Ethical Financial Stewardship: One Library’s Examination of Vendors’ Business Practices

By Katy DiVittorio and Lorelle Gianelli

In Brief

The evaluation of library collections rarely digs into the practices or other business ventures of the companies that create or sell library resources. As financial stewards, academic Acquisition Librarians are in a unique position to consider the business philosophy and practices of our vendors as they align with the institutions we serve. This article shares one academic library’s research and assessment of library vendors’ corporate practices, a review that involved purchasing Consumer Sustainability Rating Scorecards and Accessibility Reports. Challenges the library faced include lack of vendor involvement and how to move forward when it is discovered that a provider’s business ventures could harm our library patrons or their families. As a library that serves two official Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) and one emerging HSI this evaluation also considered how vendor practices may impact Hispanic/Latinx students. 


The ethical behavior of businesses is often referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or conscious capitalism. CSR is the idea that businesses have a responsibility to consider collective values and contribute to society in a positive way. For some companies it is a fundamental part of their business model, for example TOMS donates a pair of shoes for each pair purchased. For others, it means allowing employees to volunteer during the year, contributing to charity, or developing more sustainable business practices. Greater societal good has been shown to have many benefits for businesses, including increased revenue, improved employee retention, and a strengthened supply chain (Trotter, 2017). This concept has even been incorporated into business curricula. Villanova University offers four types of CSR programs and Harvard Business School has a Corporate Responsibility Initiative (CRI) with the goal of studying and promoting responsible business practices (Villanova University, 2020; Harvard Kennedy School, n.d.).

A 2019 article published in the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility points out that “business’ concern for society” can be traced back centuries to Roman Law, but the concept was not written about until the 1930s (Agudelo et al., 2019). In the 1950s CSR was mostly philanthropic, while the growth of social movements in the 1960s highlighted issues impacted by corporate decision making such as pollution, employee safety, labor laws, and civil rights. It was in this environment that companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s, started to integrate social concerns into their foundations (Agudelo, et al., 2019). 

CSR has continued to evolve as investors demand that companies “serve a social purpose” (Proulx, 2018). In 2018, the founder of the investment firm BlackRock sent an ultimatum to several large companies demanding that they either contribute in a positive way to society or lose his firm’s financial support. Given that BlackRock is the world’s largest investment firm, with $6 trillion in assets, this move was considered “a lightning rod” moment by the Associate Dean at the Yale School of Management, an expert on corporate leadership (Proulx, 2018). Legal changes also reflect this trend. Beginning in 2018, under EU law, public companies are required to report company details that go beyond their finances, such as their diversity policies (Agudelo, 2019).  

Contributing to society in a positive way involves more than just financial support; social responsibility also includes issues related to ethics and equality. In 2019, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), an investor advocacy group, submitted ten proposals to Amazon, encouraging the company to refrain from selling facial-recognition software and to directly link executive compensation to improved diversity and sustainability practices (Romano, 2019). More recently, COVID has put a strain on many consumers, and this combined with racial unrest is “bringing about rapid change and heightened consumer expectations” (Moore, 2020). As companies fight to stay viable in these uncertain times, CSR can be an important part to staying in business, especially as people “see through platitudes and hold companies accountable when their stated values and actions do not align” (Moore, 2020).  Library acquisitions staff are consumers, though purchasing content for the library and university rather than for themselves. Just as individual consumers base buying decisions on personal principles, librarians operate within the values of their institutions and profession.


Auraria Library serves three institutions of higher education on one campus: University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and Community College of Denver (CCD). The authors would like to acknowledge that in order to create the Auraria campus in the early 1970s families, homes, and businesses were displaced (Gallegos, 2011). Eminent domain was enacted to remove hundreds of families and their homes, and most of the families living in the area at the time were Hispanic/Latinx and protested their forced relocation (Rael, 2019). As a form of reparation, the three institutions offer free tuition to the families, children, and grandchildren of those who were forcibly displaced and kept some of the houses to be used as part of the campus (Rael, 2019). 

