Responsible Procurement: Supplier Diversity, Sustainability, and Ethics

Supplier Diversity

Princeton University makes supplier diversity an integral part of the way we do business, consistent with our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community that advances our teaching and research mission. This commitment is driven by a belief that engaging a diverse supply base is mutually beneficial: fostering competition; creating opportunity; and generating value by broadening the pool of supplier expertise, perspectives, and capabilities.  Diverse suppliers are an integral part of the Princeton community.  Read more about the initiative and view a video featuring diverse suppliers and University leaders articulating our commitment to foster excellence through diversity.

The University’s procurement practices are designed to provide competitive access to sourcing opportunities and to promote broad supplier participation. Princeton especially seeks suppliers that share our commitment by embracing diversity within their own organizations and supply base in the delivery of goods and services.

Become a University Partner

Procurement Services seeks to expand access to University contracts and purchasing opportunities by ensuring that suppliers are afforded the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities through a competitive bid process. To increase your chances for success, consider the following:

  1. Get Certified: Consistent with most organizations committed to advancing opportunities for diverse firms, the University's efforts are concentrated on those that have been independently certified. More information can be found below.
  2. Get to Know Us: The Princeton University website provides a wealth of information about the University’s academic activities and administrative operations and insight into a variety of supply opportunities.
  3. Register with Us: The primary way we identify prospective suppliers is through our Supplier Portal. The University also publicly posts current bid solicitations.
  4. Educate Us: When developing a proposal to work with the University, highlight the capabilities that differentiate your firm from your competitors and how they can help the University achieve its goals.


Independent certification of diversity status is core to our partnership with diverse suppliers. Certification provides a number of benefits and we strongly encourage those interested in doing business with the University to pursue and maintain certification.

Certification can be obtained through a number of entities including local municipalities, transportation authorities, state agencies, and independent advocacy organizations. The list below reflects our most commonly accepted certifications:

  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VetBiz)
  • State of New Jersey (State Contracting)

Tier-2 Opportunities

Occurring most commonly when goods and services are subcontracted or provided by a contracted reseller or distributor, the University actively encourages and pursues opportunities for diverse firms on a tier-2 basis. While not exhaustive, the list below highlights the most common types of University purchases that diverse firms can provide on a tier-2 basis:

  • Scientific supplies and equipment
  • Maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products
  • Promotional items
  • Office supplies
  • IT hardware and peripherals
  • Design and construction projects

If your firm manufactures a product that you would like to inquire about selling through one of our distributors, or you would like to learn about potential subcontracting opportunities, email us for more information.


Princeton University is committed to providing a safe and healthful environment for its employees, students, and visitors and to managing the University in an environmentally sensitive and responsible manner. In collaboration with campus departments, Procurement Services encourages the use of products that minimize adverse environmental and health effects and take into consideration the costs associated with full product life cycles. 


Procurement Services is committed to ethical business practices that promote open and fair competition in the best interests of the University and foster the success of its supplier relationships. We abide by the National Association of Educational Procurement Code of Ethics.

University employees have an obligation to avoid activities or situations that may appear to be, or could result in, a conflict of interest. Employees must not use their University positions to influence outside organizations or individuals for the direct financial, personal, or professional benefit of themselves, members of their families, or others with whom there is a personal relationship.
Princeton University utilizes EthicsPoint, an independent provider of hotline services, to provide a simple and confidential way to report concerns of any kind stemming from possible noncompliance with laws, government or external agency regulations, or related University policies; errors or irregularities in Princeton's financial accounting practices; or unethical behavior related to a procurement process or transaction.