Interview: Warren Lavey, University of Illinois

This summer, SPLC is running a Thought Leadership Interview Series in order to recognize and learn from some of the individuals involved in our work.

Today we’re pleased to share our interview with Warren Lavey; Consultant in Environmental Law and Policy, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois. Warren’s experience includes sustainable purchasing in government agency and university procurements, and corporate disclosures in securities filings to reflect sustainable purchasing practices and climate-related strategies.

We hope you enjoy reading about his story and work on sustainable purchasing.

Warren’s Story

How did you get to where you are now?

  • Starting in January 2012, I worked with a non-profit organization that sought to educate federal government agencies on opportunities to decrease the environmental impacts from their suppliers of trucking services.  We looked at technical alternatives, cost savings, health benefits, and environmental justice aspects.  We also highlighted best practices from corporate, state and local purchasing programs.  My passion for sustainable purchasing developed from the greater attractiveness of addressing the federal agencies’ suppliers compared to the agencies’ own fleets.

Why is procurement a focus for your organization’s sustainability advocacy?

  • Purchasing dollars can have strong environmental impacts, often greater and more easily implemented than adapting an organization’s own operations, equipment and facilities.

Achievements and Challenges

Thinking about your work related to sustainable purchasing, what is something you’re personally proud of having accomplished?

  • Contributing to the environmental provisions in the U.S. General Service Administration’s Domestic Delivery Service 3 RFP and contract.  Also, making the University of Illinois the first EPA SMARTWAY partner among academic institutions, leading the adoption of purchasing commitments and strategies in the campus Climate Action Plan, and advancing the university’s purchases of more sustainable products.

The Big Picture

What are some emerging trends in sustainable purchasing and how might these affect the future of the sustainable purchasing movement?

  • Organizations taking more responsibility for and reporting on the environmental impacts of their suppliers.

What do you value about the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council?

  • Guidance, case studies from other organizations, and collegial access to experts.

What aspirations do you have for the sustainable purchasing movement and the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council?

  • More disclosures in companies’ financial reports on material sustainable purchasing standards applied to them by their customers, and what the companies are doing to improve the sustainability performance of their operations and their suppliers.


In the spirit of getting to know each other better, can you share one interesting thing about yourself that others in the SPLC community may not know?

  • I have been working on integrating climate-related health impacts into the training for doctors and public health professionals.

Thanks to Warren for his perspective!

For more posts from our Thought Leadership Interview Series go to this page.

Are you interested in gaining access to more resources like these? Learn more about SPLC Membership.

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