The Auraria campus was designed as a place where a student could attend community college, transfer to a four-year college, and go on to earn a graduate degree all on the same campus. While that vision has changed over the years and each of the institutions has carved out its own identity, the library continues to be one of the few shared resources and services. Auraria Library serves a diverse patron population and offers resources that support curricula from the vocational to the PhD level. MSU Denver & CCD are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), while CU Denver is an emerging HSI. HSIs are public and private, two and four-year not-for-profit institutions that have at least 25% full time enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students. 

Implications for Hispanic-Serving Institutions

City University of New York Law Professor Sarah Lamdan published two articles that explore “the ethical issues that arise when lawyers buy and use legal research services sold by the vendors that build ICE’s surveillance systems” (Lamdan, 2019, p.1). Westlaw, a leading legal database used by lawyers, libraries, and other private industries to conduct legal research is owned by Thomson Reuters, a company that also creates CLEAR Investigation software. CLEAR is Thomson Reuter’s software that law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), use to collect thousands of data points on people in order to assist with their investigations and identify community threats. The funds that libraries pay Westlaw support the creation and operations of CLEAR. These library funds are supporting surveillance, including surveillance of our most vulnerable communities.

ICE was created in part as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. While unauthorized immigration levels have decreased since 2007, immigration detention and removals have increased since 2015 (Krogstad et al., 2019; Guo & Baugh 2019). ICE has been criticized for its policies and abuses of power. ICE tracks down immigrants when nothing illegal is happening and who have no criminal record (Lamdan, 2019). In 2017, ICE requested that the National Records and Archives Administration (NARA) destroy documentation for abuse allegations related to violent assault, sexual assault, and death back to the creation of ICE in 2003 (Eagle, 2019). While NARA initially approved this request public and professional outcry pushed NARA to reevaluate this decision (Eagle, 2019).

Because of these practices, people within various professions have pushed back against working with ICE and the companies that build products for ICE. Employees at Microsoft (including its GitHub subsidiary), Google, and Amazon have all pushed back against their own companies working with ICE (Bergen & Bass, 2019; Chao, 2018; Shahani, 2019; Shaban, 2018). Colleges and universities around the U.S. are seeing demonstrations from their students against ICE and companies that do business with them (McLean, 2019). For example, at Johns Hopkins, Associate Professor Drew Daniel, who started the campaign for his university to cut ties with ICE stated, “I think there’s a very strong feeling across the board from undergraduates that it was deeply inconsistent that you wanted an inclusive and diverse campus while partnering with ICE, because of the racism in the way ICE targets black and brown people” (McLean, 2019, pp.2-3).

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program started in 2012 and allows children brought to the U.S. without authorization before June 2007 and under the age of 16 deferred removal from the country. This allows them to stay in the U.S. and attend school and work with authorization. This policy was put in place under the Obama administration. While in 2017, the Trump administration announced it would end DACA, in 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that Trump could not immediately end DACA, and President Biden took steps in 2021 to protect the policy (Liptak & Shear, 2020; Redden, 2021). 

Most undocumented immigrants live in twenty cities across the United States. Denver has been on this list since 2005 (Passel & Cohn, 2019). Colorado has implemented several programs that support its undocumented student population. MSU Denver serves more Hispanic/Latinx students (5,469) than any other higher education institution in Colorado (Phare, 2019). All three institutions on the Auraria campus have support services for DACA students. MSU Denver was also the first institution in Colorado to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, and Colorado passed the ASSET (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow) bill that provides undocumented students the opportunity to pay in-state tuition at public institutions if they fit certain criteria (Metropolitan State University of Denver, n.d.). In October 2019, the University of Colorado System and MSU Denver co-signed a U.S. Supreme Court brief to defend young people who immigrated illegally as children and that supports their ability to pursue higher education (Langford, 2019; Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, 2019). When the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments to end DACA in November 2019, CU Denver and MSU Denver reconfirmed their commitment to supporting DACA and undocumented students (DeWind, 2019; Watson, 2019). 

