Penn’s 2022 Green Purchasing Award recipients

Danielle Cavalcanto at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Division of Finance’s Disbursements Department are honored for significant solutions and novel practices for sustainability.

Tree branches on Penn’s campus.
The accomplishments by the 2022 recipients of the Green Purchasing Award align with Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0.

The University of Pennsylvania’s 2022 Green Purchasing Awards, presented by Penn Procurement Services and Penn Sustainability, were recently announced.

The award recipients, who are recognized for their outstanding contributions that significantly advance the development of sustainable purchasing at Penn, are Danielle Cavalcanto, associate director of interiors at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), and the Division of Finance’s Disbursements Department.

Cavalcanto is honored for her outstanding contributions to projects where she brings her expertise in planning and knowledge of sustainable practices to advance the many initiatives that support PSOM’s research and academic community.

As a talented interior designer, Cavalcanto instills sustainable factors in her designs, frequently matching inventory in storage to newly configured workspaces. In FY22, her reuse of PSOM furniture saved more than $230,000. In addition, she participated in specifying $3 million in sustainable furniture selections as well as approximately $1 million of sustainable finishes within most of the $28 million of FY22’s capital projects. Her work has led to sustainably sourced products for over 14% of PSOM’s total capital purchases in FY22.

Among Cavalcanto’s other accomplishments are spearheading PSOM e-waste collections and larger lab-clearing efforts. She also helped review the School’s lab-clearing process, culminating in a web-based resource utilized across PSOM. Other noteworthy contributions in the area of sustainability include warehouse product disposal and electronics and battery recycling.

The staff of the Disbursements Department Division of Finance are: Tamiko Allen, Yvonne Allen, Bob Bonhage, Sarah Boyer, Virginia Drier, Laurissa Helton, Crystal High, Donna Jastrzebski, Michelle Miller, Kim Montgomery, Renee Nowaczyk, Shanel Plummer, Mike Popko, Ty Saekouay, and Lisa Smith.

The Disbursements team is recognized for three key accomplishments where advances were made in achieving their sustainability goals.

One significant achievement was going 100% paperless in its processing of Purchase Order and Non-Purchase Order invoices. By transitioning to a complete electronic system and process, approximately 172,000 invoices which typically are generated on an annual basis, are now submitted electronically. This change went into effect on July 1, 2022.

Several benefits have been realized by moving to electronic invoicing:

  • Eliminates supplier paper and postage cost
  • Reduces fuel consumption from transportation
  • Removes the delay formerly experienced in receiving an invoice via postal mail
  • Expedites the time to load invoices in the system, resulting in quicker payment to suppliers.

The team also focused on decreasing the number of paper checks issued to suppliers. Over the past year, electronic payments increased by 18%. Suppliers are paid more quickly and safely while sustainably reducing costs. In addition, Disbursements has increased the use of Zelle and Paypal/Venmo payments.

In February 2022, the team launched the new Greenphire ClinCard platform that offers a virtual VISA ClinCard in addition to the physical VISA ClinCard. Of the 295 University clinical studies and programs in this card platform, there are 7,910 card participants; 4,699 or 59% of the card population received a virtual card in place of plastic.

These noteworthy accomplishments from the 2022 recipients of the Green Purchasing Award align with Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0, the University’s comprehensive strategic roadmap for environmental sustainability.