Procurement Services

Policies and Procedures

  • Procurement observes the Sustainable Procurement policies established in the UC Sustainable Practices Policy (see below), UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines, as well as UCSB's Sustainable Procurement and Use Practices
  • Gateway catalogs support supplier-provided “green” flags to identify manufacturer-identified product sustainability attributes
  • Gateway provides supplier class flags to identify small, diverse, or minority owned businessed that support our economy and small business program
  • Gateway provides a supplier class flag to identify suppliers who have gone through a sustainability assessment with the UC-contracted third party partner
  • Gateway allows users to filter hosted catalog query results by “green," "recycled," and "Energy Star" flags (if provided by suppliers), or by supplier class flags


UC Sustainable Procurement Policy (rev. 2018)


Addressable Spend: Spend that can be impacted through sourcing activities. For the purposes of this policy, addressable spend relates to the spend within a specific product or service category.

Economically and Socially Responsible (EaSR) Spend: Spend on products or services supplied by a business holding one of the UC-recognized certifications listed in the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.[1]

Environmentally preferable products: Designation for those products whose manufacture, use, and disposal results in relatively less environmental harm than comparable products.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS):  As defined by the City of San Francisco, blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams which are thermoplastic petrochemical materials utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by any number of techniques including but not limited to, fusion of polymer spheres (expanded bead polystyrene), injection molding, foam molding, and extrusion-blown molding (extruded foam polystyrene).

Green Spend: Spend on products meeting the UC “Preferred Level” of environmental sustainability criteria as laid out in the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.[2]

Location: As used in this Policy, means any or all campuses, medical centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as referred to in the “Scope” above.

Policy Exception Authority: The responsible authority for granting exceptions to item III.G.5.a. in the Sustainable Procurement section of this Policy will be the Chief Procurement Officer for a non-UC Health systemwide or Office of the President contract and otherwise by the senior procurement officer of the campus.

Post-Consumer Waste (PCW): Waste produced by the end-user of a product. Post-consumer waste is differentiated from pre-consumer waste, which refers to waste produced in the manufacture of a product.

Required Level Green Spend criteria: The minimum certification standard required for a product or service category. Required Level Green Spend criteria is laid out in the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.[4]

Solicitation: The process of seeking information, bid proposals, and quotations from suppliers.

Strategic sourcing: A process designed to maximize the purchasing power of large, decentralized organizations, such as the University of California, by consolidating and leveraging common purchases.

Sustainable Procurement: [Modified from the UK Government’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force (2012)] Purchasing that takes into account the economic, environmental and socially responsible requirements of an entity’s spending. Sustainable Procurement allows organizations to procure their goods and services in a way that achieves value for money on a whole-life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society and the economy, while remaining within the carrying capacity of the environment.

Sustainable Spend: The intersection of Green and Economically and Socially Responsible (EaSR) Spend. UC Sustainable Spend is defined as spend that meets the criteria and requirements for Green Spend as well as EaSR Spend as laid out in the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.

Takeback program: A program that allows customers to return used products or materials to either the producer or distributor for responsible re-use or recycling consistent with applicable state and federal laws. These programs encourage responsible design for disassembly and recyclability, and protect the environment by keeping bulky or toxic products and packaging out of the waste stream.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): An analysis of cost that considers not only purchase price, but also any costs associated with the acquisition, use, and disposal of the product. These costs may include some or all of the following: freight, taxes and fees, installation, operation/energy use, maintenance, warranty, collection, end-of-life disposal or recycling, as well as social or environmental costs, such as the cost of purchasing pollution offsets or monitoring labor practices.

Zero waste: The University zero waste goal is made up of incremental waste reduction and waste diversion targets. The University recognizes the attainment of reduction goals stated in this Policy and a 90% diversion of municipal solid waste as minimum compliance standard to be defined as a zero waste for locations other than Health Locations.

[1],2,3,4 University of California. 2018. The University of California’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.


The University of California (“University”) is committed to responsible stewardship of resources and to demonstrating leadership in sustainable business practices. The University’s locations should be living laboratories for sustainability, contributing to the research and educational mission of the University, consistent with available funding and safe operational practices. 

Sustainable Procurement

Recognizing the substantial impact that procurement decisions have on the environment, society, and the economy, the University of California will maximize its procurement of sustainable products and services. The goals outlined throughout these policy and procedures sections shall be applied within the constraints of research needs and budgetary requirements and in compliance with all applicable rules, regulations and laws.

