External Partnership Sustainability Award

This year's winners have been announced!  Read about the five award recipients. 

University Procurement Services and Notre Dame 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. 

During the 2023-24 academic year, the award program was 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 the award criteria. We are encouraging innovative ideas that support the enhancement of these fundamental efforts that are strategically aligned with the University's 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. Partners are recognized via the following 5 categories:

1) Small Business & Diverse Suppliers Excellence - 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 for 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 Production Innovation - 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 Responsibility - 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 & 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.


Previous winners

2022 - Voith Hydro 

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.