PODCAST: How the State of California Embeds Sustainability into its Procurement of Goods and Services


Guest: Jim Butler, CPO, State of California
Episode Number: 127
Publication Date: Monday March 20th, 4pm Pacific Time

“Before you just jump into categories, really work on attitude. Get everybody to buy in because there are some really great categories that you can go after, but if it’s not bought into then it won’t be sustained and then it can come off looking like it was opportunistic. With any sustainability effort you’ll get people who want to be 100% for it, but if you can’t sustain it then it really can be demotivating.” – Jim Butler, CPO, State of California.

Today I am joined on the Art of Procurement by Jim Butler, the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for my home State of California

Prior to joining the State of California, Jim enjoyed a successful career as the CPO for Levi Strauss, and held a number of senior procurement leadership positions with Dell Computer.

In today’s conversation, I wanted to learn about the leadership role that the State of California is taking in building sustainability into its supply chain, and in providing opportunities for small and local businesses.

Sustainability is often a topic we talk about in procurement, but I think it is fair to say that best practices are not widely implemented. Jim shares some of his experiences in California, along with the added dimensions – which create both opportunities and challenges – of doing so within a public body.

Areas we cover in today’s conversation include:

  • Why Jim is passionate about building partnerships, and the impact that can have on the State of California.
  • What motivated Jim to move from the private to the public sector.
  • What are some of the key differences between working in public procurement vs. private procurement.
  • What does sustainability mean to California, and why it is such an important part of his teams work.
  • How does California reconcile sustainability with cost management – can sustainable solutions also be the most cost effective?
  • The journey that the State of California team has taken to embed sustainability into their supply chain.
  • What metrics are used to measure the impact of their program?
  • How CPO’s prioritize sustainability in their organizations without a mandate.
  • Why, while certain categories may lend themselves to be good places to start, a sustainability program should be a holistic, cross-category, initiative.
  • Jim’s view on what procurement professionals can do to stand out from the crowd.


About Author

Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA) is the leading provider of information and education to procurement and supply professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, awards, plus various community and network building activities. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing, for many years recognised as the leading producer of conferences and events for the procurement profession in Australia and New Zealand. Whether producing under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences or now PASA brands over the last ten years, our events have consistently led the market in terms of both educational and networking opportunities.

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