Where we started Social value at our heart

Initially a social enterprise funded by DEFRA, Action Sustainability Community Interest Company (ASCIC) was tasked with disseminating the work of the UK Government’s Sustainable Procurement Task force.

We quickly became the “go to” resource for sustainable procurement. In 2011, we teamed up with Business Enterprise Group to form Action Sustainability Trading Ltd in 2012. The business has since thrived, and in 2016 Ian Heptonstall and Shaun McCarthy bought out the remaining shares and are now sole owners of the business.

Also in 2016, we teamed up with Mark Lyster, Jean-Louis Haie and Danielle Mulder to form Action Sustainability Asia Pacific based in Sydney. Alistair Coulstock has since joined that business and Danielle has joined our business in the UK. The UK trading company donates 2.5% of its revenue (regardless of profit) to ASCIC, whose mission is to build the body of knowledge around sustainable procurement.

Where we're at The last ten years

  • We consider ourselves leaders in everything we do.
  • Action Sustainability has instigated a wave of best practice in sustainable procurement; through our early work with DEFRA, our role as technical authors of sustainable procurement standard BS 8903, and more recently through the international standard ISO 20400.
  • We use our not for profit business to create a knowledge sharing resource www.iso20400.org
  • We believe in a holistic and collaborative approach to sustainability and have invested in leading edge initiatives and tools such as Supply Chain School and our Sustainability Tool to back that commitment.
  • Our consultancy clients have won numerous awards and achieved recognition for their achievements with our help.
  • We are about action, we are about sustainability. There is a clue in the title.

2006-2008

We founded the business and worked with DEFRA to promote the work of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force whilst at the same time building a portfolio of consultancy clients. We worked with the Centre for Sustainable Design with EU funding to deliver a sustainable innovation programme, and with London Remade to deliver the Mayor’s Green Procurement Code.

2009-2011

In 2009 we were appointed technical authors to develop the world’s first standard for sustainable procurement practice, BS 8903, which was published in 2010.

2012-2014

Action Sustainability Trading Ltd was established with Ian Heptonstall, Shaun McCarthy and Business Enterprise Group. We established the Supply Chain School in 2012 and were honoured to be recognised as overall winners of the Supply Management Awards, supported by CIPS, for our work with the Supply Chain School. Shaun McCarthy was honoured with an OBE for services to sustainability and London 2012 in Her Majesty the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honours List.

2015-2017

Shaun and Ian became sole owners of Action Sustainability Trading Ltd. We grew the Supply Chain School to become a leading collaboration in the UK and Australia. We opened a business in Australia. We led the UK and Australian delegations to develop ISO 20400.