About our community interest company Our mission is to inspire sustainable business. 
We do this by building and freely sharing a body of knowledge in sustainable procurement.

How we started

Originally funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), we contributed to our mission of inspiring sustainable business, through training, communication and events to promote the recommendations of the government’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force.

What we do now

As a self-financing social enterprise, we focus on developing new best practice and knowledge by working with businesses, standards organisations, NGOs and academia.

Our past projects include:

  • Contributing a technical author and steering group member to the British Standards Institution (BSI) to develop the world’s first standard for sustainable procurement, BS 8903
  • Authoring and publishing two books on sustainable procurement related to BS 8903,  producing two educational videos and an online gap analysis tool
  • Providing the UK delegation to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the development of the international standard for sustainable procurement, ISO 20400
  • Conducting an in-depth analysis of the relationship between sustainability and value for money for the Olympic Delivery Authority and producing a learning legacy paper.
  • Providing a project manager to the London 2012 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to deliver 76 Learning Legacy resources
  • Providing expert advice and support to The Institute of Human Rights and Business to develop an independent international body for overseeing human rights issues related to global sporting events, such as the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cups. This has resulted in the formation of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Sponsoring Doctorate level research with Loughborough University to explore the relationship between personal and corporate values and sustainability performance on major construction projects
  • Providing the services of Shaun McCarthy, OBE, to act as a Non-Executive Director of IEMA and Chair of their Professional Standards Committee

Our current focus as a social enterprise is to build a global community of practice in sustainable procurement based on the international standard ISO 20400. This includes:

  • Funding and operating an interactive knowledge sharing platform iso20400.org
  • Building a community through social media and regular global webinars on subjects of interest to our audience
  • Working with an international steering group to shape the direction of our mission


ASCIC and Action Sustainability (Trading) Limited (ASTL) are sister companies, sharing Directors Shaun McCarthy OBE.and Ian Heptonstall, as co-Directors of ASCIC and ASTL respectively, provide additional expertise and knowledge to these organisations. A common goal across both organisations is to inspire sustainable procurement, which drives the agenda of their work.

ASCIC is primarily funded by donations from our sister company, Action Sustainability (Trading) Limited, as part of its social purpose to donate 2.5% of turnover to ASCIC, in addition to pro-bono work by our co-Director Shaun McCarthy , and the rest of our consultancy team.

Visit ISO20400.org now