A Message from the SPLC Staff in Response to the 2016 US Election

Today we write collectively, as a staff, to reflect on the results of the 2016 US election and their implications for the work of SPLC.

During his campaign, President-elect Trump communicated messages that troubled many of us deeply, as American citizens and as members of global civil society. President-elect Trump promised to withdraw the United States from key agreements, relationships, and institutions that have been the basis of international collaboration on the most pressing global environmental, social, and economic challenges of our time: exactly the challenges that we collaboratively seek to address through sustainable purchasing. The President-elect’s campaign left many individuals and communities in the US and abroad feeling vulnerable in a way that feels at odds with our members’ efforts to actively respect and protect human rights and dignity. And President-elect Trump has specifically targeted the Executive Orders of the Obama administration, some of which have been a primary mechanism for federal leadership on sustainable procurement over the last eight years.

While it is too early to predict exactly how federal policies and practices will change under a new administration, we can be sure that there will be changes and that those changes will likely influence our collective efforts, in the US and abroad, to advance leadership in sustainable purchasing. However, it is not too early to affirm that…

Some things will not change.

    1. OPPORTUNITY. Purchasing by organizations remains the single largest, professionally-managed demand signal shaping the global economy.
      SPLC will continue to work with professionals who influence this demand in order to send transformative signals throughout global supply chains. New legislation or regulations are not required to leverage this opporunity, which will accelerate the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future.
    2. DIVERSITY. Leadership will continue to come from organizations in every sector and region.
      SPLC is a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, multi-regional, and multi-jurisdictional community of leaders precisely because SPLC’s founders recognized that successfully transforming the sustainability of our global economy cannot be achieved by any single entity. We will continue to work to align efforts across sectors, regions, and stakeholder groups, so that we can collectively achieve meaningful market transformation.
    3. MOMENTUM. The sustainable purchasing movement is growing into a potent force for change.
      We continue to encounter more and more professionals at ever-larger organizations who are eager to leverage their organization’s purchasing power to advance sustainability and who are excited to find a community that can support them in taking action. In three short years, SPLC’s annual convening of this unique community has grown from 65 attendees to 350, and we expect well over 400 at the 2017 Summit, May 8-10th in Denver! Whatever the direction of US federal policy, we feel certain that this community will continue to grow in size and influence.
    4. VALUES. Our values and definition of leadership in sustainable purchasing will not change.
      SPLC members share values, which were formalized in SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing: Understanding. Commitment. Results. Transparency. Innovation. We remain committed to those values, and we will continue to advance those values in our work with all of you.
    5. INNOVATION. We will continue to innovate together.
      Since at least the 1930s, values-based procurement has been a consistent catalyst for positive change in the United States. The labor movement’s innovative use of procurement to advance worker safety and minimum wages laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights movement to promote – via procurement – Equal Opportunity Employment and supplier diversity. The environmental movement’s innovative use of chain-of-custody certification in response to rapid globalization of the forest products industry in the 1990s served, in the 2000s, as a model and rallying cry for those calling on companies to stop buying conflict minerals. From day one, SPLC has been committed to identifying and spreading the most innovative sustainable purchasing solutions. Whatever challenges may come, we offer SPLC as a platform to find and incubate innovations for the future.

For those of you who are members, we thank you for your vision and investment in SPLC as an independent platform for growing a strong, multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, and multi-regional sustainable purchasing movement. 

Sincerely,
The SPLC Staff

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