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Drexel Supports Socially Responsible Purchasing

February 11, 2021

The past year has presented each of us with many personal and professional challenges, and we have seen great strength in our collective response. It has also presented opportunities for us to reevaluate some of the ways we think and do business. The global economy has been hard hit, but our local communities have simply been ravaged by closures as well as social and cultural crises. As an anchor institution in Philadelphia, Drexel takes very seriously its role in building a way forward. How do we do that? We start by familiarizing ourselves with our available resources, and then we work together to create definitive goals.

Supplier Inclusion

Drexel's Supplier Inclusion program affirms the University's commitment to broadening our pool of suppliers to foster positive economic impact within local Philadelphia communities by:

  • advocating for the inclusion of qualified diverse suppliers;
  • ensuring that diverse suppliers are considered in University requests for proposal (RFPs);
  • communicating our purchasing plans to local suppliers and organizations;
  • participating in local supplier fairs; and
  • requiring our top suppliers to report their Tier 2 spend (dollars spent by these partners with diverse suppliers on behalf of Drexel).

Strengthening and expanding our commitment to supplier inclusion are critical components of both the Anti-Racism Task Force's Business Practices recommendations and our Strategic Plan. Key to our success will be creating a pattern of inclusiveness in Drexel's procurement of goods and services and providing opportunity for supplier growth, both in West Philadelphia and throughout the Philadelphia region, to ensure equal business opportunity for minority-owned businesses. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we look at how and where we spend our money. Procurement Services will be working with each administrative and academic unit to strategize ways to collectively increase our diverse spend by at least 5-10% over the next year.

Sustainability & Surplus

With Drexel celebrating 2021 as its Climate Year, it is important for us to refocus our goals and initiatives around sustainable purchasing practices. The most impactful way we can do this is by rethinking our consumable purchases, such as single-use products, printing supplies, and other short-life products. We also encourage you to utilize our Surplus and Recycling program. Procurement Services will be working with our new and existing suppliers on aligning our goals to ensure that each of our partners shares our commitment to ethical and environmentally sustainable practices.

In support of the above initiatives, Procurement Services is in the process of revising and strengthening existing language in the Purchasing Policy related to supplier inclusion and sustainability and adding sustainability guidelines under the policy. We are also re-evaluating our approach to RFP weighting to complement these areas of emphasis.

With this background in mind, we invite you to take a few minutes to view some of the video highlights from the four sessions that Accounts Payable and Procurement Services, in collaboration with the Office of University and Community Partnerships, the LeBow College of Business, and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, hosted during Philadelphia's 36th annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week last October. MED Week spotlights minority businesses and the resources that help them grow. Throughout the week, organizations from across the region hosted virtual events focused on this year's theme, "Preparing for the Next Normal." This message is critical as we do our part to lift up our community.

By their very nature, goals can be uncomfortable. Perhaps now is the time to get a little uncomfortable and have the difficult conversations that not only identify the roadblocks toward socially responsible purchasing, but also effectively work toward removing them. We will share our progress and success stories along the way on the Procurement Services website. We look forward to the progress we know Drexel will make in the year ahead!