Purchasing

Introduction

Collectively, institutions spend many billions of dollars on goods and services annually. Each purchasing decision represents an opportunity for institutions to choose environmentally and socially preferable products and services and support companies with strong commitments to sustainability.

254 resources

A New Way to Benchmark your Sustainable Purchasing Program

  • AASHE (PA)
  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (DC)

The members of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council have collaborated to produce a Benchmarking System for evaluating the maturity of Sustainable Purchasing Programs. The new tool is being used by ...

  • Posted Nov. 8, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Sustainable Procurement: Strengthening the Voice of Sustainability When Partnering With Procurement

  • New York University (NY)

Strengthening relations between sustainability and procurement is key to making far reaching impact university wide. NYU's Office of Sustainability has been working closely with the university's procurement department ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Data-Driven Planning for Campus Materials Management - From Inputs Through Outputs

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

While the higher education sustainability field is grappling with materials management challenges, from procurement through waste operations, there are limited tools and processes for data-driven planning. University campuses yield the ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Lessons from Year 1 of Turning the Page on Campus Paper Use

  • Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus (OR)
  • Root Solutions (CA)

Join this session to learn about the experiences of the initial cohort and AASHE's Turning the Page on Campus Paper Use program. Organized in partnership with behavior change specialists ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Raising the Bar - Updated Environmental & Social Criteria for EPEAT-Registered Computers/Displays

  • EPEAT/Green Electronics Council (OR)

Product design has progressed, and EPEAT standards are progressing along with them. An update to the computer and display standard that large-scale purchasers have relied on to identify more sustainable ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Put Your Fork Where Your Ethics Are: Exploring Food Systems & Leveraging University Purchasing Power

  • Johns Hopkins University (MD)

Do you support climate change? What about modern-day slavery? You don't have to answer that, the food that you buy already does. Worldwide, food is an essential commodity that ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Increasing Local Food Procurement at Ontario's 24 Colleges

  • Mohawk College (ON)

Mohawk College executed an innovative project that proved that by sharing knowledge, resources, and solutions, together, colleges can work together to address systematic barriers to sustainability. The project, Increasing Local ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

The Dirt on Real/Good Food

  • Macalester College (MN)
  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)
  • University of Calgary (AB)
  • Sodexo (FL)

What makes food sustainable? As an institution how do we implement and report sustainable sourcing of food consumed on our campuses? The Good Food Challenge (Canada) and Real Food Challenge ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Researching and Purchasing Real Food on Campus

  • Real Food Challenge (MA)

Our institutions of higher education have incredible purchasing power, with food budgets totaling approximately $5 billion. Instead of using their spending to support local and community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Raising the Bar Across North America: Tracking Sustainable Food Purchasing in Higher Education

  • Real Food Challenge (MA)
  • Meal Exchange (ON)

Across the United States, the Real Food Calculator has become a standard-setting tool for local and sustainable food procurement in higher education. This student-led research tool allows universities to assess ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Estimating Greenhouse Gas and Water Reduction Through Food Labeling at a University Dining Facility

  • Villanova University (PA)

As one of the most basic requirements for survival, food plays a massive role in how humans interact, not merely with one another, but also with the environment. The diet ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Leveraging Sustainability in Food Service Across Campus

  • University of Houston (TX)

The University of Houston has undergone a physical and culture transformation with a different food service provider and new collaboration with our Office of Sustainability. In spring 2017 the Food ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Local Food Sourcing in Kentucky: A Case Study in Higher Ed Collaboration

  • Aramark Higher Education (PA)

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have a unique approach to sourcing local food. Hear from the Sustainability Managers from their dining services and the Executive Director ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Food Service Contracts and RFPs as Vehicle for Sourcing More Sustainable Food

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)
  • University of Vermont (VT)
  • Farm Forward (OR)

College and universities need new strategies to scale sustainable food procurement. Programs like STARS and the Real Food Challenge have institutionalized sustainable food purchasing targets and many campuses have made ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Encouraging Sustainable Food Purchasing Through Student Programs