There is surging nationwide enrollment of college students who self-identify as Hispanic/Latinx and the number of HSIs are increasing as a result (Garcia, 2019). According to predictions U.S. high school graduation rates will peak in 2025 with a national dip following in 2026 (WICHE, 2016). White high school graduates are decreasing while it is predicted that non-white high school graduates will increase from 42% to 49% of the U.S. population by 2023 (WICHE, 2016). 

In Colorado there is very little state support for higher education (State Support for Higher Education per Full-Time Equivalent Student, 2019). Because of this, universities and colleges rely heavily on tuition monies, and any dip in enrollment can mean a crisis for the institution. Higher education administration needs to be aware of how their practices affect their growing Hispanic/Latinx population. If colleges and universities work with companies that could harm these students or their families then they risk losing a segment of this growing student population. 

Vendor Ethics Taskforce (VET)

As Auraria Library staff became more aware of the undocumented student experience, their experiences with ICE, and the increasing importance of CSR, they wanted to act. In September 2018, Auraria Library created the Vendor Ethics Taskforce (VET). The charge of VET was to research and evaluate its learning materials vendors using values-based metrics. VET’s assessments would be used in renewal or new subscription/purchasing decisions and negotiations and to start conversations with vendors about areas of concern. As good stewards of the institutions’ funds, its goal was to avoid working with companies that are out of alignment with the library’s and institutions’ values. 

VET selected a small number of vendors to assess to start including a variety based on size and products offered. VET wanted a broad representation in its pilot project and so included vendors that VET had potential ethical concerns about, vendors it thought would score well overall, and vendors for which VET was unsure of the outcome.

VET consisted of members from Collections Strategies, Researcher Support Services, and Education and Outreach Services departments. VET selected five metrics after reviewing the library’s values and mission statement; its three institutions’ values, vision, and mission statements; and the American Library Association’s professional values. The metrics are as follows: 

1. Diversity: This metric seeks to examine the internal hiring practices of the company, paying particular attention to the diversity of the companies’ high-level staff and board members and pay equity. 

2. Ethics: Ethics refer to what the company values and how this informs its decision making. This is commonly referred to as a company’s Code of Conduct, Standards of Business, Core Values, or Code of Ethics.

3. Data Privacy: What data does the company collect on patrons? How is it used and by whom? Is the company also an information broker? Does it actively collect and sell data?  

4. Accessibility: Does the company have an accessibility statement, and does it indicate they follow national accessibility standards? Do the company’s products meet national accessibility guidelines (WCAG, Section 508)? If not, how are they addressing the shortfalls? 

5. Environment/Sustainability: Does the company have a statement on sustainability? Does it give to an environmental charity? Is it winning sustainability awards?

After several months of researching and determining the metrics that VET would use VET recognized the need for outside expertise. VET researched outside consultants and obtained funding to procure their services. In early 2019 VET selected two companies with which to contract: EcoVadis and Michigan State University’s Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting Services (MSU UARC). Because transparency was an important component to this project, VET informed each library vendor via email before the vendor was assessed.

MSU UARC has been used by the Big 10 Academic Alliance. VET elected to pilot this service with six vendors and spent $3,000. During this assessment MSU UARC checked each vendor’s website against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. MSU UARC was given temporary access via a guest login to do this work and then provided a report listing the major accessibility issues on the site. The Big 10 Academic Alliance had reports on some of the library’s vendors, but they were a year or more out-of-date. VET planned to use the older Big 10 reports against our newer ones to see which vendors are making improvements and which ones were taking no action in improving their accessibility.

The second company, EcoVadis, conducts Consumer Sustainability Ratings on vendors using international standards and produces a vendor “scorecard.” Each scorecard has four categories: Environment, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics, and Sustainable Procurement. During our pilot VET had access to a limited number of vendors’ scorecards. If the vendor was already in the EcoVadis database, VET received immediate access. If not, it would take EcoVadis a month or two to get the vendor added and collect all the data points to create a scorecard. In addition, an EcoVadis representative planned to work with VET on having follow-up conversations with vendors if the scorecard revealed areas of concern. They could help VET plan, for example, challenging conversations in which VET asked a vendor to consider changing specific practices that had been uncovered in the report. This EcoVadis pilot cost the Auraria Library $2,000. 

