The University of California’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines (“Guidelines”) lay out the minimum sustainability requirements for products and services purchased by the University of California and identify those product attributes that are strongly preferred, if not mandatory, in accordance with the Sustainable Procurement Policy and Procedure Sections of the UC Sustainable Practices Policy. Read the Guidelines below to find out what the product-specific sustainability requirements are for your next purchase.

Among other updated requirements around packaging materials, marketing claims, and e-commerce content management, this new Policy sets the following targets:

  • 100% compliance with UC Required Level Green Spend criteria, within three (3) fiscal years
  • 25% spend with products meeting UC Preferred Level Green criteria, per product category, within three (3) fiscal years
  • 25% spend with Economically and Socially Responsible (EaSR) suppliers, as a percentage of total addressable spend, within five (5) fiscal years
  • 15% of total points utilized in competitive solicitation evaluations allotted to sustainability factors (exceptions allowed; beginning FY19-20).

In general terms, the UC Sustainable Practices Policy outlines the University’s targets for sustainable procurement as well as requirements for UC sustainable procurement practices, that is the activities of University of California buyers as they relate to sustainable procurement. This Guidelines document breaks down what the University considers to be sustainable at the product, product category, service or industry level.

The UC Sustainable Practices Policy prioritizes waste reduction in the following order: reduce, reuse, and then recycle. Accordingly, sustainable procurement should look to reduce unnecessary purchasing first, then prioritize purchase of surplus or multiple use products, before looking at recyclable, compostable, or otherwise sustainable products.

UC Sustainable Products Search Tool

In August 2018, the UC adopted updated Sustainable Procurement Policies and associated Guidelines. For the first time, this Policy sets a system-wide goal of putting 25% of all spend for goods in select categories, towards products that meet “UC Green Preferred” criteria. In addition, the Policy and Guidelines establish new minimum mandatory sustainability criteria for certain product categories.
Shopping for products with stated positive social and environmental benefits is not always easy or straightforward. As a system, we have numerous hosted and punchout catalogs for different suppliers, each with their own functionality, making it difficult to navigate different product specifications, environmental attributes, and third party certifications.
In order to ease the burden on both buyers and suppliers, UC Santa Barbara now offers a product search tool ( that enables purchasers to find products that comply with the UC's Green Spend Criteria. If you need assistance, see this step-by-step guide, and please provide your feedback!

UC Sustainable Procurement Policy & Guidelines

Policies Impacting University of California Sustainable Procurement

University of California Sustainable Procurement Policy

Explore the University of California Sustainable Practices Policy (PDF).