  1. The University values the health and wellbeing of its students, staff, faculty, visitors, and suppliers. The University seeks to provide healthy and accessible conditions for the communities it serves and this will be considered as a fundamental factor when making procurement decisions. Where functional alternatives to harmful products or impacts exist, they are to be strongly preferred.
  2. Per III. F. 1.., the University prioritizes waste reduction in the following order: reduce, reuse, and then recycle. Accordingly, sustainable procurement will look to reduce unnecessary purchasing first, then prioritize purchase of surplus or multiple use products, before looking at recyclable or compostable products.
  3.  The University’s sustainable purchasing requirements are[1]:
    1. 100% compliance with Required Level Green Spend criteria within three (3) fiscal years of the addition of those products and/or product categories to the Guidelines.
    2. 25% Green Spend as a total percentage of spend per product category; target to be reached within three (3) fiscal years after a category is added to the Guidelines.
    3. 25% Economically and Socially Responsible Spend as a total percentage of addressable spend; target to be reached within five (5) fiscal years of adoption of this section in the Guidelines.
  4. The University’s sustainable purchasing reporting requirements are:
    1. Reporting on percent Green Spend beginning at the close of the first full Fiscal Year after a category is added to the Guidelines.
    2. Reporting on percent Economically and Socially Responsible Spend beginning at the close of Fiscal Year 2018/19.
    3. Reporting on percent Sustainable Spend will be piloted by UCOP beginning at the close of Fiscal Year 2018/19.
  5. Each University’s Procurement department will integrate sustainability into its processes and practices, including competitive solicitations, in order to satisfy the sustainable purchasing goals outlined above for products, as well as for the procurement of services. The University will do so by:
    1. Allocating a minimum of 15% of the points utilized in solicitation evaluations to sustainability criteria. Criteria may include, but is not limited to, sustainable product attributes, supplier diversity, supplier practices, contributions to health and wellbeing, and materials safety. This requirement will go into effect on July 1st, 2019. Exceptions to this policy may only be granted by the appropriate Policy Exception Authority. Decisions to grant an exception shall be made in the context of a locations need to support teaching, research and public service when there is a demonstrable case that the inclusion of a minimum of 15% of the points utilized in solicitation evaluation for sustainability criteria will conflict with the project teams ability to execute a competitive solicitation.
    2. Supporting outreach, education and providing equal access to small, diverse, and disadvantaged suppliers for all applicable University procurement opportunities in accordance with BUS-43 policy.
    3. Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership when evaluating costs for goods and services in the selection of suppliers, whenever feasible.[2]
    4. Targeting sustainable products and services for volume-discounted pricing to make less competitive or emerging sustainable products and services cost-competitive with conventional products and services.
    5. Leveraging its purchasing power and market presence to develop sustainable product and service options where not already available.
    6. Requiring packaging for all products procured by the University be designed, produced, and distributed to the end user in a sustainable manner.
    7. Contracting with suppliers of products (e.g. electronics, furniture, lab consumables) that have established (preferably non-manufacturer specific) end-of-life reuse, recycling, and/or takeback programs at no extra cost to the University, and in compliance with applicable federal, state, and University regulations regarding waste disposal.
    8. Requiring sustainability related purchasing claims to be supported with UC-recognized certifications and/or detailed information on proven benefits, durability, recycled content, and recyclability properties, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Green Guides for the use of environmental marketing claims.
    9. Working with its suppliers to achieve greater transparency and sustainable outcomes throughout the supply chain. This may include maximizing the procurement of products that optimize use of resources from extraction through manufacturing and distribution (e.g. EPA’s SmartWay Program).
  6. All procurement staff will consult the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines document for minimum mandatory sustainability requirements to be included in solicitations for a given product or service category.

[1] Detailed criteria for Green Spend, Economically and Socially Responsible (EaSR) Spend, and their combined intersection, Sustainable Spend, can be found in the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines (Guidelines); University of California. 2018. The University of California’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.

[2] Public Contract Code§ 10507.8 states: “As provided for in this article, when the University of California determines that it can expect long-term savings through the use of life-cycle cost methodology, the use of more sustainable goods and materials, and reduced administrative costs, the lowest responsible bidder may be selected on the basis of the best value to the university. In order to implement this method of selection, the Regents of the University of California shall adopt and publish policies and guidelines for evaluating bidders that ensure that best value selections by the university are conducted in a fair and impartial manner.”


