Social & Corporate Responsibility

Social responsibility at individual and collective scales is critical to enable positive behavioural and cultural change. Corporate social responsibility reflects the recognition that supply chains of goods and services must reflect ethical and environmentally friendly practices.


Key Strategies Emerging

Under the umbrella of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Group, working groups are being established to oversee engagement with key stakeholders in relation to the following key initiatives:

  • Responsible Events
  • Responsible Offices, and
  • Responsible Cafes

Corporate Social Responsibility is now a recognised dimension of standard business practice. Sustainable procurement practices are a core component of this, including the need to be proactive in relation to:

  • Supply chain management
  • Reducing life cycle impacts of products and services, and
  • Antislavery requirements for sourcing manufactured goods.

Some progress has been made in sourcing food products with reduced packaging and clear certification as part of ‘fair-trade’ supply chains. However, details of the ethical and environmental practices in the material contributions along the supply chain are often difficult to verify. A recent development is that of the potential Anti-Slavery Act, which requires that goods are not sourced from situations of forced labour. However, the definition of the types of labour relationships in third world production contexts are complex in relation to simplistic definitions of slavery.

Management Initiatives Underway

The establishment of working groups for responsible events, offices and cafes will enable consultation with business managers and lessees regarding feasible and cost-effective strategies for improving products used. In many situations, business managers have already taken significant steps to improved product packaging, particularly in regarding food packaging and coffee cups.

Western has well established procurement principles, such as value for money, along with a recognition of environmentally and socially responsible supply chain arrangements for goods and services. To assist with procurement choices for both broader goods and services, as well as those identified for the responsible events, offices and cafes, some general guidelines are being developed in relation to the criteria of carbon neutrality.

Related Living Lab Initiatives

Compliance Requirements and Risk

There are significant and complex risks associated with supply chain management, including questions relating to ethical sourcing and Anti-slavery regulation. Another associated risk is that of reputational loss, and staff and student concern, regarding provisioning of materials with potential downstream impacts, such as the broader environmental impacts of micro plastics in aquatic ecosystems.

Trends and Interdependencies

Supply chain management, waste and recycling, consumer choice and expectations, business practices, and movement towards carbon neutrality and lighter ecological footprint are all related aspects of social and corporate responsibility.


2020Target initiative – establish Social and Corporate Responsibility working groups
2025Sustainable procurement on whole-of-life cost basis
2030Demonstrated best practice

SDGs 4,12,13,17