United Nations Standard Products & Services Code (UNSPSC)

UNSPSC is a procurement classification system used by some public departments. The code is eight digits, with each pair of digits having some meaning. It has no check digit. The minimum fee to join is for an individual, this is $300 pa. The codes can be downloaded free of charge only in PDF format. An excel version is also available and can be downloaded for $50 per version. The headings are added and changed fairly frequently; the current version 19.0501 has 83229 headings. The codes can also be searched on the website. There are no item (product) level codes or standardized descriptions.


  • Free to download in PDF format
  • Extremely comprehensive


  • Heading level only, no item level codes or standardized descriptions
  • Codes can be difficult to find and use
  • Headings added or changed frequently, making it difficult to stay up to date, or know which version is being used
  • Cannot be applied uniformly or quality assured
  • Cannot be used to collaborate on procurement or share information other than at a very high level
  • It is not a foundation for moving forward to full coding.
  • Some headings are confusing as they are duplicated in other areas
  • Spellings / terminology are Amerocentric.