Common Supplier Code of Conduct for Quebec universities developed at McGill

Code covers everything from transparency and Indigenous rights to fair business practices and protection of biodiversity 

McGill community members care about social progress, environmental protection, and fair business practices. Did you know that Procurement Services ensures that these shared values are conveyed to University suppliers?

“We commit to nearly half a billion dollars of expenses in goods, services, and construction works each year, and we acquire them from 14,000 different suppliers from around the world. There is an important responsibility that comes with this level of spending” says François Pouliot, Senior Director of Procurement Services.

About seven years ago, the unit developed the McGill Supplier Code of Conduct, which is embedded in the terms and conditions of its contracts and purchase orders. The Code covered a diverse range of aspects such as the respect of human rights, Indigenous rights, labour rights, and the protection of biodiversity, as well as basic transparency and fair business practices.

After overseeing the use of the Code for roughly five years, McGill’s Program Manager for Sustainable Procurement, Stéphanie Leclerc, invited other institutions to join in the document’s revision. Together, with representatives from Université de Montréal, UQAM, Bishop’s, and Sherbrooke University, the group conducted an international benchmarking exercise, and decided that with a few changes to the McGill Supplier Code of Conduct, the Code could be leveraged across other Quebec universities.

Now referred to as the Common Supplier Code of Conduct for Quebec Universities it is currently being used by McGill, Université de Montréal, Sherbrooke University, and Laval University. Other universities intend to adopt its use in the next few months, with the plan that any future changes be adopted by consensus through the Bureau de la Cooperation Universitaire (BCI).

As a result of the Common Supplier Code of Conduct, McGill has intervened with suppliers whose activities were raising biodiversity concerns at multiple universities using the Code; has become a member of Fair Labor Association to benefit from increased monitoring capacity; and has started to develop a common methodology to incorporate sustainable procurement levers in procurement contracts.

“McGill University has been at the forefront in terms of sustainable procurement and is viewed as a leader in this field,” adds Pouliot.“We recognize, however, that meaningful changes in some markets can only come about from greater collaboration with our peer institutions and concerted efforts to drive continuous improvement.”

The Common Supplier Code of Conduct is available in English and in French on the McGill Secretariat website.  

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