  • Skidmore College (NY)

Many institutions endeavor to serve local and sustainable food within its dining services, but the complex and often opaque food system presents significant challenges to identifying and sourcing responsibly-produced products ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Campus Advocacy for Global Impact: Fair Trade and the United Nations SDGs

  • Fair Trade Colleges & Universities (CA)

Fair Trade Campaigns is a powerful grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of conscious consumers and Fair Trade advocates on campuses and communities across the U.S. We are part of a ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Fair Trade and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte (NC)
  • Fair Trade Colleges & Universities (CA)

Fair Trade Campaigns is a powerful grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of conscious consumers and Fair Trade advocates on campuses and communities across the U.S. We are part of a ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Contracting for Renewable Energy Procurement: Financing and Legal Strategies and Considerations

  • K&L Gates (DC)

Colleges and universities are adopting aggressive sustainability targets and deadlines to reduce carbon emissions. To meet these targets, institutions have a range of options, including installing on-site energy generation and ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Getting to a Green Light: How to Build Organizational Buy-In for Large-Scale Renewable Energy

  • Brown University (RI)
  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • CustomerFirst Renewables (MD)

This interactive and action-oriented session will provide insights and tools to update your understanding of renewable energy, map out critical stakeholders on campus, and translate the renewable energy opportunity into ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Getting to 100% Renewable Electricity

  • Colorado State University (CO)
  • University of Denver (CO)

Colorado State University (CSU) signed the Climate Reality Pledge in January 2017 - pledging to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Since electricity is responsible for ~50% of CSU's GHG ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Off Site Solar - A Group Effort

  • Amherst College (MA)
  • Bowdoin College (ME)
  • Smith College (MA)
  • Williams College (MA)

Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams colleges-signed an agreement in February 2018 to purchase off-site renewable electricity. This agreement will facilitate the construction of a 'utility scale' solar power facility ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

Fair Trade Chocolates: Raising the Challenge with Sweets

  • University of North Carolina, Wilmington (NC)

UNCW is one of over 46 universities nationally that have embarked on a campaign to achieve Fair Trade (FT) Status by ingraining FT practices, principles, and policy into their campus ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
  • Conference Presentations
  • View more

JUST Label and STARS – Comparison and Synergies

  • AASHE (PA)
  • International Living Future Institute (WA)

The JUST Program has been adopted by organizations worldwide as a robust organizational transparency platform with a specific lens into social equity performance. As organizations and institutions seek to be ...

  • Posted Oct. 31, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Fair Trade Fair at Seattle University

  • Seattle University (WA)

In 2015, Seattle University was the first University in the Pacific Northwest to be designated as a Fair Trade University, building awareness about Fair Trade and getting Fair Trade products ...


EPA's Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)

With over 450 ecolabels in the marketplace today, each claiming to validate environmental and human health benefits, it can become very difficult and time consuming for purchasers to identify which ...


Real Food Standards 2.1

  • Real Food Challenge (MA)

The Real Food Standards are a set of criteria and certifications that define Real Food. The purpose of these Standards is to incentivize purchasing from food producers who reflect the ...


Emory University supports local community project and skilled job training with commitment to purchase lettuce

  • Emory University (GA)

Emory University and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta partnered on a project to create green jobs in a low-income area of Atlanta and help Emory achieve its 75% local ...


Emory University adopted a Pollinator Protection Policy in 2014

  • Emory University (GA)

Emory University adopted a comprehensive Pollinator Protection Policy in 2014, a first of its kind policy at U.S. colleges and universities that bans neonicotinoid application, plants pre-treated with neonicotinoids ...


Portland State University Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council award for Viking Pavilion Miller Paint work

  • Portland State University (OR)

Portland State University’s design standards and sustainable procurement policy commit PSU to using sustainable products, with a preference for materials with low embodied emissions. In response to PSU's ...


