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fedex-truckWASHINGTON DC: A group of leaders from government, industry, academia, standards organizations and NGOs have formed the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) to solve a lack of standardization in sustainable purchasing.

The Council says it will help its members optimize their purchasing for maximum benefit to themselves, society and the planet.

SPLC's founding members include FedEx, Office Depot, Dell, Waste Management, Ecolab, the cities of San Francisco and Washington DC, the states of California and Minnesota, Arizona State and Michigan State universities, UL Environment, and FairTradeUSA.

Founding partners include the American National Standards Institute, Institute for Supply Management, National Association of State Procurement Officers, Practice GreenHealth and the Product Stewardship Institute.

SPLC has released tools for use by procurement and sustainability professionals including a set of principles for leadership in sustainable purchasing.

By the end of the year the council will release an analytics buyer guide and training curricula to help organizations measure the social and environmental impacts associated with their spending. This will be followed by 2014 by action-planning guidance for redirecting spending to lower-impact solutions and solicitation-ready templates for a number of high priority product and service categories.

Kevin Lyons, professor of supply chain management at Rutgers University and its former Chief Procurement Officer commented: "Many long-timers in the sustainable purchasing movement have dreamed of having a multi-stakeholder, multi-sector space for collaborating to refine our efforts. I'm thrilled to be able to say that dream is becoming a reality."

Alison Kinn Bennett, EPA's senior advisor for product sustainability added: "Sustainable purchasing touches on nearly every environmental and public health issue confronted by EPA. We recognize these aren't issues that can be solved by scientists and policymakers alone. EPA is thrilled to see such a diverse group of stakeholders coming together to bring greater clarity, consistency, and recognition to sustainable purchasing."

Jason Pearson, the SPLC executive director noted: "The average procurement professional facilitates hundreds of dollars in spending for every one dollar spent by the average consumer. By removing confusion and providing credible standards, guidance and recognition, we will empower purchasers to lead our economy's transition to sustainability.

"Some categories of purchasing cause way more supply chain environmental impacts than others," Pearson said. "It is our job, as a council, to help purchasers to understand the relative importance of different actions in order to help them to prioritize effectively—to be leaders—in meeting their sustainability objectives."

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