Sustainable procurement is a holistic concept that takes into consideration the social, economic, and environmental impacts of purchasing and sourcing decisions. In this way, sustainable procurement has a triple botton line goal of people, profit, and planet. The results of a Trends Analysis Report of supply chain greenhouse gas inventories that estimates emissions associated with procuring goods and services from public agencies and universities indicate that nearly 40% of higher education institutions' total emissions result from their supply chain. These emissions arise at every stage along the supply chain, including extraction of raw materials, production, manufacturing, packaging, transportation and distribution. Further emissions result throughout the life cycle of a product or service, from its use, reuse, operation, maintenance, and disposal.
The UC Sustainable Practices Policy establishes environmentally preferable purchasing policies and procedures, that UC Santa Barbara is committed to meeting or exceeding through its own Sustainable Procurement and Use Practices in alignment with budgetary, regulatory, and programmatic contraints. As noted in the Policy, environmentally preferable purchasing underlies and enables all other areas of sustainable practice, so the UC will maximize its procurement of environmentally preferable products and services. According to Executive Order 13693, "environmentally preferable," refers to products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose, taking into consideration the entire product life cycle.