Each of the EcoVadis vendors was sent a letter via email inviting them to participate in this initiative in May 2019. See Appendix A for an example. The letter, signed by Auraria Library’s Director, explained that VET wanted to conduct this assessment to help its library demonstrate excellent financial stewardship, while also ensuring that the social and environmental performances of its vendors aligned with its institutions’ values. The vendors were also notified that there would be a small cost to them to participate in addition to the fee Auraria had already paid. Depending on the size of their company the vendor would need to pay somewhere between $500 and $2,000. The authors have chosen only to share the names of the vendors for whom we did receive scorecards.

Outcomes and Findings


Overall VET discovered that library vendors are not ready to participate in a program like EcoVadis. Out of all the vendors contacted, only two shared their EcoVadis scorecards. One was Clarivate, and it already had a scorecard in place. Informa was the only vendor willing to go through the steps to have itself assessed. Some of the other companies said they were not able or willing to participate due to the labor and cost involved to them. However, there was one company that already had an EcoVadis scorecard but refused to allow EcoVadis to share it with VET. VET members ended up talking with vendors’ lawyers in a few cases when the company was deciding whether to participate. Some companies said they would reconsider participating in the future. 

Since Auraria Library had paid for access to scorecards and was not getting them due to lack of vendor participation, VET decided to try another tactic. VET reached out to University Procurement staff to let them know about this pilot and to see if they had any vendors they would be interested in asking for scorecards. As it happened, the Director of Strategic Procurement had been considering EcoVadis for some time. University Procurement added their own suppliers and were able to get reports for Adobe, Agilent Technologies, AVIS, CISCO, DELL, Enterprise, Fastenal, Lenovo, MedLine, SAP SE, Staples, Thermo Fisher Scientific, UPS, and WW Grainger. 

The two EcoVadis scorecards for the library vendors varied in detail. The one for Clarivate did not have enough information to be helpful due to a lack of documented policies or procedures shared by Clarivate with EcoVadis. The Informa scorecard showed Informa in a high percentile (good). Overall, Informa had many more strength areas than areas that needed improvement. VET also had various conversations with its Informa representative and was able to learn about the work Informa is doing and awards they have received around sustainability. 

Despite not being able to obtain EcoVadis scorecards for most vendors, the project resulted in a stronger relationship between University Procurement and the library. The EcoVadis scorecards for University Procurement, on the whole, contained more detail and information that could help the University identify companies that support the institution’s values. One reason for this could be that these larger companies are expected to provide this information to their customers. Libraries have not historically been asking for this type of information from library vendors, and so perhaps these companies were unprepared to give it out.

Accessibility Reports

After receiving the accessibility reports in August 2019, VET shared them with our Tri-institutional Accessibility Committee, a committee that consists of accessibility experts from each school on the Auraria campus and several library representatives. Each report described accessibility issues the vendors had resolved based on the Big 10 reports, issues that still existed, and new accessibility issues. The Tri-institutional Accessibility Committee suggested a couple of tactics: 1) include the areas that are below WCAG 2.0 AA standards in the next license, with the statement that they must be resolved by the next renewal or the library will cancel; and/or 2) negotiate a lower price, since accessibility is below standards. Following that meeting, we sent the accessibility reports to our vendors and asked for a response on how they planned to resolve the areas of concern. 

The first vendor to respond said they were planning a platform audit in 2020 and would incorporate VET’s accessibility report findings to ensure that areas that require action will be improved by their product team. The next vendor we heard from would not add the additional accessibility clause we suggested and refused to add even the library’s standard accessibility language in the license (see Appendix B), which most vendors are willing to add. Finally, several vendors never replied at all despite repeated attempts at contact by our library. 

Internal VET Templates

Since most of the vendors VET contacted were reluctant to participate in the EcoVadis assessment process, VET created an internal template to gather information itself. See Appendix C for the template. Through this process, VET found many positive steps that vendors are taking and awards they are winning for their CSR efforts. 

