Socially Responsible Purchasing (SRP)
As part of its locally engaged anchor mission and a philosophy that higher education has a responsibility to work for the greater good, Drexel University has committed to a strategy to expand supplier inclusion, local purchasing, and environmentally sustainable procurement practices. Facilitated by the division of Accounts Payable & Procurement Services, this strategy aligns with the shared values identified in the Drexel 2030 institutional strategic plan: integrity, inclusion, impact, integration and innovation.
Per Drexel’s Purchasing Policy, departments are expected to make reasonable efforts to consider use of local or diverse suppliers. Departments should also consider environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices in making purchasing decisions. During an RFP or other competitive bid process, consideration shall be given to those suppliers supporting the University's interest in supporting diverse, local, and/or sustainable business.
Our team works to ensure that Drexel carefully considers the environmental and human impacts of our purchasing decisions, as well as to ensure that Drexel is an economic and sustainable partner with the city of Philadelphia.
Accounts Payable & Procurement Services serves as a resource for students, faculty and professional staff to help facilitate environmental, social and governance design for the future.
What is Socially Responsible Purchasing (SRP)?
Socially Responsible Purchasing is an industry term that describes an approach to institutional purchasing practices that The Institute for Supply Management defines socially responsible procurement as a framework of measurable corporate policies and procedures and resulting behavior designed to benefit the workplace and, by extension, the individual, the organization, and the community.
Implementing responsible fiscal inclusivity and sustainable practices also prioritizes climate change per the strategic plan.
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SRP in Action
Drexel's supplier inclusion program cultivates Drexel’s relationship with local and diverse businesses, from new entrepreneurs just getting started to established mom-and-pop businesses to larger firms. The local economic impact team in Accounts Payable & Procurement Services works to increase Drexel’s institutional spend with local and diverse businesses by connecting University stakeholders to these suppliers, serving as a resource center to the West Philadelphia business community, and fostering new relationships among local businesses, diversity advocacy organizations and Drexel’s strategic partners.
Tier 1 Spend: Diversity Spend vs. Total Spend
This column chart shows the amount in dollars of Tier 1 Spend with diverse suppliers versus non-diverse businesses while allowing the viewer to compare FY20, FY21 and FY22 as of May 2022.
Tier 1 Spend: Minority (MBE) Spend as Percent of Total Spend
This column chart shows the amount, as a percent, of Tier 1 spend that is with Minority Suppliers versus all other Tier 1 Spend. This allows the viewer to compare FY20, FY21 and FY22 as of May 2022.
Tier 2 Spend: Diverse Spend as Percent of Total Spend
Tier 2 spend is defined as the dollar amount that Drexel’s supplier’s spend with diverse suppliers. This column chart shows the amount, as a percent, of Tier 2 spend with diverse suppliers versus non-diverse businesses while allowing the viewer to compare FY20, FY21 and FY22 as of May 2022.
Tier 2 Spend: Minority (MBE) Spend as Percent of Total Spend
This column chart shows the amount, as a percent, of Tier 2 spend that is with Minority Suppliers versus all other Tier 2 spend. This allows the viewer to compare FY20, FY21 and FY22 as of May 2022.
Climate & Sustainability
Cognizant of the climate crisis and other sustainability challenges affecting our region and our world, Drexel’s climate and sustainability team works with University stakeholders to identify opportunities for shifting to more environmentally sustainable purchasing practices. Drexel’s purchasing decisions have impacts beyond our campus; how we buy and consume material products affects our climate and environment and has implications for environmental justice. The climate and sustainability team aims to educate and support the University in cultivating a set of procurement practices: buying only what is necessary, choosing greener products when available, and being mindful of product life cycles and how they impact the waste stream.
A socially responsible, sustainable procurement program should have a cradle-to-cradle component. As equipment approaches an end-of-life stage, Drexel encourages reuse within and between departments. After that has been attempted, Drexel Surplus sells excess equipment to buyers outside of the University, giving new life to equipment while generating funds for departments. Many buyers of Drexel Surplus ship to third-world countries and set up schools, community centers and health centers where Drexel’s surplus items have good value. Drexel Surplus also donates furniture and equipment to Philadelphia non-profits. This saves Drexel disposal costs while getting good items such as furniture and computers to those who can continue using them.
