University Policies
Policy Contact
Vice President, Business Affairs, Auxiliary Services & Real Estate Email 401-863-2206

Supplier Code of Ethical Conduct

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to emphasize the University’s commitment to ethical conduct and compliance laws and to set forth basic standards of ethical, socially responsible, and legal behavior.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all members of the Brown Community and Suppliers with whom Brown does business.

3.0 Policy Statement

All Suppliers must comply with all applicable laws, codes or regulations of the countries, states and localities in which they operate. This includes, but is not limited to, laws and regulations relating to environmental, occupational health and safety, fair labor standards act, and other labor and employment practices. In addition, University Suppliers must hold their suppliers (including temporary labor agencies) to these standards as well.

3.1 Environmental and Sustainable Practices

Suppliers shall conduct business using environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable products and services (defined as products and services with a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment, and which generate benefits to the University as well as to society and the economy, while remaining within the carrying capacity of the environment), to the maximum possible extent consistent with the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.

3.1.1 Electronic Transfer of Supplier Information

Suppliers, when interacting with the University, shall, whenever practicable, refrain from providing hard copies of presentations, marketing material, or other informational materials. Suppliers are expected to present all information in an electronic format that is easily transferable to University staff.

3.1.2 Packaging Requirements

To the maximum extent practicable, all packaging must meet at least one of the criteria listed below:

  1. Uses bulk packaging;
  2. Uses reusable packaging (e.g., totes reused by delivery service for next delivery);
  3. Uses innovative packaging that reduces the weight of packaging, reduces packaging waste, or utilizes packaging that is a component of the product;
  4. Maximizes recycled content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Procurement Guidelines; or
  5. Uses locally recyclable or certified compostable material.

3.2 Occupational Health and Safety Practices

All Suppliers must provide their employees with a safe and healthy working environment in order to prevent accidents and injury arising out of, related to, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operations of the Supplier in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and other applicable laws.

3.3 Labor and Employment Practices

All Suppliers must adopt sound labor and employment practices and treat their workers fairly in accordance with local laws and regulations, including compensation, leave, and benefits. Suppliers shall maintain fair and non-discriminatory work environments and in a manner that comports not only with workplace practices mandated by state and federal laws, but also with Brown University’s commitment to the highest ethical standards in all aspects of its educational mission and business practices, including employment.

3.4 Ethical Business Practices

All Suppliers must conduct business in accordance with the highest standards of ethical behavior and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Suppliers are expected to conform to these requirements in each of the following areas:

  • Fair Trade Practices - Suppliers must not engage in collusive bidding, price fixing, price discrimination or other unfair trade practices in violation of antitrust laws.
  • Bribery, Kickbacks and Fraud - No funds or assets of the Supplier shall be paid, loaned or otherwise disbursed as bribes, "kickbacks," or other payments designed to influence or compromise the conduct of the University.
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) - While laws and customs vary throughout the world, all Suppliers must comply with foreign legal requirements and United States laws that apply to foreign operations, including, but not limited to, the FCPA.
  • University Policies and Procedures - Suppliers must comply with the University's published policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, the University's Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, Compliance with Laws, Codes & Regulations Policy, Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Purchasing Standards.
  • Intellectual Property Rights - Suppliers must not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, especially the University, its affiliates and business partners. Suppliers must take appropriate steps to safeguard and maintain confidential and proprietary information of the University and must use such information only for the purposes specified for use by the University. Suppliers must observe and protect all University patents, trademarks and copyrights and comply with all requirements as to their use as established by the University.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Suppliers must not transmit confidential or proprietary information of the University via the internet unless such information is encrypted in accordance with any minimum standards established by the University. Suppliers must not disclose confidential or proprietary information to any third party, without prior written permission of the University. Suppliers must comply with all privacy laws, including, but not limited to, the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act, the Graham Leach Bliley Act, General Data Protection Regulation of the EU, and the Personal Information Protection Law of the PRC.
  • Disinformation: Suppliers shall not directly support the creation and dissemination of science disinformation, defined as knowingly spreading false information with the intent to deceive or mislead.

3.5 Export Sanctions and Terrorism Activities

All Suppliers must abide by all economic sanctions or trade embargoes that the United States has adopted, whether they apply to foreign countries, political organizations or particular foreign individuals and entities. Suppliers must not directly or indirectly engage in or support any terrorist activity. Neither Suppliers nor any of their affiliates, nor any officer or director of the Supplier or any of its affiliates, shall be on any lists of terrorists or terrorist organizations compiled by the United States government or any other national or international body, including, but not limited to: (i) the U.S. Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals List, (ii) the U.S. State Department's Terrorist Exclusion List, (iii) the United Nations List Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1390 (2002) and Paragraphs 4(B) or Resolution 1267(1999) and 8(C) of Resolution 1333 (2000), and (iv) the European Union List Implementing Article (2)(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001 on Specific Restrictive Measures Directed Against Certain Persons and Entities with a View to Combating Terrorism.

3.6 Unauthorized Solicitations

All Suppliers must comply with all University policies relating to access to University facilities, offices and departments, and employees. No Supplier shall use the University's computer system, including its electronic mail system and internet site, for the purpose of sending unsolicited electronic mail messages to the University community. Suppliers are not permitted to use the University's intramural mail system for any purpose. Suppliers must receive prior written authorization from the University's Sr. Director Strategic Purchasing, Contracts & Insurance or their authorized representative to hold on-campus trade shows, exhibits, or product demonstrations.

3.7 Monitoring and Compliance

Brown University or its representatives may engage in monitoring activities to confirm the Supplier's compliance to this Supplier Code of Ethical Conduct, including on-site inspections of facilities, use of questionnaires, review of publicly available information, or other measures necessary to assess Supplier's performance. Supplier will grant access to information, locations, and other means during its normal working hours.

Anyone who believes a Supplier has not complied or is not complying with this Code may contact the Office of the VP for Real Estate and Strategic Initiatives at 401-863-7613 or, for anonymous reports, the University’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline. Reports will be handled discretely and given careful attention by the appropriate Brown University Administrators. Situations reported will be reviewed and addressed in accordance with University policies and protocols. Based on the assessment of information made available, Brown University reserves the right (in addition to all other legal and contractual rights) to disqualify any potential Supplier or terminate any relationship with any current Supplier found to be in violation of this Supplier Code of Ethical Conduct without any liability to the University.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Brown Community:

Faculty, staff, students and all Brown ID holders, to include sponsored ID holders.


Any person or entity that conducts business with Brown University.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures


7.3 Related Forms


7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Other Related Information

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Approved by: President

Contact Information:

Vice President, Business Affairs, Auxiliary Services & Real Estate Email 401-863-2206

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:



Webpage Updated July 14, 2023