Sustainable procurement

The RNLI uses a wide range of materials, products and equipment and we have a role to play in ensuring that any potential negative social and environmental impacts of our procurement choices – and those of our suppliers – are eliminated or reduced, where we can help to influence it. 

A white lifeboat crew member with brown hair pulled back off their face. They’re looking straight to camera and wearing full lifeboat crew kit – including the new Helly Hansen crew kit, and red lifejacket. Under their arm is a white crew helmet.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Helly Hansen crew kit

It’s also our duty to make the best use of supporter donations by obtaining the best value when procuring the things our people need. 

Supply Chain Management

Sustainability is considered as part of our procurement processes and our suppliers are asked for evidence of appropriate sustainability credentials. Over the next few years, we aim to make this process even more robust, working closely with our key suppliers to ensure that – at minimum – they share and operate to the same environmental and social values as us.
Our Corporate Clothing Policy works to ensure our whole corporate clothing supply chain meets appropriate sustainability criteria, and that a chain of custody is maintained.

Resource management

Using our resources more efficiently goes hand-in-hand with procuring them in a sustainable way, as a means of eliminating waste, reducing costs and saving energy.

One example of this is the Printer Consolidation Project at our Lifesaving Support Centre buildings in Poole. This project has reduced the number of printing and copying devices and the amount of paper, toner and inks we use as well as the associated costs. We’re now also working to eliminate or reduce the amount of printing our people do on those devices, to as little as possible. 

We’re also asking relevant suppliers, such as for our retail stock, to eliminate or reduce the amount of single-use plastic (SUP) packaging they use. Our 2020 Christmas cards are SUP- and glitter-free and 2021 calendars are too. 

This is also true for our supporter magazine mailing supplier which – due to us changing our procurement specification – will now send out all our magazines in FSC - or PEFC -certified sustainable paper wrap and envelopes, instead of plastic wrap.