For example, Informa has won multiple awards for its sustainability work. It was named a 2018 industry mover in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; a member of the FTSE4Good index, which is a group of ethical investment stock choices based on a range of corporate responsibility criteria; and a constituent of the Ethibel Sustainability Index for Excellence in Europe, which is a list of the 200 top performing companies for corporate responsibility in Europe (G. Howcroft, personal communication, March 21, 2017). Through this template, VET also found that Cambridge installed a large solar array to cut CO2 emissions by 20% (Cambridge University Press, 2019). This was especially positive and consistent with Auraria’s values, as the Auraria Library had just installed solar panels on the roof, which cover two-thirds of the Library’s current energy usage and distribute surplus power back to the campus grid (Evans, 2019). The Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC), which officially launched in 2020, promotes the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility work being done by scholarly communications associations and societies. 

VET used the research it gathered when holding conversations with vendors. Thomson Reuters’ CLEAR Investigation software and specifically ICE’s use of this data was still a major concern for a library that serves so many undocumented students. During a phone call with Westlaw representatives, VET addressed some of its concerns including the concern that CLEAR software relied on artificial intelligence and facial recognition software, which has been shown to be racist and sexist (Lohr, 2018; Buolamwini & Gebru, 2018). VET also was concerned that the Thomson Reuters’ CEO was on the board of the ICE Foundation. This was an uncomfortable conversation and indicated that many of our library priorities were out of alignment with priorities for Thomson Reuters. VET received follow-up information that addressed some VET concerns, specifically that CLEAR does not use facial recognition technology and that the CEO is no longer on the ICE Foundation Board (the ICE Foundation is no longer in operation as of the writing of this paper).

One of VET’s library colleagues wanted to test removing his data from CLEAR, but when VET looked at the criteria, he did not qualify. Thomson Reuters allows judges, public officials, or members of law enforcement to request their personal data be removed if they can prove that having the data in CLEAR exposes them to risk or physical harm and/or they are a victim of identity theft (Thomson Reuters, n.d.). As an alternative, our colleague submitted an Information Request Form to find out what information CLEAR has collected on him. After several weeks he received 41 pages of data from CLEAR. The data that CLEAR had on him included name, gender, Social Security number, phone number, date of birth, spouse, addresses (11 previous going back 15 years), ownership of four different cars, utility records, voting participation, and political party. There were also around 40 categories they collect data on for which nothing was returned for our colleague. Thomson Reuters collects this type of data on all of us. 

They also have incorrect data. The cover letter misgendered the individual and included incorrect addresses, an incorrect marital status, and an incorrect age range (Swauger, 2019). This is an example of the data Thomson Reuters sells to ICE and other law enforcement agencies. The consequences of ICE and other law enforcement agencies using incorrect data when detaining and arresting people is chilling.   

One outcome from the creation of VET and its many discussions was shifting print book purchasing away from Amazon to local and independent bookstores. There was unanimous support for this within the library, and the move has received positive feedback from faculty. While most of the library’s print books are purchased via the vendor GOBI, around 13% have historically been purchased via Amazon. Auraria Library moved that 13% to independent and local bookstores, companies that the library wants to support. There are still a small number of books purchased via Amazon if the library is unable to get them elsewhere. VET made this move because Amazon operations are out of alignment with Auraria Library’s values around supporting the health and wellbeing of people, especially those from marginalized communities. Amazon is in the surveillance business and has created and used facial recognition software with its product Rekognition, which has been shown to incorrectly identify people (Snow, 2018; Williams, 2020). In June 2020 Amazon put a one-year moratorium on selling Rekognition to police in response to community protests against police brutality and the deaths of many people of color at the hands of law enforcement (Amazon, 2020). Amazon is also repeatedly accused of having poor and unsafe working conditions for its employees (Spitznagel, 2019; Tims, 2019). 

Despite not being able to leverage outside expertise such as EcoVadis, VET will continue gathering reports on vendors using our internal template and sharing them with our librarians who make collection decisions. It has allowed us better insight into the companies with which the library works. An added benefit to the research is staff staying informed about industry changes and current events in the publishing world. 

