SPLC Case Study Library

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Case Study Title Organization Published
Food Service for a Sustainable Future Bon Appétit Management Co. 2018
Green Business Certification Drives Green Purchasing Strategies City of Cupertino 2016
Massachusetts 2015 EPP Program Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2016
Dakota County Environmental Purchasing Initiatives: Making the Right Choices Financially and Environmentally Dakota County, MN 2018
Sustainable Food Initiative Emory University 2015
Leveraging Joint Action to Scale Change at an Industry Level through Purchasing Fair Trade USA 2019
Improving Program Effectiveness: Turning Data into Action Lawrence Berkely National Lab 2016
The New York State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program New York State 2017
New York State’s GreenNY Icon New York State Office of General Services 2020
Sodexo’s Vermont First Program: Growing Market Opportunity for Local Producers Sodexo 2019
Sodexo: Local Sourcing as a Pathway to Impact Sourcing Sodexo 2018
Building a Green Purchasing Roadmap for the State of Maryland State of Maryland & Responsible Purchasing Network 2020
Building the sustainability capacity of small, minority, woman, economically disadvantaged, and veteran-owned businesses State of Minnesota 2018
U.S. Department of Energy GreenBuy Award Program U.S. Department of Energy 2015
Catering@Penn – An Inclusive, Sustainable Solution for Catering Procurement University of Pennsylvania 2023



Click on the title links to download the full case studies as PDFs.

Food Service for a Sustainable Future

Organization: Bon Appétit Management Co.

Contact: Bonnie Powell

Download: Full Case Study PDF


Bon Appétit Management Company was founded in 1987 by CEO Fedele Bauccio to revolutionize contract food service by offering restaurant-quality food, cooked from scratch by trained chefs. Our path toward greater sustainability started as a quest for flavor. When you cook everything from scratch, you want the freshest ingredients. That led us to launch our Farm to Fork program back in 1999 — long before “locavore” entered the dictionary. Working directly with farmers and ranchers opened our eyes to the many problems of our modern food supply. That inspired the company’s tagline, “food service for a sustainable future,” which we define as “Flavorful food that’s healthy and economically viable for all, produced through practices that respect farmers, workers, and animals; nourish the community; and replenish our shared natural resources for future generations.”

For almost two decades we’ve been a pioneer in socially and environmentally responsible sourcing policies, with commitments to local purchasing, appropriate use of antibiotics in agriculture, sustainable seafood, the food–climate change connection (including to fighting food waste), humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworkers’ rights. This case study will document the history, breadth, and depth of our commitments and quantify the impact of our sustainable purchasing program, which depends on the commitment and passion of 18,000 Bon Appétit employees.

Green Business Certification Drives Green Purchasing Strategies

Organization: City of Cupertino

Contact: Lauren Dickinson

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The City of Cupertino activated the statewide Green Business Certification Program (greenbusinessca.org) as a tool to both reinvigorate its dated Environmentally Preferable Procurement Policy, originally adopted in 2007, and engage small to mid-size businesses in their own efforts to institutionalize and apply green purchasing practices.  

In attaining the program’s certification requirements, Cupertino realized the challenges the agency faced in employing a decentralized “Just in Time” approach to supply procurement mirrored that of its business partners. This enabled the City to create useful tools and solutions that reduced costs and achieved environmental gains, not just for the agency but also for prospective Green Business Program participants. Cupertino continues to strive towards more detailed tracking methods of green procurement practices.

Massachusetts 2015 EPP Program

2016 SPLC Leadership Award Winner – Business Case

Organization: Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Contact: Julia Wolfe

Download: Full Case Study PDF


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program (EPP Program). The Program’s primary goal is to leverage the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to procure goods and services that have a lesser or reduced negative effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Since the Program’s inception, thousands of EPPs have been incorporated into more than 40 Statewide Contracts (SWCs) and the state’s purchases of these goods and services have grown from $5 million in 1994 to more than $385 million in Fiscal Year 2015 (FY2015). Massachusetts is one of the few states that supports a dedicated staff person in the procurement program to facilitate environmentally preferable product (EPP) and service purchases. The efforts led by Massachusetts over the last 20 years have helped raise the bar on the quality, cost, and availability of EPPs and also have driven prominent changes in the marketplace to more sustainable business practices.

