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SPRI welcomes incoming PhD students

August 10, 2023


SPRI is excited to welcome two incoming PhD students focused on sustainable purchasing. Both Abrar Alzayer and Ankita Singh will be connecting with SPRI and supporting our research. Please join us in welcoming Abrar and Ankita and read more about their backgrounds and research interests here.

Abrar Alzayer is an incoming PhD student in Sustainability originally from Saudi Arabia. She pursued her Master's degree in Business Administration from Mercer University in Atlanta and her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia. She also has a two-year diploma in accounting and two years of work experience in various industries. She worked at a non-profit organization that is recognized as a top green company in Atlanta. Abrar has always been passionate about sustainability and hopes to use her knowledge to encourage organizations to behave more sustainably. Her research interests lie in sustainable purchasing strategies, the engagement of internal stakeholders in sustainability concerns, and the effectiveness of sustainable procurement practices.

Ankita Singh started her career as a software developer but changed track to follow her passion of working in the development sector. She has a Master's in Public Policy and Bachelor's in Electronics and Electrical Engineering. Prior to beginning her PhD, she spent three years working with a think tank and media brand in India, on a wide array of projects related to sustainability, agriculture, health, social development, and innovation. Her research interests include sustainability policies and practices, agriculture and water stress.

We are so excited to be working with them both and can't wait to see what they bring to the field of sustainable purchasing!

SPRI awarded ASU's President's Award for Sustainability

June 29, 2023

SPRI was awarded the coveted President's Award for Sustainability from Arizona State University. This award recognizes SPRI's collaborative nature, impacts on campus, and use-inspired, research. Our submission discusses the importance of sustainable purchasing for fighting climate change as well as the organizations and groups we collaborate with to produce actionable research.

President Michael Crow explains that this award is an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the work of ASU faculty and staff, "Through the efforts of ASU employees, we are creating one of the greatest learning environments ever established anywhere. I appreciate the commitment and significant contributions demonstrated by our university employees, and I support the opportunities we have to acknowledge and celebrate the individual and collective accomplishments of our colleagues.”

We are honored to receive this important recognition and look forward to the award ceremony that will recognize our team and the other President's Award Recipients later this year!

Interested in seeing our submission? Take a look here.


SPRI's upcoming participation in SPLC Summit

June 26, 2023

SPRI faculty will be running a workshop and be participating in a panel at SPLC (Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council)'s upcoming 2023 Summit in August. Nicole Darnall, SPRI Director and co-founder; Shirley-Ann Augustin-Behravesh, Associate Director, and Veronica Villena, Faculty Affiliate, will all be in Atlanta, GA in August 2023 discussing cutting edge research as part of SPLC's Summit.

The three faculty will be conducting a workshop called, Envisioning Public Procurement for a Sustainable Future. They will discuss how technology can transform public procurement to improve sustainability outcomes.

During a panel discussion, Darnall will discuss key findings from UNEP's 2022 Sustainable Public Procurement Global Review and identify opportunities to contribute to global, sustainable development.

SPRI celebrates graduating students

May 9, 2023

Three SPRI affiliated students celebrated their graduations today. Each one was heavily involved in our work and we are so excited to see what is in store for each of them.

Anna Elovitz completed her undergraduate degree with a BS in Sustainability Studies and a BS in Economics. During her time collaborating with SPRI, she worked on our Advancing Green Purchasing in South Korean Municipalities report and received runner up for SURE (Sustainability Undergraduate Research Experiences) student of the year with a fellow SPRI student. Anna will be working as a Supply Chain Associate at PepsiCo starting in August.


Sarah Queen graduated with her Master of Sustainability Solutions degree. Through the summer, she will continue supporting SPRI through managing our social media, website, and newsletter. She has moved back to Atlanta, GA where she hopes to continue her career in corporate sustainability and ESG.


Jake Swanson completed his Master of Science in Sustainability. While a student, Jake conducted research and co-authored chapters with SPRI for UNEP's 2022 Sustainable Public Procurement Global Review. After graduation, Jake hopes to use his experience and education to consult both private and public sector organizations.


Please join us in congratulating these three students on their achievements and wish them luck on their next adventure!

