External Partnership Sustainability Award

2024 External Partnership Sustainability Award

Nominations for the 2024 award are now open!

University Procurement Services and the Office of Sustainability have collaborated since 2019 to recognize sustainability efforts and partnerships via our collaborative award program. This award honors suppliers and other partners who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practices while partnering with the University of Notre Dame to advance sustainability on campus. We are making some changes for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The award program is being shifted to more fully recognize the holistic nature of our work, keeping in mind the 3 traditional sustainability pillars of ecological, human, and economic health. This shift helps to remind us that sustainability is about human vitality - our ability to thrive together - while also caring for our common home. Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion themes are noted more prominently in award criteria. We are encouraging innovative ideas that support the enhancement of these fundamental efforts that are strategically aligned with the university goals.

We've shifted the name of the award, as well. As we adapt to our changing world, sustainability solutions require a more integrated approach. We recognize that the University partners with more than just suppliers to advance sustainability. We seek to recognize those who have genuinely partnered with us toward a common goal; adapting to the changing needs of our environment. Additionally, we value partners who are able to use data to help support our decision making. There’s much work to be done in the face of climate change and we need to leverage data to help us to prioritize. A willingness to align on common metrics to measure our success is essential. The award timeline has been updated to support this updated approach.

The review committee will consider recognizing partners via the following 5 categories:

1) Small Business & Diverse Suppliers - This award is designed to honor partners who have demonstrated significant growth and support to the University by providing goods and services with the highest levels of customer service to achieve the University’s goals. The recipient of an award in this category has displayed effective results in providing goods and/or services including but not limited to sustainability-minded products that will create the best value to faculty and staff. The University is committed to supporting small businesses and diverse suppliers to grow and become successful partners in our communities.

2) Food Sourcing - This award is designed to honor partners who have prioritized sustainability via efforts such as regenerative practices, local/regional investment, minority and/or women-owned business enterprise certification, “clean” products, or other unique programs. The recipient of an award in this category has displayed a commitment to partnering with the University toward improvement in these areas.

3) Human Rights/Social Compliance - This award is designed to honor partners who are aligned with the University in advancing workers’ rights across their supply chain. Our licensed products are a source of great pride and brand loyalty. Commensurate with the University’s mission, we seek to ensure that the manufacture of these licensed products both respects and affirms the dignity of all those engaged in the production process. The manufacture and production of licensed products is a complex process based on an intricate global supply chain, and bringing about impactful and lasting change requires a high level of collaboration and partnership. The recipient of this award has displayed a commitment to improving working conditions and social and environmental performances, and shares the University’s commitment to advancing workers’ rights across the globe.

4) Resilience and Climate Impact Reduction -This award is designed to honor partners who have supported the university in the areas of mitigation and/or adaptation. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions via reduction efforts and adaptation in the face of our changing climate are essential strategic considerations. The recipient of an award in this category has displayed a commitment to partnering with the University toward improvement in these areas.

5) General Operations - This category covers partnerships supporting sustainability that may not align directly with the categories listed above.

Nominate a campus partner for the 2024 award here! Criteria for submission are outlined on the form. The call for nominations will close February 29, 2024. Awardees will be recognized in April or May 2024. 

2022 Procurement Partner Sustainability Award Winner, Voith Hydro

University Procurement Services and the Office of Sustainability have collaborated since 2019 on the Procurement Partner Sustainability Award. This award honors suppliers who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practices while partnering with Notre Dame to advance sustainability on campus. In order to be considered for the award, a supplier must be nominated by a member of the faculty, staff, or student body who feels that the supplier has aided the University’s sustainability efforts through new and innovative products or services.

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This year, the University honored its fifth recipient, Voith Hydro, with the Procurement Partner Sustainability Award at the Supplier Expo on October 19. Assistant Vice President of Utilities and Maintenance, Paul Kempf, noted that “Voith Hydro played a key role in the success of [the ND Hydro] project as the provider of the turbines that are at the heart of the project, and that harness the power of the river to produce green energy for campus.” Voith Hydro utilizes a new hydro turbine design, called the Voith SteamDriver, for low head applications in order to efficiently dispatch multiple smaller turbines that closely match the St. Joseph river’s varying flow rates. As part of the ND Hydro project’s 2.5-megawatt hydroelectric facility, 10 of Voith’s 250-kilowatt SteamDrivers were installed. It is estimated that 7 percent of campus electricity will be generated from the ND Hydro project and it will offset nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Voith has been an important contributor to Notre Dame’s mission since 2016 and has a long history of producing high quality equipment and services to the hydropower industry. The criteria to be selected as the awardee for the Procurement Award include the supplier’s environmental impact, innovation, and reach of influence. The ND Hydro project with Voith “is one of the largest carbon reduction strategies Notre Dame has implemented to date,” said Executive Vice President, Shannon Cullinan. “The SteamDriver turbines supplied by Voith are the first such installation in North America and the largest in the world.”

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Previous winners

2021 – Indiana/Michigan Power Company

2020 – Office Depot and Root Candles

2019 – Kimberly Clark

The Office of Sustainability and the Office of Procurement Services encourages employees to continue working with suppliers on sustainability initiatives.  Your efforts will be honored at the Fall 2022 Supplier Expo.

To fulfill our commitment to fostering a culture of environmental responsibility, it is important that our faculty and staff communicate and are open to suppliers' ideas to help drive innovation and identify new and sustainable offerings.