Dakota County Environmental Purchasing Initiatives: Making the Right Choices Financially and Environmentally

Organization: Dakota County, MN

Contact: Lenny Klevan Schmitz

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The Dakota County sustainable purchasing program has been developed and grown over the past five years to ensure the organization is making the “right” decisions for taxpayers, both financially and environmentally.  The sustainable purchasing program included a variety of initiatives and strategies including:

  1. Incorporate Environmentally Preferred Purchasing language in to the County procurement Policy and obtain County Board approval.  
  2. Implement Managed Print Services with follow me printing solution
  3. Work with suppliers to ensure products being purchased by County staff comply with county standards.

Sustainable Food Initiative

Organization: Emory University

Contact: Ciannat Howell

Download: Full Case Study PDF


Increasing sustainability of its food supply chain is one of the key priorities of Emory University. This case study focuses on three aspects of this project: improving sustainable food procurement, evaluating the use of compostable and recyclable products, and eliminating the use of Styrofoam.

Leveraging Joint Action to Scale Change at an Industry Level through Purchasing

Organization: Fair Trade USA

Contact: Parker Townley

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The Sustainable Coffee Challenge launched in 2015 with the goal of transforming the coffee industry into the world’s first 100% sustainable agricultural commodity. In the time since the commitment has launched, a range of organizations have made public announcements stating their individual commitments to increase transparency and align around a common vision for sustainability with regards to coffee procurement. Fair Trade USA has worked to leverage its unique position as an industry convener to bring together a range of actors representing various levels of the supply chain to harness their collective purchasing power and networks to launch a joint commitment to dramatically scale impact. By developing clear options and mechanisms for making facilitated commitments to purchasing sustainable coffee Fair Trade USA was able to bring together a diverse set of organizations who could collectively support each other through the process, and in doing so leverage and strengthen an existing sustainable sourcing model. The launch of a joint commitment in March 2019 serves as a starting point and a powerful incentive mechanism to encourage additional actors to make the internal case for action and commit to meaningful impact.

Improving Program Effectiveness: Turning Data into Action

Organization: Lawrence Berkely National Lab

Contact: Anna Scodel

Download: Full Case Study PDF


Policies to leverage the market power of the U.S. federal government have established sustainable acquisition requirements but are only effective if federal buyers purchase and receive products and services that meet sustainability criteria. While individual agencies track procurements with varying methods, no database of U.S. federal purchases exists, which presents a challenge in measuring compliance with sustainable acquisition policies and understanding where support is needed. We developed a customized method to review federal solicitations posted to FedBizOpps – the centralized website where federal buyers are required to post large procurements. We found low compliance with energy efficiency requirements and are using our findings to improve the effectiveness of program offerings.

The New York State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program

2017 SPLC Leadership Award Winner – Purchaser – Overall Program

Organization: New York State

Contact: Todd Gardner

Download: Full Case Study PDF


New York State has established an ambitious Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program under Executive Order 4 (EO 4) that directs state agencies and authorities to “green” their purchasing to make state operations more sustainable. EO 4 establishes an institutional framework – co-led by the Office of General Services and the Department of Environmental Conservation – to guide the state’s sustainable purchasing prioritization, standard-setting, and reporting activities. This interagency collaboration has created dozens of “green” specifications, which are serving as a valuable resource for purchasers developing contracts for commodities, services and technology. Additionally, in fiscal year 2014-2015, more than 80% of affected entities filed sustainability reports showing their progress towards meeting the EO 4 goals and documenting sustainability efforts. Other initiatives have led to a 50% reduction in solid waste generated and purchases of bottled water have been nearly eliminated.