SPRI Associate Director completes sustainable purchasing tutorial videos for thinkfour

April 11, 2023

SPRI Associate Director Shirley-Ann Augustin-Behravesh completed a series of five videos for UK based company, thinkfour. thinkfour takes complicated ideas and makes them accessible and easy to understand for classroom students. Augustin-Behravesh's series of videos on sustainable purchasing cover topics such as the importance of sustainable purchasing, impacts of both the government and private sector on sustainable purchasing, and how individual consumer purchasing habits impact global supply chains. The videos are currently in post production but we cannot wait to share them with you once they become available!

SPRI and SPLC interviewed on E&E News about upcoming changes to federal acquisition

March 23, 2023

Nicole Darnall (SPRI Director), Steve Schooner (SPRI Global Affiliate), and our friend Sarah O'Brien with the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), were interviewed by Jean Chemnick from E&E News ClimateWire regarding upcoming changes to federal acquisition regulations.

"When you consider the purchasing power of the federal government, it has the potential to radically shape supply chains globally... While the primary source of those contracts is going to be a U.S. company, they’re sourcing their product inputs from all over the world.” said Darnall. Click here to read the full article.

SPRI student wins 2023 Doctoral Research Symposium Best Paper Award

March 17, 2023

Brian Seo, a SPRI affiliated student, won the 2023 Doctoral Research Symposium Best Paper Award at the 5th annual Watts Doctoral Research Conference. His paper, "Adopting Environmental Policies: Does the Form of Government Matter?" focused on whether different forms of local government (focusing on mayor-council vs. council-manager) had an effect on the type of environmental policies that are adopted.

Previous studies on local governments' sustainability efforts have used the form of government to infer that mayor-council governments are more likely to adopt environmental policies for its symbolic values while council-manager governments are more likely to adopt environmental policies that help increase operational efficiency. Using SPRI survey data, Seo then categorized the environmental policies into two categories based on whether adoption of certain policies had a more symbolic or cost-focused benefit. The result was a null result, suggesting that perhaps mayor-council and council-manager governments are not as different as previous literature has characterized them to be.

The conference was hosted by the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Friday, March 3rd. There were a total of 16 different presentations from students across Watts College, including the School of Public Affairs; School of Community Resources and Development; School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; and School of Social Work.

ASU News highlights SPRI's work on UN report

February 14, 2023

Katelyn Reinhart from ASU News  interviewed Nicole Darnall and Justin M. Stritch about their involvement with the UN Environment Programme's 2022 Global Review on Sustainable Public Procurement.  The SPRI faculty highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted sustainable procurement and stakeholder engagement. This report is 200+ pages while the previous one was only 60, highlighting how timely and important sustainable procurement is today.

The ASU team made up of, Nicole Darnall, Justin M. Stritch, Yifan Chen, Angela Fox, and Jake Swanson contributed heavily to the report.

Read the ASU News' article here!

UNEP & SPRI present key findings and conclusions of the 2022 Sustainable Public Procurement Global Review

January 31, 2023

SPRI's Nicole Darnall & Justin Stritch  along with other professors, consultants, and members of the United Nation Environment Porgramme presented key findings and conclusions from the 2022 Sustainable Public Procurement Global Review on January 26, 2023.  The webinar had over 700 registrants representing over 90 different countries.

The team identified 9 primary recommendations including initiatives like making sustainable procurement/guidelines mandatory and enhancing supplier engagement, among others.  If you were unable to attend and interested in learning more, please take a look at the slide deck used during the presentation here.

SPRI introduces inaugural Global Research Affiliates

January 10, 2023

SPRI is excited to announce our first group of Global Research Affiliates!  Members of the leadership team nominated each of the four affiliates to collaborate with SPRI to support our mission of producing actionable knowledge on sustainable purchasing globally.

This group of scholars:

  1. Actively pursue research related to sustainability and purchasing/procurement;
  2. Have interests in sharing their research learning with SPRI and its community;
  3. Are open to research collaborations with SPRI and its community.

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SPRI contributes research and writing to UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement: 2022 Global Review

December 16, 2022

ASU's SPRI was heavily involved in both the research and writing for the UN Environment Programme's 2022 Global Review on Sustainable Public Procurement.  The team made up of, Nicole Darnall, Justin M. Stritch, Yifan Chen, Angela Fox, and Jake Swanson contributed to the executive summary, Part I, and Part II of the report.  This report looks at sustainable procurement globally and can be downloaded and read in full here.

