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December 6, 2019

students in SOS/PAF 545 deliver presentationLed by Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor of public policy and management in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, students in SOS/PAF 545: Organizations, Sustainability and Public Policy have partnered with the City of Tempe to assist the city as it considers implementing a sustainable purchasing policy (SPP) to help it achieve its ambitious Climate Action Goals.

As part of the partnership, students from the class have spent the fall semester conducting research and working with the city’s procurement department staff and vendors to address four questions that would help the city think through its options as it considers how it might adopt an SPP:

  1. If the city adopts an SPP, what elements should be included?
  2. What types of vendor criteria should it include as it implements an SPP?
  3. How should the city implement sustainable purchasing for office supplies?
  4. How should the city implement sustainable purchasing for custodial products?

According to Darnall, who is also a co-founder and team leader of the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative and a distinguished sustainability scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability: “The ASU graduate students came from degree programs in sustainability, public administration, public policy, marketing, supply chain, and biology and society. Their multidisciplinary backgrounds were a huge asset in how they approached their projects.”

The students formed teams to answer the questions and on December 4, they presented their final reports to the City of Tempe. Some of the attendees included Michael Greene, Tempe's director of purchasing, Brayden Kay, the city’s sustainability director, and Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby. At its conclusion, Darnall expressed gratitude, saying: “Collaborating with the City of Tempe was a tremendous opportunity. The students worked with City procurement officers and the City’s vendors. They researched the best practices among local governments to create actionable sustainability solutions with both short- and long-term goals.”