Overview

Founding Summit photo

Founding Summit, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, August 27th

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future.

Founded in 2013, SPLC convenes buyers, suppliers, and public interest advocates to develop programs that simplify and standardize sustainable purchasing efforts by large organizations. For SPLC, sustainability includes social, economic, and environmental stewardship. Sustainable purchasing is purchasing that builds healthy communities, economies, and environments all along local and global supply chains.

The Council has attracted, from a wide variety of sectors and regions, more than 180 members with over $300 billion in collective purchasing power. In 2016, SPLC released Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v2.0, which has been called the “most comprehensive literature to date” on sustainable purchasing. SPLC BENCHMARK℠ is a program released in 2017 that enables diverse organizations to assess their own sustainable purchasing activities against the recommendations in SPLC’s Guidance and to benchmark the maturity of their sustainable purchasing activities against those of other organizations. More than one hundred organizations are now using SPLC’s Guidance, trainings, tools, and online community of practice to implement strategic sustainable purchasing programs.

The Council’s programs and community of practice help organizations:

  • prioritize opportunities to influence the social, environmental and economic life cycle impacts of purchased goods and services,
  • identify existing leadership standards and approaches that address these priorities,
  • benchmark progress toward goals, and
  • receive recognition for advancement.

The Council was initiated by The Keystone Center’s Green Products Roundtable, which supported the initial pilot project for the Council.  The shift from “green” to “sustainable” terminology signals the Council’s intention to support institutional purchasers in optimizing the social, environmental and economic benefits of spending decisions.  Read more about the History of the Council.

Structure & Programs

Reflecting its multi-stakeholder origins, the Council is structured as a collaborative space in which many organizations and individuals come together to enhance clarity, consistency and coordination around sustainability in the institutional procurement marketplace.  The independent, non-profit and non-governmental Council oversees a number of programmatic activities. Some of these activities are directly initiated and executed by the Council, while some are undertaken in collaboration with partners.

Leadership

The Council is managed by the Executive Director with oversight from a Board of Directors that is partially elected by the membership.  The governance of the Council is designed to ensure the maintenance of a balanced representation of stakeholders, especially purchasers, suppliers and public interest advocates.