VET also hopes to work with other libraries to combine our efforts. For example, another University of Colorado campus library is planning on reviewing diversity classification types, such as women, minority and small businesses, for its suppliers. This library will add the supplier type into its integrated library system so it can easily run reports to see where its funds are going. The library hopes to see how much it is spending on women-owned businesses or small businesses. 

Challenges and Limitations

During this project, VET experienced numerous challenges. The biggest challenge was developing a response when discovering a concerning policy or practice. All three institutions on the Auraria campus are committed to supporting undocumented students. The funds our library spends on Thomson Reuters products may go to support CLEAR Investigation Software, which is sold to ICE for multi-millions (Lamdan, 2019). The information collected by the CLEAR software may be incorrect as we saw from our colleague’s report, and using it to target undocumented immigrants is concerning. 

Nonetheless, our paralegal and other students need Westlaw to succeed in school and compete in the workforce. If our library cancelled our Westlaw subscription, this would put our students at a disadvantage and they may not be able to secure employment in the legal field.  Our librarians talked with legal and paralegal professors on campus and trialed other products, but Westlaw is what law firms use. As Lamdan (2019) points out Westlaw and Lexis are the dominant resources used within the legal profession. 

It put us in a position of having to support one student group over another. While cancelling Westlaw would be a strong statement of our library’s values, it would not change Thomson Reuters’ work. It would continue to develop CLEAR and sell it to ICE and other law enforcement agencies. In the end, the library reluctantly renewed its Westlaw subscription.

Another challenge was getting vendors to participate in a formal project that uses internationally recognized standards. While VET was able to research on its own, the level and amount of information the authors were able to gather was very limited compared to a program like EcoVadis offers. Although CSR has a long history across industries, many vendors were reluctant to provide information addressing sustainability, diversity, privacy, accessibility, or ethics. It is our hope that persistent discussions about these issues will encourage our vendors to make changes that benefit libraries and the communities we serve. This is an approach summarized by the CEO of Newground Social Investment, a Seattle investment firm: “You have to have consistent applied pressure to gradually change. But because [the companies are] so big, that change of trajectory leads to immensely better outcomes” (Romano, 2019).

While VET hoped to demonstrate ethical financial stewardship with this project, the authors recognize the library’s budget is just a small percentage of an institution’s expenditures. The library may be working towards conscious consumerism, but other departments may still have problematic business relationships. Many higher education institutions hold contracts with prison industries to use prison labor (Burke, 2020). For example, MSU Denver and, until recently, CU Denver had to purchase office furniture from the Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI) (Byars, 2020; Metropolitan State University of Denver Purchasing Manual, 2017). CU Denver is currently reexamining this business relationship after protests from students, staff, and faculty (Hernandez, 2020). Prison labor falls outside the Fair Labor Standard Act and is overwhelmingly made up of people of color, perpetuating oppression and worker exploitation (Leung, 2018).  


The authors call on other librarians and national library organizations to advocate that library vendors proactively address and share work around sustainability, diversity, privacy, accessibility, and ethics in their companies. Lack of documentation or little to no work towards ethical practices from a vendor does not necessarily mean that a library should stop doing business with them. In these cases, there is potential to have productive conversations between the vendors and the library to encourage companies to incorporate a CSR model. When a library sees a vendor take positive actions it is important to reinforce the value of that work. If a library sees a vendor out of alignment with their institution’s values, it should hold conversations first with the vendor and, if that goes nowhere, then hold conversations with appropriate individuals within its institution. In addition, libraries should support companies that are doing ethical work, look for alternatives, and create their own resources. We hope to see librarians continue to identify and address vendor business practices that hurt our students, especially those who come from marginalized communities.


The authors would like to thank all of the current and past members of the Vendor Ethics Taskforce: Gayle Bradbeer, Karen Sobel, Katherine Brown, Molly Rainard, and Shea Swauger. We are also grateful to Sommer Browning, Lando Archibeque, and Meg Brown-Sica for reviewing early drafts, internal peer reviewer Ikumi Crocoll and Publishing Editor Ian Beilin.