SPRI recruiting PhD student for 2023 graduate research assistantship

October 16, 2022

SOS graduate student camp
School of Sustainability Graduate Student Camp

Arizona State University’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative (SPRI) is recruiting a new PhD student to begin in fall 2023. The student will work with Dr. Nicole Darnall and a team of SPRI faculty and students who are focused on assessing sustainable purchasing implementation, impacts, and transitions. The goal of this research is to create actionable knowledge about the conditions that enhance sustainable purchasing effectiveness. The deadline for applications is November 27, 2022.

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New SPRI article published in Journal of Cleaner Production: a framework for understanding sustainable public purchasing

September 29, 2022

As governments worldwide have begun embracing Sustainable Public Purchasing (SPP), researchers note that we lack a broader conceptual framework that articulates the motivations for public organizations to adopt SPP. SPRI faculty, Shirly-Ann Behravesh, Nicole Darnall, and Stuart Bretschneider address this gap by undertaking a significant literature review and content analysis to develop a cogent framework of SPP adoption. The resulting theoretical framework reveals four critical macro-themes associated with SPP adoption: capacity, culture, stakeholders, and institutional setting.

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U.S. GSA holds first Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee including SPRI co-founder as one of 28 members

September 28, 2022

Nicole Darnall, SPRI's director and co-founder, is one of 28 members selected for GSA inaugural Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee. In this AZ Central article, Joan Meiners interviewed Darnall following the committee's first meeting. The goal of the committee is to identify opportunities "for creating global change" by leveraging the spending power of of the federal government. In the article, Darnall and other key members talk about their hopes and expectations for the work that the committee will do going forward. Click here to read more.

SPRI's co-founder interviewed by AZ Central for nation's first sustainable purchasing committee

September 22, 2022

Joan Meiners from Arizona Republic interviewed SPRI co-founder Nicole Darnall about her appointment with the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) inaugural Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee. This committee will include up to 30 members  from nonprofits, academia, the private sector, and more. Darnall spoke about her expectations for the committee, "radically retraining the federal purchasing workforce, using technologies that have not been used before, reaching out to vendors and purchasing providers that we haven’t worked with previously, and this is going to require massive re-orientation." Click here to read more of the interview on AZ Central.

SPRI faculty selected for inaugural GSA Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee

September 22, 2022

Nicole Darnall has been selected for the U.S. General Services Administration's inaugural Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee.  Selected from over 100 nominees, Darnall will work with this committee to increase sustainable purchasing within the federal government through regulatory, policy, and process changes "to embed climate and sustainability considerations in Federal acquisition."

Darnall has been interviewed for two different Arizona Republic articles to talk about her upcoming work.  You can read more here and here on AZ Central's website.  Click below to read more on GSA's website.

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SPRI researchers win NSF award to study the future or work in sustainable public procurement

September 9, 2022

As the public sector constitutes the single largest marketplace across the globe, accounting for 24% of U.S. GDP, it imparts significant sustainability consequences, affecting environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The public sector also creates enormous opportunities to leverage its purchasing power to advance sustainable public procurement and sustainability in general. However, at the local level, only one-quarter of U.S. cities have adopted sustainable public procurement, and of these, only about half indicate that their efforts have been successful.

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Sarah Queen joins as new SPRI Graduate Research Assistant

August 25, 2022

Sarah Queen joins SPRI as our new Graduate Research Assistant for the 2022-2023 academic year. Sarah is currently working on her Masters in Sustainability Solutions in the School of Sustainability.  She has a background in non-profit marketing, zero-waste, startups, and corporate sustainability efforts and is interested in studying ESG and how corporations can be more sustainable.  Sarah, bringing her past experience, develops social media and blog posts for SPRI as well as contributing to other projects.  Please join us in welcoming her to the team!

SPRI co-founder, Bretschneider, retires

August 1, 2022

Foundation Professor Stuart Bretschneider and co-founder of Arizona State University’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative (SPRI) retired in June 2022. Prof. Bretschneider was instrumental to the creation of SPRI, its community, and the students he advised. His numerous publications and the many students he graduated illustrate his deep commitment to research and student mentorship, and his fundamental desire to improve how public organizations function. We are fortunate, indeed, that Prof. Bretschneider was part of SPRI’s day-to-day activities. We are also grateful that he will continue to engage with SPRI faculty and students on their research, all while taking time for things he enjoys most!