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Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council UPDATE


Participate in SPLC's Commentary on EPA Draft Guidelines
Take-aways: Govt Procurement & Human Rights Workshop
Member Update Call (Today)
SPLC Café Call (Thursday at new time, 1pm ET)
Save 10-20% on Sustainability Conferences
Upcoming Presentations
Photo: Jason Pearson, Executive DirectorMessage from the
Executive Director

SPLC has hit the ground running in 2014 with program development. This week, the Principles TAG will hold its second meeting to continue refining the Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing, which will serve as the foundation for SPLC's guidance programs and rating system. Research has also begun on the various sustainable procurement programs and frameworks included in the Landscape Scan project, and we are preparing to submit comments to the US EPA on their proposed Draft Guidelines (see below).  In the coming months, we'll be seeking your thoughts on the revised Principles during a public comment period and the Landscape Scan via interviews and focus groups.

In parallel, the Steering Committee has been collaborating with the Founders Circle and general membership to finalize the founding Board of Directors (composed of both appointed and elected members) and the Strategic Advisory Council (an expert group which advises Board and staff). These two bodies will be formally appointed next week and will hold their first joint meeting in February.

Finally, we are experiencing increased interest in the Council along the entire supply chain, as purchasers and suppliers alike recognize the promise of our work. I just returned from an encouraging meeting of The Conference Board's Product Stewardship and Regulatory Affairs Council, and the SPLC will be prominently represented at a number of important upcoming events, including the GreenBiz Forum and the Sustainable Strategies Conference, as described below.

For those of you who are not yet members of the Council, we encourage you to sign up and get involved with our work! 

Jason Pearson

Jason Pearson, Executive Director

Participate in SPLC's Development of Commentary on EPA Draft Guidelines

US EPA logoIn February, SPLC will convene a multi-stakeholder group interested in discussing and providing joint comments on U.S. EPA's Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolables for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement.  Participation in the SPLC multi-stakeholder group includes overviews of the guidelines by EPA representatives and two separate discussions of the Guidelines for feedback generation on the questions requested by the EPA (see Section V). 

If you are interested in participating in SPLC's multi-stakeholder review group, please complete this form and Christina Macken, Program Director, will be in touch with next steps. 

If you do not want to join the discussion group but you have comments you would like the group to consider, we'll be collecting additional commentary by survey.  Please complete this form if you would like to be included in the survey. 

Report-back from US Dept of State Workshop on Government Procurement & Human Rights

Logo: US Department of StateThe US State Department's first ever workshop on government procurement and human rights took place on January 15th.  SPLC was invited to participate.  Here are a few take-aways:
  • The current administration firmly backs the implementation of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at home and abroad.  This has implications both for government procurement as well as its regulation of businesses' respect for human rights.
  • Increased attention to supply chain human rights issues, including human trafficking, conflict minerals, safe working conditions and labor rights, will continue while new areas of focus are being added, such as stopping human rights abuses by private security contractors and protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination.
  • The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable will soon be releasing a landscape scan of current human rights protections in use in federal procurement and opportunities to strengthen those practices.  A summary of the report is available now.
  • Speakers emphasized that t is committed to participating in and supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives as well. 
  • One of the UN Guiding Principles calls for better grievance and remedy mechanisms for victims of business-related abuse.  Labor unions and workers rights organizations raised concerns during the workshop about the failure of codes of conducts and compliance audit mechanisms to stop abuses or provide sufficient remedy.  This report by AFL-CIO report summarizes the types of concerns expressed.
  • Matt Swibel, of SPLC member Lockheed Martin, spoke on a panel about the need for multi-Tier and multi-sector coordination, and the value of external frameworks that support deeper supply chain investigation and relationship building.

Member Update Call (Today)

SPLC member logoEvery month, SPLC members are invited to tune into this call for an update on past, current and upcoming Council activities.  These calls include opportunities for members to give feedback, ask questions, and get answers.
When: Wednesday, January, 29th at 1pm ET
Registration Required

SPLC Café Call (Thursday at new time, 1pm ET)

SPLC Café is a series of topical Chatham House Rule dialogues between SPLC members.  


Is 'buying less’ always better?

Purchasers often take for granted that buying less (reducing consumption) is a more sustainable choice.We will discuss: 
Is ‘buying less’ (while retaining the same value delivery) always better from a social, environmental, and economic perspective? If not, is it better in most cases? Can we be specific about when 'buy less' is better? Is there more precise language for talking about these issues (e.g., resource intensity, effectiveness, waste reduction)? We hope this conversation can help inform the work of the Principles Technical Advisory Group.

Lead-off presenters:
     Jason Pearson, SPLC Executive Director 
     Matt Swibel, Lockheed Martin
     Alicia Culver, Responsible Purchasing Network
     Yalmaz Siddiqui, Office Depot
When: Thursday, January, 30th at 1pm ET Note new time!
Registration Required

Save 10-20% on Sustainability Conferences

We are pleased that our efforts to contribute programming to leading sustainable business conferences is resulting not only in exposure for SPLC and our message, but also in opportunities for our audience to participate in those events at reduced registrations fees.  We hope many of you will be able to take advantage of one of these opportunities to engage, learn and network:  

GreenBiz Forum logoSave 10% on registration with code GBF14SPLC when you register here.  The draft Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing that we workshopped at last year's Forum are now being finalized by SPLC's Principles TAG.  This year, SPLC Board Chair Yalmaz Siddiqui will be leading a workshop on defining best practices in sustainable purchasing by large institutions.  Just like last year, we fully expect the outcomes will inform the Council's technical development work.

Sustainable Strategies Conference, April 16-18 at Miami Beach Convention Center Save 20% when you email John Rosser for the SPLC discount registration instructions.  SPLC is curating a sustainable procurement track for the conference, which will include sessions offered by SPLC members and staff, as well as other organizations.  Topics will include evaluating credible  product claims, supplier-buyer partnerships, spend analysis and metrics, among others.

Sustainable Brands, San Diego, June 2-5Save 20% on registration with the code NWsplcSB14sd.  We contributed to a session on "The State of Sustainable Procurement" at SB2013.  Our contributions for SB2014 are still in the works.  

Upcoming & Recent Presentations

Council staff and members are actively promoting the Council and its work to a variety of stakeholders. More information about each of these presentations is available on the Council's website.
1/22 Green Goods: How to Create Sustainable County Purchasing NACo
1/27-29 Product Stewardship & Regulatory Affairs Council Meeting Conference Board
2/18-20 Sustainable Purchasing by Large Institutions: Defining Best Practices GreenBiz Forum
3/3-4 Sustainable Purchasing: Developing a "LEED for Purchasing" SSC
4/16-18 Sustainable Strategies Conference Sustainatopia
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Thank you to our Founders...
American University
Apex Clean Energy
Arizona State University
Bloomberg LP
Caesars Entertainment
California State, Department of General Services
The CarbonNeutral Company
CIPS Sustainability Index
Emory University
Ernst & Young
FairTrade USA
GreenCircle Certified
GreenCircle Certified
Lockheed Martin
Michigan State University
State of Michigan
State of Minnesota, PCA & MMS
Government of Nova Scotia
Office Depot
City of Portland, OR
Portland Community College
City of San Francisco
SCS Global Services
Social Hotspots Database Project
UL Environment
US Department of Agriculture
US Department of Energy
US Environmental Protection Agency
City of Washington DC
Waste Management

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