New York State’s GreenNY Icon

Organization: New York State Office of General Services

Contact: Todd Gardner, OGS Sustainability Coordinator

Download: Full Case Study PDF


In April 2019, the New York State Office of General Services (NYS OGS) developed a ‘GreenNY’ icon that is used to identify environmentally preferable products meeting the state’s Executive Order 4 (EO4) specifications. These specifications cover over 100 different commodity, service, and technology products, examples of which include Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-certified electronics, environmentally friendly food service ware, green cleaning products and energy efficient lighting. The icon is currently being added as a searchable attribute for products that are available through the New York State eMarketplace, an online shopping website that allows authorized users of NYS OGS contracts to purchase items available on state contract through an easy-to-use shopping experience.

Sodexo’s Vermont First Program: Growing Market Opportunity for Local Producers

Organization: Sodexo

Contact: Annie Rowell

Download: Full Case Study PDF


In 2014, Sodexo launched the Vermont First program, a commitment to the state of Vermont to increase local food purchasing at all of Sodexo’s Vermont accounts, working with our business partners and the communities in which we live and work to support Vermont’s local economy. Through strategic purchasing; collaboration with stakeholders; training and enabling our operators; and increasing consumer awareness, Sodexo’s Vermont First program aims to grow market opportunity for local producers, stimulate job growth, and ensure the viability of Vermont’s working lands.

Specifically, Sodexo spent $2.8 million on local products statewide in 2018 alone. We convened over 30 stakeholder meetings and sponsored events as well as an Advisory Board and multiple focus groups that bring together Vermont food system stakeholders to solve the challenges of farm to institution. We have enabled our operators across Vermont to successfully demand plan, promote, and track local products, while also engaging 143 attendees at Taking Root Student Symposium to prepare and inspire students to pursue a career in Vermont’s food system.

Sodexo’s Vermont First program is the first of its kind, where a food service company has committed to leverage statewide spend and resources for local purchasing and growing local partnerships. Since 2014, Vermont First has become a widely revered best practice in local purchasing not only for its transparent and scrupulous local tracking system, but additionally for how the program engages statewide stakeholders to provide guidance and direction to steer local purchasing to the needs of local producers.

Perhaps one of the greatest outcomes of Vermont First is that Sodexo uses the experience to intentionally replicate this model in other regions. Through this framework, we actively seek opportunities to leverage our purchasing capacity in the communities where we operate to make a positive social, economic and environmental impact.

Sodexo: Local Sourcing as a Pathway to Impact Sourcing

Organization: Sodexo

Contact: Judy Panayos

Download: Full Case Study PDF


It is more important than ever for organizations to do well by doing good.  Sodexo is using its scale to advance local sourcing from the communities where we operate, along with the economic, social, environmental and health benefits that follow.  The following case study outlines how Sodexo’s local sourcing of produce in the Chicago area leverages partners across the supply chain to positively impact the community of Chicago.

Specifically, Sodexo, Northwestern University, Midwest Foods, and the Chicago Botanic Garden with its Windy City Harvest program are partnering to support small, local Chicago businesses and farmers by leveraging Sodexo’s purchasing power to create demand for local products.  We are, in practice, initiating a multiplier effect as our producer partners scale their businesses; provide career development opportunities for at risk community members; increase access to affordable and nutritious choices for food desert communities; and support local sustainability efforts.  

Sodexo incorporates local sourcing into the purchasing categories that lend itself to that model, including produce and other food products. Our industry typically assesses the impact of local sourcing in terms of the monetary infusion to the local economy, measured by the percentage of total spend.  However, this project highlights how taking a more holistic approach to evaluating impact is more meaningful given the profound effect a relatively small percent of institutional spend can cause when well placed. In this way, a deliberate, partnership-based model of sourcing can support long-term economic, social, environmental and health benefits to our communities.

Building a Green Purchasing Roadmap for the State of Maryland

Organization: State of Maryland & Responsible Purchasing Network

Contact:  Emily Soontornsaratool, Chief of Data Management & Sustainability Initiatives / Chair, Maryland Green Purchasing Committee

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The State of Maryland recently revitalized its statewide program by building on a strong policy foundation and an established inter-agency Green Purchasing Committee to develop a Green Purchasing Roadmap and move several initiatives forward.