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Phare, C. (2019, May 13). New Colorado law extends state financial aid to dreamers. RED. https://red.msudenver.edu/2019/new-colorado-law-extends-state-financial-aid-to-dreamers.html

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Appendix A

Dear Vendor, 

Auraria Library would like to invite you to partner with us on a vendor assessment pilot project. Inspired by the work of MIT and the University of California, we are beginning a project to go beyond cost-per-use assessment of our learning materials and explore values-based metrics. This kind of assessment will help Auraria Library continue to demonstrate excellent financial stewardship while also ensuring that the social and environmental performances of our vendors align with our institutions’ values. 

In order to complete this project, we have selected the EcoVadis Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) monitoring platform. The University of California also uses EcoVadis to assess the vendors with whom they work. The EcoVadis platform combines CSR assessment expertise and data management tools which will allow you to demonstrate your best practices in areas of sustainability, diversity, and ethics.

Several vendors we already work with have completed this process. We have chosen you for this pilot project because we highly value the content you provide to our patrons. As a large academic library, we believe that by taking part in this assessment you are signalling to your customers that you care about social responsibility and sustainability. 

The EcoVadis CSR monitoring platform is co-financed by Auraria Library but also requires vendors to pay an annual subscription fee. This scorecard will be available to other institutions that work with EcoVadis. You will soon receive an invitation from EcoVadis to activate your account. Upon registration, the first stage will be to complete a CSR performance assessment. 

We thank you in advance for your time and willingness to embark on this exciting pilot project. 

Best Regards,

Appendix B 

Example 1

Licensor shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by supporting assistive software or devices such as large print interfaces, text-to-speech output, voice-activated input, refreshable braille displays, and alternate keyboard or pointer interfaces, in a manner consistent with the Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA http://www.w3.org/WAI/guid-tech.html). Licensor shall ensure that product maintenance and upgrades are implemented in a manner that does not compromise product accessibility. Licensor shall provide to Licensee a current, accurate completed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to demonstrate compliance with accessibility standards (https://www.itic.org/policy/accessibility). If the product does not comply, the Licensor shall adapt the Licensed Materials in a timely manner and at no cost to the Licensee in order to comply with applicable law.

Source: Big Ten Academic Alliance standardized accessibility language https://www.btaa.org/library/accessibility/library-e-resource-accessibility—standardized-license-language

Example 2

Licensor shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by supporting assistive software or devices such as large print interfaces, text-to-speech output, voice-activated input, refreshable braille displays, and alternate keyboard or pointer interfaces, in a manner consistent with the Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (http://www.w3.org/WAI/guid-tech.html). 

Source: “Soft” privacy clause modified from Liblicense

Example 3

The university affords equal opportunity to individuals in its employment, services, programs and activities in accordance with federal and state laws. This includes effective communication and access to electronic and information communication technology resources for individuals with disabilities. [Supplier] shall: (1) deliver all applicable services and products in reasonable compliance with applicable university standards (for example, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA or Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology as applicable); (2)upon request, provide the university with its accessibility testing results and written documentation verifying accessibility; (3) promptly respond to and resolve accessibility complaints; and (4) indemnify and hold the university harmless in the event of claims arising from inaccessibility.

Source: University of Colorado Boulder’s mandated language

Appendix C

VET MASTER Template 


Subscription Period: 

This profile last updated: 


Parent Company: 

☐Public Company or ☐Private Company

☐For Profit Company or ☐Non-Profit Company

VET MetricSummarized/Highlighted FindingsLinks/Shared Drive PathsTake Note!
Data Privacy    

2 Responses

  1. Name*Jeffrey Carpenter

    The flaw here is that there is a presumption that public policy issues have an absolute right or wrong, and therefore, as long as a business provides detailed information on their own public policy stands or the public policy stances of their other customers, you can on a linear scale determine they are ethical or unethical. The Westlaw example illustrates this does not work.

  2. I was delighted to read and learn. Were EBSCO, GALE/Cengage among the vendors who refused to participate? Vendor scorecards would have been helpful, but listing the names of all vendors who refused to participate or for whom scorecards weren’t made available (would have been helpful as well. Thank you.