Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v2.0


Download Category Executive Summaries

On one sheet, these summaries distill the key “take home” messages for each of the category guides, and provide an overview of the full chapter guidance. We expect them to be very useful to sustainable purchasing program leaders and champions as they prepare to engage buyers, budget holders, suppliers, and other category stakeholders. Members can access the summaries in the Resource Center of the online member community.

Non-members may download – for a limited time – select category Executive Summaries from SPLC Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing. Using the button below, anyone can download the summaries for:

  • Chemically Intensive Products (cleaning and sanitizing, paints and coatings, pest management, and landscaping and grounds)
  • IT Hardware & Services (computers, mobile phones, imaging equipment, and televisions) 
Download Executive Summaries


Member Login for Guidance v2.0 Request a Member Orientation   
Guidance v2.0 Launch Webinar Recording (1 hr)

Tour of the Guidance v2.0 Platform (8 mins)

Accessing the Guidance
The Guidance is hosted within the Resources section of SPLC’s online member community. Anyone with an email address administered by a member organization can self-register for an account. We plan to make excerpts available to non-members in the future. In the meantime, several resources are public, such as SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable PurchasingKey Factors and Solution Strategies Worksheets, and Sustainability Spend Analysis Tool Provider Tables

About the Guidance

Use SPLC’s Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing to help your organization understand and optimize the environmental, social, and economic performance of its purchasing. The Guidance contains two types of guidance: (1) program design guidance for organizations looking to build a strategic and leadership-capable Sustainable Purchasing Program, and (2) category guidance for those seeking to address key impacts and opportunities in specific areas of purchasing. 

The Guidance is based on the Council’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v1.0, which define what it means to be a responsible—principled—actor, as an organization and within the marketplace. Organizations in a wide variety of sectors and regions can follow the strategic process detailed in the Guidance to:

  • understand the sustainability impacts of their purchased goods and services,
  • identify actions that best address these priorities,
  • and benchmark progress toward goals.

The Guidance is a voluntary program that will serve as the basis for a benchmarking survey in 2016 and a rating system that rewards organizations for demonstrating leadership in sustainable purchasing, which will be piloted in 2017. 

What’s new in Guidance v2.0?

Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v2.0, which was released in June 2016, is an updated version of the Guidance v1.0 program. Guidance v2.0 incorporates feedback from the Guidance v1.0 Pilot Program, and focuses upon the following improvements:

  • Significant revisions of existing purchasing category sections, delivered as playbooks 
  • Development of new purchasing category sections
  • Expansion of spend analysis recommendations
  • Greater focus on implementation strategies
  • Improved access and ease of use via an online platform

Guidance v2.0 includes revisions to all Chapters of Guidance v1.0 but additional revisions of Chapters 2 and 3 are planned for the second half of 2016 (e.g., increased policy guidance, more spend analysis improvements, more case studies, etc). 

Overview of Guidance Contents


SPLC’s Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing is intended as a comprehensive handbook for organizations seeking to exercise leadership in sustainable purchasing. Because not all organizations will be starting from the same place, the Guidance supports organizations to iteratively grow their sustainable purchasing efforts into a comprehensive Sustainable Purchasing Program that enables the organization to take meaningful responsibility for all significant environmental, social, and economic consequences of its spending. Only by doing that, can an organization demonstrate genuine leadership.

The Guidance is organized in four chapters, which together provide a framework for the cross-functional collaboration necessary to build a strategic and leadership-capable Sustainable Purchasing Program.

  • Chapter 1: Background
    Provides an overview of sustainable purchasing and the strategic opportunity that it represents.
  • Chapter 2: Program Design
    Helps sustainable purchasing “champions” build strategic and leadership-capable Sustainable Purchasing Programs within their organizations.
  • Chapter 3: Program Operation
    Describes a continuous improvement process that cross-functional teams can employ to develop effective strategies to achieving specific environmental, social, and economic performance goals.
  • Chapter 4: Purchasing Category Guidance
    Offers guidance on how to apply this strategic thinking for specific categories of purchasing that may be priorities for a wide variety of organizations. (* indicates new sections in v2.0)

    • Chemically Intensive Products [Cleaning and Sanitizing Products for Facilities Care, Integrated Pest Management,* Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance,* Paints and Coatings*]
    • Construction and Renovation [Construction and Renovation Materials, Furnishings, Space Leasing*]
    • Electricity 
    • Food and Beverages for Food Services [Food Service Operations* and Food and Beverage Products]
    • IT Hardware and Services [Data Centers, Imaging Equipment, Mobile Phones, Personal Computers, Televisions]
    • Professional Services
    • Transportation and Fuels [Fuels, Institutional Vehicle Fleets, Local Delivery Service, Long-Haul Transport, Travel]
    • Wood and Agrifiber Products [Office Paper Products, Janitorial Paper Products*]

* New in Guidance v2.0