UNSPSC Classification

United Nations Standard Products and Services Code

Developed in 1998, UNSPSC is a global classification structure that’s primarily used in the North American markets. It has its roots in merchandise management, providing the capability to assign standard codes to products and services.

How the UNSPSC works

UNSPSC is designed to meet the diverse needs of businesses and groups operating in the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM), who are involved in buying, selling, analysing and regulating goods and services around the world. The system is in direct competition with other B2B classification standards including ECLASS and GS1’s GPC system.

The UNSPSC framework has a four or five level classification system:
1. Segment
2. Family
3. Class
4. Commodity
5. Business Function (optional).

Each level within the hierarchy has a 2 digit number, resulting in 8 or 10 digit codes that identify a unique product or service. Another 2 optional digits could be added for the Business Function, e.g. retail or wholesale.

Why use UNSPSC codes?

The main purpose of the UNSPSC system is to help businesses in the UN easily identify manufacturers and suppliers of the products and services they’re looking for. Using the system to classify and describe product ranges also helps manufacturers identify business opportunities and quickly expand into new UN markets.

The UNSPSC code-set is available in 14 languages and is free to download as an Excel or PDF document, although a user account or membership is required.

Do you use the UNSPSC framework?