, and micro or small suppliers for part or all the service where possible
  • Supporting on-time payment to third parties
  • Promoting best practice in environmental, social, and governance performance by asking questions, understanding supplier performance, and sharing learnings
  • Conducting all business relationships with respect, honesty, and integrity

Screening supplier sustainability performance

We take our responsibility to promote an ethical supply chain seriously. At the point of registration, all prospective suppliers are asked whether they:

  • Agree to comply with our Third Party Code of Practice, and if not, which requirements they cannot meet
  • Publish a compliant statement under the UK Modern Slavery Act each year
  • Monitor their greenhouse gas emissions and have a target to reduce them (required for large suppliers only)

At this point, we also collect information on whether the company has any certifications, diverse supplier status or is a micro, small or medium enterprise.

If a supplier answers our pre-onboarding questions negatively, we investigate the responses and negotiate that the supplier closes any gaps before they can work with us. Only where certain circumstances apply will a dispensation be granted by our Chief Procurement Officer.

We have a standard Ethical Trading clause which is part of all template agreements and covers compliance with the requirements set out in our Third Party Code of Practice. Sometimes, additional sustainability schedules are added to contracts to go further in holding suppliers to certain standards or to close gaps in performance within an agreed timeframe.

For tenders, we have a standard set of sustainability questions that are designed to positively score best practices. They cover topics such as EcoVadis performance, science-based targets, signatory to initiatives, sustainability governance and training, and actions to provide a more inclusive, more ethical, and greener service.


Our partnership with EcoVadis

In 2021 we partnered with supplier sustainability rating provider, EcoVadis, to help us screen and monitor third party performance across environment, labour and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement activities.

As of March 2022, we have over 100 third party EcoVadis scorecards, representing more than 40% of our annual spend with suppliers. At the time of review, the average overall score across our third parties was 58, 14 points higher than the average score across the entire EcoVadis network.

Over the coming year, we’ll be requesting further third party suppliers undergo EcoVadis assessment.

Capacity building

We regularly engage colleagues with supplier-related responsibilities on our Procurement for Mutual Good programme. Since the start of 2021 we’ve run:

  • A circularity workshop with Business in the Community for key colleagues in Procurement and Property Services
  • Anti-slavery training with Unseen for our entire Procurement and Property Services teams
  • Training on EcoVadis for key Procurement and relationship management colleagues across the Society

We also raise awareness and provide training for our third party suppliers on inclusivity, ethical, and green topics. Senior leaders shared updates on our Society strategy, including our Mutual Good Commitments and Procurement for Mutual Good programme, at our Annual Partner Event in both 2020/21 and 2021/2022. We ran a webcast attended by over 60 suppliers on our partnership with EcoVadis, as well as a workshop on addressing modern slavery for key third parties supporting our Property Services team.

Monitoring effectiveness

We monitor our performance against our annual Procurement for Mutual Good plan within our Procurement team scorecard. Our Chief Procurement Officer is accountable for this.

Our Procurement team is also setting their own personal Procurement for Mutual Good goals for the 2022/23 financial year to support their knowledge, experience, and development in this area.


Awards and achievements

2021 Winner for Best Sustainability Project of the Year, CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards

2021 Finalist for Best Response to Supply Chain in a Crisis, CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards

2020 Highly Commended for Best Initiative to Deliver Social Value through Procurement, CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards

We also recognise third party suppliers that have gone above and beyond to support us in building a better society through our annual Arthur Webb Partner Shield awards. The theme for the awards over the financial year 2021/22 was suppliers that have challenged us to go further in making a positive difference for our members, our people, society, and the environment.

Switchd were recognised as our winner for 2021/22, having worked with Nationwide to help us offer greener home solutions for our members – including a solar panel pilot. We also recognised 24SESSIONS and IDEMIA as highly commended. 24SESSIONS enabled us to provide remote appointments to ensure we could continue to provide our critical service during the Covid-19 lockdowns. And IDEMIA supported us in moving to accessible Dot and Notch cards accredited by the Royal National Institute of the Blind that are made using recycled plastic.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and of the recognition we received from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply since launching our Procurement for Mutual Good programme. We know there’s a lot more we all need to do to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and we’re committed to building on the foundations we’ve laid for a more inclusive, more ethical and greener supply chain.”

Zara Williams, Responsible Business Manager 



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