Building the sustainability capacity of small, minority, woman, economically disadvantaged, and veteran-owned businesses

Organization: State of Minnesota

Contact: Johanna Kertesz

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The State of Minnesota’s Sustainable Procurement Charter recognizes that state procurement must balance environmental, social, and economic priorities. The establishment of this charter in 2017 highlighted a gap in the State’s sustainable procurement efforts – namely, if the State intends to achieve these goals concurrently, more work needs to be done to develop the sustainability capacity of small, minority, woman, economically disadvantaged, and veteran-owned businesses. The barriers and challenges related to environmental sustainability requirements faced by these businesses must also be addressed. To address this gap, the State collaborated with the SPLC on a workshop to help small, minority, woman, economically disadvantaged, and veteran-owned businesses remain competitive on state contracts with environmental sustainability requirements. The workshop was also designed to identify barriers facing these businesses. Input collected via workshop surveys and evaluations, through conversations during small group breakout sessions, and from post-workshop communications from attendees is being used to inform next steps for building the sustainability capacity of suppliers.

U.S. Department of Energy GreenBuy Award Program

2015 Leadership Award Winner

Organization: U.S. Department of Energy

Contact: Josh Silverman

Download: Full Case Study PDF


The Department of Energy’s (DOE) GreenBuy Award Program recognizes that not all environmentally preferable products are created equal and that an awards program provides an incentive for purchasing products that are the “best of the best.” The GreenBuy Priority Products List (PPL) identifies the “best of the best” environmentally preferable attributes of available products and enables purchasers to select products that go beyond compliance to make greater contributions to energy and water efficiency, waste minimization, toxic chemical reduction, and human and environmental health protection.All Federal agencies are required to purchase environmentally preferable products. These are products that demonstrably use less energy and water, reduce or eliminate waste at the source, promote the use of nontoxic or less toxic substances, implement conservation techniques, and reuse materials rather than put them into the waste stream. The marketplace responded forcefully to the purchasing requirements for such products, which greatly increased the range of environmentally preferable products from which Federal purchasing agents could choose.Selecting any of these products would comply with the Federal requirement. DOE personnel believed, however, that mere compliance was not enough and that a system could be developed to help purchasers select the most environmentally preferable products from the hundreds available. Although awareness that strategic purchasing would have a greater contribution to human health and environmental protection, was itself a powerful incentive for their procurement, DOE recognized that an awards program could serve as a useful secondary motivation. Thus was born the DOE GreenBuy Award Program.

Catering@Penn – An Inclusive, Sustainable Solution for Catering Procurement

Organization: University of Pennsylvania

Contact: Mark Mills

Download: Full Case Study PDF


Catering@Penn is a catering procurement platform, collaboratively built by the University of Pennsylvania to support and help drive sustainable, inclusive, smart catering decisions. Penn Procurement Services and Penn Sustainability teamed up to create a catering procurement solution that offers the University a stable of local, diverse, and environmentally-friendly caterers that have been strategically sourced and contracted. Key to the solution is a dynamic, interactive website where Penn administrators can search suppliers based on familiar categories such as:

● Service type or attributes, e.g. boxed lunch, breakfast, liquor license, etc.
● Dietary accommodations and cuisine types, e.g. gluten free, vegan, kosher, halal, Mexican

At the same time, the team established the capability to search based on other key sustainability attributes, such as:

● Level of environmental sustainability capabilities
● Business classification, e.g. minority owned, woman-owned, LGBTQ+ owned
● Business diversity sub-classification, e.g. Black-owned, Hispanic-owned, Asian American-owned
● Business Location: Hyper-local (West Philadelphia) and Local (Philadelphia)

The online search platform is live on the Procurement Services website and is used on a regular basis by fans among Penn’s administration.

To showcase the program, Procurement Services hosted a tasting event to connect the Penn Community to the University’s preferred caterers.