Western Washington University drives sustainability and diversity

Influencing buyer behavior to support University values

With 16,000 students across three campuses, Western Washington University is the highest-ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest.

And its commitment to protecting local and global ecologies, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health is at the heart of everything they do.

Aligning Purchasing with University Values

Recently, a commitment to improving processes led WWU to revisit its plan for procurement, guided by the values driving the University’s strategic plan, particularly sustainability, inclusivity, and diversity. One of their first priorities was identifying diversity suppliers, including minority- and women-owned businesses. By flagging those suppliers in ESM Purchase, the procurement team was able to elevate their visibility for buyers across the University and produce more accurate reports about the impact of the WWU’s diversity efforts.

Emergency Responses Become Best Practices

WWU further refined their processes during the pandemic by creating a specialized punchout catalog—one that directed to the University’s central services facility. “We were buying hard-to-source items in bulk and storing them centrally,” Andrea said. “ESM helped us create an ‘internal’ catalog,” essentially a catalog of items acquired by procurement and stored with central services. Now buyers across WWU’s campuses can browse that catalog and make purchases from a new vendor: WWU central services.

Elevating Procurement

These new initiatives have helped elevate the role of procurement at the university, Andrea notes. “We’re a small team, but we’re working closely now with the university’s unified command function to address problems and find solutions,” she said. “We’re being included in discussions more than ever before.”

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“With ESM Purchase, we can demonstrate to buyers across our campuses that they are getting the best products for the best price.”

Andrea Rodgers, associate director of business services

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