Awards FAQ

Answers to questions asked about the SPLC Leadership Awards program will be posted here. If you come up with a question, please do check back here first, and then submit it to if you do not find the answer you need.

Do we have to fill in every heading in the Sample Outline?

No. The outline is intended only as a guide. Please feel free to use it unchanged, if it makes your job easier, but also feel free to use your own narrative structure. Whatever narrative structure you use, please provide ‘wayfinding’ (in the form of headings, subheadings, bold text, etc.) that can help readers to scan the case for the information they might be seeking or that you think will be of particular relevance to readers (and which you are most proud of!).

We have case studies already written in some instances related to sustainable purchasing. Can we submit those as-is, rather than extracting them into your format?

We absolutely encourage organizations to submit case studies that they have already documented for other reasons. However, we do ask that they be submitted within the Word application we provided, using the styles we provided.

Is there a time period our case study needs to stay within?  If our case study and associated practice is from 2013, as an example, is that acceptable?

Examples of genuine leadership in the real world is what we want. It’s okay if that leadership example happened some years back. There is no set time period. We expect that organizations with long-standing programs will have examples of great work that happened long before SPLC was on the scene, and they shouldn’t be penalized for having been early movers!

What is the maximum word limit in submittal of a case study?

We don’t have a word limit because it really depends on the complexity of the leadership activity being described. Our advice is to think about it as though you were at another organization and you were reading the case study as an example to follow. How much detail would the case study need to have in order to help you? What data points would it need? What explanations would it need before you’d be able to follow it’s example?

Can we submit more than one case study?

Yes, absolutely. The goal of the awards program, in addition to recognizing leaders, is to provide an incentive for leaders to invest in documenting and sharing their work.

What’s the difference between the two Purchaser leadership awards?

The Overall Program Leadership Award for Purchasers is designed to recognize an organization for having put in place sustainable purchasing program infrastructure that is enabling them to strategically and meaningfully take responsibility for the environmental, social, and economic consequences of their purchasing. We expect the winner of this award will be an organization whose sustainable purchasing program exemplifies the Council’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing and many of the key program elements described in Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing.

The Special Initiatives Leadership Award for Purchasers is designed to recognize an organization for having demonstrated leadership via their execution of a specific sustainable purchasing strategy, project, contract. For example, an organization could submit a Special Initiatives case study focused entirely on something innovative they did with supplier diversity, with supply chain disclosure, or with their vehicle purchasing. Case studies about specific strategies like those would fall under the “special initiatives” category.

The prime distinction is that with the Special Initiatives Leadership Award, the focus is on the strategy itself, whereas with the Overall Program Award the focus is on the organization’s sustainable purchasing program infrastructure, as a whole (which should include evidence of multiple strategies).

Organizations with strong sustainable purchasing programs very well may want to submit more than one case study. One Overall Program case study and one or more case studies describing specific strategies executed within that Program.

Will you give out more than one award in each category?

The Leadership Awards are intended to be one-per-year awards, but we will definitely consider giving more than one in a category if the applications merit it. In each of the previous years, we have ended up giving more than one award in one or two categories.