SPLC Turns Three – Reflecting and Looking Forward

As summer 2016 draws to a close, we celebrate the first three years of SPLC programs.

Reflecting on Our Progress
Three years ago, nearly to the day, sixty-five representatives from SPLC’s founding members and partners met at our Founding Summit at the National Academy of Sciences in DC to discuss how a new nonprofit could most effectively advance leadership in sustainable purchasing. I’m pleased to say that many of the items members put on the Council’s roadmap that day are either complete or well under way:

  • We’ve convened a vibrant leadership community of practice, and supported it with in-person meetings, online networking, and knowledge-sharing infrastructure.
  • We created a balanced governance and membership structure that enables input from key stakeholders at more than 160 member organizations.
  • We published a shared definition of leadership in sustainable purchasing in the form of five Principles.
  • We conducted an extensive review of existing sustainable purchasing guidance as part of identifying the best action planning, sustainability spend analysis and product/service category guidance to reference and include in the Council’s Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v2.0.
  • We are in the process of launching a System for Benchmarking Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing, which will allow organizations in any sector to self-assess and benchmark their sustainable purchasing activities. This system will inform the Rating System for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing SPLC will pilot in 2017.
  • Along the way, the Council has become a platform for collaborative projects through which members develop solutions to shared challenges, such as the Committee on Supplier Ratings and the Supplier Development Working Group.
  • And, the Council is bringing greater attention to sustainable purchasing leadership via its Leadership Awards, Case Study Library, and hundreds of presentations at conferences, meetings, and on webinars.

These are achievements for us all to be proud of, and they are a testament to the vision of our founding members, the contributions of all of SPLC’s members, partners, and funders, and the hard work of SPLC’s dedicated staff. The SPLC could not have achieved such success without the collaboration and constructive engagement of this vibrant community of purpose. Thank you to everyone who has participated in our work.

Looking Forward
Throughout this work, we have pursued a dual mission: 1) to address shared sustainable purchasing challenges with shared solutions (our “member service” mission); and 2) to promote sustainable market transformation through collective action (our “public interest” mission). As we collectively reflect on SPLC’s work to date and look forward to the work ahead, we invite your input on a question that we grapple with on a daily basis: How can we deliver most effectively on this dual mission?

As a member service organization…

  • Are there shared challenges that we are failing to address?
  • Are there opportunities to create shared solutions that we are missing?
  • Are there missing resources that we could provide to support purchasers’ leadership?

As a public interest organization…

  • Are there ways we could more effectively leverage current momentum to accelerate market transformation?
  • Are there key issues or campaigns that we could more actively support through our work?
  • Are there civil society partners with whom we should be more directly engaged?

We want to hear from you on these questions. For those of you who are members, please feel free to contribute your thoughts within the online Community Forum. For those who are not yet members, please feel free to email us at info@sustainablepurchasing.org.

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