5 Years Surplus and Cost Avoidance
This column chart shows a Fiscal Year comparison of three different metrics. The previous five fiscal years (FY22 as of May 2022) are given for each. The three metrics are:
- Sold Amount: Total amount of all surplus items sold by Sustainability Officer Bo Solomon.
- To Departments: Total amount that the departments received from the surplus sales. This is the “Sold Amount” minus the auction website fee (the site where Procurement sells a great deal of the surplus items) and the surplus team’s fee.
- Cost Avoidance: This is the total estimated amount of money saved by not having to hire a moving company to move the items, a trash company to dispose of them, and any other costs associated with getting rid of the items. Surplus items are retrieved by the buyer, thus, allowing the department to avoid costs associated with moving them.
FY21 Surplus Transactions to Date
This line chart shows similar metrics to "5 Years Surplus Cost Avoidance," but does so month-to-month.
When the chart is clicked on, it reveals an image displaying the same data but inclusive of the entire previous fiscal year.
Putting it Together
We think about our supplier inclusion, local economic impact, and sustainability work as one effort. The United Nations articulates a set of sustainable development goals that integrate care for the environment with support for thriving human communities, and that is our inspiration. SRP bridges social, economic, and environmental issues as essential components of Drexel’s operating goals.
How to Help
- Supplier Inclusion:
- Whom to call: Executive Director of Supplier Inclusion Allen Riddick can speak with you or your department on strategic ways to engage diverse suppliers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Plan ahead: When looking for ways to engage with diverse suppliers, it is most beneficial to forecast or plan in advance what you or your department may need. Communicating future sourcing events allows Procurement Services the opportunity to identify businesses that suit your needs before they arise.
- Reshape your fiscal thinking: It is very easy to get comfortable with how we have become accustomed to operating. If you or your department have been using the same vendor for an extended period of time, we strongly recommended testing the market and considering new suppliers.
- Sustainability: Visit the Climate & Sustainability website to learn how to make a difference in your community.
- Surplus:If you have unwanted equipment and/or furniture, visit the Procurement website to explore your options for selling, donating or recycling it responsibly.
We want to hear from you!
Please take the time to fill out this Qualtrics survey. It takes less than a minute and will provide us with valuable insight into our collective purchasing practices.
SRP in Action
Below are some examples of the impact of the Socially Responsible Purchasing initiative. Please click on the photos to learn more about each story, and feel free to submit new stories to the email addresses above!
- Diverse Supplier: A business qualifies as a diverse supplier if it is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by a ‘diverse’ U.S. citizen or citizens, including: African American, Hispanic, Woman, Asian American, Veteran, Service-Disabled Veteran, Individual With a Disability, Native American and LGBTQ+. Diverse suppliers can receive certification by independent accreditation bodies locally and nationally. While we recommend suppliers become certified, we also track and support suppliers who self-identify as a diverse business.
- FY: Fiscal Year; This is defined as July 1 to June 30 of the following year. For example, FY21 is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
- MBE: Minority Business Enterprise; This is inclusive of African American Owned, Alaskan Native Owned, Asian Indian American Owned, Asian Pacific American Owned, Hispanic Owned, Native American Owned, National Minority Supplier, etc.
- Socially Responsible Purchasing (SRP): Drexel University’s initiative to support supplier inclusion, sustainable purchasing and surplus.
- Supplier Inclusion: creation of a diverse supply chain that works to secure the inclusion of diverse groups in the procurement plans for an organization.
- Sustainable Procurement: a process whereby organizations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a life-cycle basis while addressing equity principles for sustainable development, therefore benefiting societies and the environment across time and geographies. [Source: Chatham House]
- Tier 1 Spend: the dollar amount that Drexel directly spends with diverse suppliers.
- Tier 2 Spend: the dollar amount that Drexel’s supplier’s spend with diverse suppliers.