Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Awards

Photo of award recipients

Get the recognition you deserve

SPLC’s annual Leadership Awards recognizes public and private sector organizations for leveraging their purchasing power to advance the long-term health and vitality of society, economies, and the planet.

Submission Timeline

We accept case study submissions year-round. To be considered for the 2019 Awards, please follow these deadlines:

March 8th, 2019: Deadline for 2019 consideration

April 19, 2019: Case Study Award Winners notified via email

May 22, 2019: Awards Banquet at 2019 Summit in Portland, OR



How to Apply

Organizational AwardsStep 1: DownloadSubmission InstructionsStep 2: Submit YourCase Study Here
Individual AwardsNominate anIndividual Leader Here 

Award Types

  • Organizational Leadership Awards

    All case study submissions that meet pre-defined quality criteria will earn an Outstanding Case Study award. This ensures that the effort required to produce a high quality case study will be rewarded for every high quality submission. A small number of purchasers, suppliers, and public interest advocates will be selected by a blue-ribbon jury for special recognition. See below for award categories.

  • Individual Leadership Awards

    SPLC’s Individual Leadership Award recognizes one or more individuals whose vision, leadership, and dedicated effort have been fundamental to the advancement of the sustainable purchasing movement.

See Past Winners:

Holistic Sustainability Leadership: More than Just Environmental
We strongly encourage the submission of presentation proposals that challenge the common misconception that “sustainability” is just about the environment. Peruse SPLC’s Key Factors Affecting Sustainable Purchasing worksheet to see a list of some of the many social, environmental, economic, and ethical aspects of sustainable purchasing. Here are a few prompts to spur your thinking:

  • Can you share how you are evaluating social and ethical risks in your supply base? Beyond Tier 1?
  • Have you challenged your suppliers to put in place anti-discrimination and affirmative hiring practices?
  • How have you addressed human rights concerns, such as conflict minerals and human trafficking?
  • Has your procurement helped prevent corruption?
  • Do you have a story of how you’ve increased transparency in your supply chain?
  • Have you connected your purchasing to local economic development that improves the community in which you operate?
  • Have you worked to develop the sustainability competency and capabilities of small, medium and diverse suppliers?
  • Have you found a way to support workers’ rights in your supply chain?

Award Categories – Juried Awards

Purchaser Awards

Overall Program
Recognizes a purchaser organization whose overall sustainable purchasing program exemplifies the qualities defined in SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing.
Special Initiative
Recognizes a purchaser organization whose work with a specific purchasing category, issue, or supplier demonstrates exceptional leadership in improving the environmental, social, and economic performance of its organization and supply chain.
Engaging Suppliers
Recognizes a purchasing organization that has done an exceptional job of motivating and helping to develop high sustainability performance by its suppliers.
Business Case
Recognizes the case study that best demonstrates the business value generated by sustainable purchasing.

Supplier Award

Supplier Leadership

Recognizes a Supplier Role whose actions have enabled institutional purchasers to better understand and take responsibility for the consequences of their spending. 

Note that this award is not intended to showcase specific products or services – therefore, supplier leadership case study submissions should NOT focus on the benefits of specific products or services. Case studies that primarily tout new/better products or services may be disqualified. *

Public Interest Advocate Award

Public Interest Advocate Leadership
Recognizes a public interest advocate organization whose actions have enabled institutional purchasers to better understand and take responsibility for the consequences of their spending; and/or who facilitate market transformation towards sustainability.

Individual Award

Individual Leadership
Recognizes one or more individuals whose vision, leadership, and dedicated effort have been fundamental to the advancement of the sustainable purchasing movement. Nominations for the Individual Award can be made by the individual themselves, and/or by another person or organization.

Sponsored Awards

Circular Economy Award


sponsored by
Recognizes the case study that best demonstrates sustainable purchasing’s ability to promote and realize the circular economy.

Contribution Awards

Outstanding Case Study

Recognizes the contribution leaders make when they pause to document and share their work with others. This award is given to all high quality case studies submitted that meet our “outstanding case study” criteria (below). Organizations may submit multiple case studies for consideration, including case studies previously produced for other purposes. All case studies winning this award will be formatted to meet SPLC’s templates, and added to the SPLC Case Study Library, which is cross-linked with SPLC’s Guidance

Sponsor a Leadership Award
Summit Sponsors at the Presenting, Gold, and Silver levels may choose one of SPLC’s Leadership Awards to present during the Summit’s Awards Dinner. Sponsors will have the opportunity to make executive remarks as part of the award presentation. Choice of award is first come, first served.

Case Study Quality Criteria

A case study will meet our outstanding case study criteria if it:

  • Exemplifies one or more of SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing; and
  • Tells the story (from start to finish, including lessons learned) of a coherent set of activities that led to…
  • … measurable results in terms of environmental, social, and economic performance of purchasing;
  • Describes implemented strategies with specificity (How were strategies chosen? How do/did strategies work in practice?).
  • Uses easy-to-read formatting, (e.g., headings, bullets, “lessons learned” boxes);
  • Has visuals, if appropriate (e.g., charts, graphics, tables, or photos);
  • [For Suppliers and Public Interest Advocates Only] Demonstrates how the activities described enabled a specific organization or group of organizations to measurably improve the environmental, social, and economic performance of their purchasing.*

Frequently Asked Questions

See our Awards FAQ page.