News Brief

A Rating System for Sustainable Purchasing

A new trade group seeks to replicate the success of LEED for those in the institutional procurement arena.

SPC's previous work includes a pilot project with STARS. The concluding report recommends expanding STAR's purchasing category to include more than paper, electronics, and cleaning supplies.

Yale University
New guidance and incentives from the Sustainable Purchasing Council (SPC) will encourage institutional buyers to incorporate green products into their procurement policies.

The group says it will promote cost-effective sustainable procurement practices and develop a rating system similar to LEED to recognize businesses that demonstrate leadership. By acknowledging businesses with green purchasing programs, SPC hopes to drive new competition based on sustainability. SPC steering committee members include representatives of UL Environment, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. General Services Administration.

SPC grew out of the Green Products Roundtable, a volunteer forum convened in 2008, which developed a prioritization framework using existing rating programs to help institutional buyers identify the ecological importance of green claims. The framework was designed to make economic sense, too, enabling businesses to reduce risk and waste.

SPC then partnered with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2012 to conduct a pilot project. The project strengthened the purchasing credits in AASHE’s STARS program, which rates the sustainability programs of colleges. SPC specifically advocated for performance-based credits and recommended including electricity and fuel in purchasing standards.

These recommendations could suggest the future direction of SPC, which will formally launch July 23, 2013.

Published June 27, 2013

Pearson, C. (2013, June 27). A Rating System for Sustainable Purchasing. Retrieved from

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January 17, 2014 - 4:17 pm

UPDATE: SPC has changed its name to the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) and is in the early stages of creating its first work products, according to Christina Macken, the program director for SPLC. The organization is aiming to release version 1.0 of its rating system by the end of 2015. We'll keep you updated!