UC recognized for leadership in sustainable purchasing

On May 16th, the University of California Procurement Services received the prestigious Outstanding Case Study Award for its “Sustainable Procurement Policy Updates, Quantitative Metrics, Governance Structures and Approval” case study from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC).

This Policy case study highlights how the University of California (UC) undertook a complete rewrite and consensus approval process for its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy (Policy) over the past two years. This process involved stakeholders from all ten locations within the UC system, as well as stakeholders from impacted departments.

Changes to the UC Policy include a broadened focus with an emphasis on Economically and Socially Responsible (EaSR) procurement practices to increase diverse and minority-owned suppliers, fair labor and trade practices, and overall societal benefits. Actions will include identification techniques like flagging green products and EaSR suppliers in purchasing technology platforms.

New quantitative goals in the Policy include measuring EaSR, green spend, and indirect savings (“the dollar not spent”), along with establishing minimum sustainability criteria to evaluate and encourage ongoing improvement in supplier practices. And, the updated governance structure creates accountability and reporting among UC Procurement leadership and staff for setting targets and measuring results.

This Policy update illustrates the UC’s dedication to systemwide progress on identifiable and quantifiable sustainable procurement goals. This effort, along with implementing organizational efficiencies throughout the supply chain, harnessing economies of scale and scope in purchasing, and creating a shared vision for sustainability and efficiency systemwide, have put the UC at the forefront of institutional efforts in sustainable procurement.