Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Emory University
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Emily Cumbie-Drake
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
TruCost: Sustainable Procurement & Tracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Emory University’s Supply Chain

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Thanks to a push from large corporations such as Wal-Mart, many corporations are tracking the greenhouse gas emissions of their supply chain. Knowledge of supply chain is essential for developing sustainable procurement practices. However, most of higher education, and particularly schools in the Southeast, has not begun to track their supply chain emissions and tools are not readily available to conduct this analysis.
However, in 2010-2011, Emory University’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Procurement and Contract Administration developed a partnership with a third-party, Trucost, to analyze the carbon footprint of the University’s supply chain. Trucost was selected to conduct this analysis because of their experience conducting supply chain greenhouse gas inventories for corporations internationally and because they have been the research partner responsible for assessing companies' environmental performance for Newsweek's annual Green Rankings.
Trucost conducted a spend analysis to identify over 200 of Emory’s high impact suppliers with the greatest potential to reduce Emory’s supply chain footprint and invited each supplier to provide information through its online supplier engagement portal. Companies that had not previously calculated their carbon footprint were invited to provide expenditure data related to fuel, electricity and business travel, which Trucost converted to carbon footprint data. Trucost verified the data and also provided a help desk service to support Emory’s suppliers in providing accurate information.
During the first year of the initiative, 46 suppliers, representing 90% of the University’s supply chain carbon footprint, provided information about their greenhouse gas emissions to Trucost. Around half of these suppliers had not previously calculated their carbon footprint. Emory’s direct engagement with these suppliers pushed them to calculate their carbon footprint for the very first time which helped these suppliers develop a better understanding of the environmental impact of their industry.
Emory is currently evaluating how to best utilize the information gathered through this process, and how to work with our suppliers toward decreasing carbon emissions through the products that Emory purchases.
Emory University is one of the largest higher education purchasers in the Southeast and recognizes the importance of understanding the impact of our supply chain. Emory’s work to analyze the carbon footprint of university spending is directly impacting suppliers’ awareness of their emissions and will hopefully inspire other institutions within higher education to begin tracking the carbon footprint of their own supply chains.
In addition to the partnership with Trucost, Emory is working towards sustainable procurement as a founding member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future. In this role, Emory is helping to advise and create systems for more sustainable purchasing with corporate and university partners.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):
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A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum No
Research No
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings No
Dining Services No
Energy No
Grounds No
Purchasing Yes
Transportation No
Waste No
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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