  1. This section V.G. shall be applied within the constraints of research needs and budgetary requirements and in compliance with applicable rules, regulations and laws.
  2. The University will work to remove harmful chemicals from products brought onto campus by increasing the purchase of products and materials that disclose known hazards (e.g. in compliance with the requirements of LEED BD+C v4 Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients - or updated equivalent) and choosing products with reduced concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment.
  3. The University will require suppliers to clearly identify products with UC-recognized certifications, as defined by the Guidelines, in both hosted and punchout catalog e-procurement environments.
    1. Commodity/Contract Managers will work with all contracted suppliers to ensure that contract items that meet the UC criteria for Green and EaSR Spend as outlined in the Guidelines will be prioritized in all product searches.
    2. Unless locations request otherwise, products that do not meet the University’s minimum criteria requirements will be blocked in all hosted catalogs and punchout catalogs upon contract award.
  4. The University will require all strategically sourced suppliers to report annually on their sustainable business operations, and quarterly on the University’s sustainable purchasing activity. Quarterly sustainable spend reports will be collected by the appropriate University of California Procurement Services department. Quarterly spend reports must be filterable, include all products and services purchased, use an Excel compatible software, include information on a single sheet and include the following fields:
    1. Campus
    2. Department and/or delivery location
    3. SKU and/or manufacturer number
    4. Item description
    5. 8-digit UNSPSC code
    6. Product category/Title of UNSPSC code
    7. Quantity
    8. Unit of measure
    9. Price
    10. Third-party sustainability attribute or certification as recognized in the Guidelines
  5. UC locations, not including UC Health locations or the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, will report annually to the UC Office of the President (UCOP) their percent Green Spend and EaSR Spend for product and service categories defined in the Guidelines. For the first two (2) years of reporting, reports on Green Spend will include at minimum a location's share of products purchased from system wide strategically sourced suppliers, with reports to be provided by the suppliers to UCOP and locations. EaSR Spend reporting will be compiled at the campus level, with the support of UCOP. Reports will be reviewed by each location for accuracy and signed by the location’s Chief Procurement Officer, with reporting due 60 days after fiscal close. Reporting procedures will be reviewed after two (2) years of reporting under this policy.
  6. The University Standards for all packaging materials will be outlined in all solicitations. Suppliers will be required to demonstrate how their standards and practices for packaging materials meet the UC Standards.
    1. Additional consideration in bid evaluations will be given to suppliers who meet more than one criteria listed in 8 (a) - (e) for packaging, and with preference given to bids meeting 8 (b).
  7. In accordance with section III.F.5., the University has disallowed the use of expanded plastic foam materials (such as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Expanded Polyethylene (EPE), Expanded Polyurethane and expanded plastic foam hybrids) by 2020.
  8. The University requires that all packaging be compliant with the Toxics in Packaging Prevention Act (AB 455) as to be free of any intentionally introduced lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium, and containing no incidental concentrations of these regulated metals greater than 100 parts per million (ppm) by weight. In addition, the University requires that all packaging meet at least one of the criteria listed below:
    1. Uses bulk packaging;
    2. Uses reusable packaging (e.g. totes reused by delivery service for next delivery);
    3. Uses innovative packaging that reduces the weight of packaging, reduces packaging waste, or utilizes packaging that is a component of the product;
    4. Maximizes recycled content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines;
    5. Uses locally recyclable or certified compostable material.
  9. Suppliers, when interacting with the University, shall be prohibited from providing hard copies of presentations or other materials. Suppliers will be required to present all information in electronic format that is easily transferable to University staff, who may choose to print their own copies in accordance with UC Policy if necessary. Materials may be provided if specifically required or requested by a UC representative.

All recyclers of the University’s electronic equipment must be e-Steward certified by the Basel Action Network (BAN) ( In cases where the University has established take-back programs with a manufacturer, the University will encourage the manufacturer to become a BAN-certified e-Steward Enterprise (e-Stewards for Enterprises).


A. Implementation of the Policy

The Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer is the Responsible Officer for this Policy. The UC Sustainability Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer, provides oversight for all aspects of the Policy.

B. Revisions to the Policy

The President is the approver of this Policy and has the authority to approve or delegate the approval of revisions to the Policy.

The systemwide Working Group corresponding to each section of the Policy recommends Policy revisions to the UC Sustainability Steering Committee and Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer.  Proposed previsions accepted by the UC Sustainability Steering Committee and the Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer shall then be recommended to the President for approval or to the appropriate delegated authority, as stated above.

The Sustainable Practices Policy will be reviewed, at a minimum, once every three years with the intent of developing and strengthening implementation provisions and assessing the influence of the Policy on existing facilities and operations, new capital projects, plant operating costs, fleet and transportation services, and accessibility, mobility, and livability. The University will provide for ongoing active participation of students, faculty, administrators, and external representatives in further development and implementation of this Policy.

C. Compliance with the Policy

Chancellors and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director are responsible for implementation of the Policy in the context of individual building projects, facilities operations, etc.  An assessment of location achievements with regard to the Policy is detailed in an annual report to the Regents.  The internal audit department may conduct periodic audits to assess compliance with this Policy. (Annual Report on Sustainable Practices).

D. Reporting

On an annual basis, the President will report to the Regents’ Committee on Grounds and Buildings on the University’s sustainability efforts in each area of the Policy.