UConn ECOCoin Program

  • University of Connecticut (CT)

In 2017, the University of Connecticut bookstore rolled out its ECOCoin initiative, through which customers are given an ECOCoin each time they forfeit a plastic bag at the register. The ...


Good Food Calculator

  • Meal Exchange (ON)

The Good Food Calculator is an auditing tool, run by students with support from food service staff, used to track food purchases that qualify as Good Food over time. The ...


ANSI/LEO-4000, The American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Leonardo Academy (WI)

The ANSI/LEO-4000 American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture empowers the entire agricultural supply chain, from producers to consumers, to decisively advance sustainability in agriculture. It is a benchmarking standard ...


Stanford R&DE Student Housing Innovation in Cleaning

  • Stanford University (CA)

Stanford’s R&DE Student Housing Operations (SHO) adopted a green cleaning standard that has reduced chemical usage in residences by over 90%. The system engineer's water by infusing it ...


E-Book on Ethical Sourcing

  • Fairware Promotional Products Ltd (BC)

A starter's guide to assessing your supply chain and will serve to start you down the path of finding suppliers that share your social and environmental goals.


Purchasing Carbon Offsets 101

  • Second Nature (MA)

"Join this webinar for an introduction to purchasing carbon offsets through the voluntary carbon market. The webinar will cover how schools can use verified carbon offsets to meet emissions reduction ...

  • Posted May 8, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Learning and Teaching Sustainability: The contribution of Ecological Footprint calculators

  • Global Footprint Network (CA)
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Siena

Consumption habits imply responsibility. Progressive awareness of the scale of materials, energy, goods and services consumed on a daily basis and knowledge of the implications of consumption choices are prerequisites ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
  • Publications
  • View more

University of Vermont Eco-Reps "Curb Your Consumerism" Campaign

  • University of Vermont (VT)

While the consumption of goods and services is a crucial component of modern economic systems, the culture of consumerism contributes to waste, resource depletion, pollution, and social and economic inequities ...

  • Posted April 23, 2018
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Pass Up Plastic Challenge

  • University of New Hampshire (NH)

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire coordinated a Pass up Plastic Challenge. Students, faculty, and staff collected single-use plastics ...

  • Posted April 23, 2018
  • Photographs
  • View more

Sourcing “Less Meat, Better Meat” Through Foodservice Contracts

  • Farm Forward (OR)

Choosing a foodservice company is one of the most important sustainability decisions that a school, university, or business makes. Requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts can be used to articulate ...

  • Posted April 11, 2018
  • Publications
  • View more

Example RFP and Scorecard for Procurement/Advisory Services for Large Scale Renewable Energy

  • AASHE (PA)

This is an example RFP for a professional services firm to provide renewable energy procurement services that include the development and execution of an integrated strategy to procure renewable energy ...


Organizational life cycle assessment: suitability for higher education institutions with environmental management systems

  • Polytechnic University of Valencia (Valencia)

The purpose of this study is to analyze the suitability of organizational life cycle assessments (O-LCAs) for higher education institutions (HEIs) with special attention to the benefits and particularities of ...

  • Posted March 22, 2018
  • Publications
  • View more

Putting “Reduce” to Work: Getting Rid of Plastic Bags on Michigan State University’s Campus

  • Michigan State University (MI)

In order to mitigate the effects of plastic bags on the environment and to fulfill Michigan State University's commitment to sustainability, we pioneered a two part initiative to reduce ...

  • Posted March 19, 2018
  • Case Studies
  • View more

The Impact of Sustainable Purchasing Decisions

  • Interface Global (GA)
  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)
  • Delta College (MI)
  • National Association of Educational Procurement (TX)
  • Ray C Anderson Foundation (GA)
  • AASHE (PA)

This is the 4th and final webinar in the Sustainable Consumption: Sustainable Campus (SC2) series by AASHE supported by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The webinar will address the impact ...

  • Posted March 12, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Contributing to Campus Sustainability Culture through Purchasing, STARS

  • Green Seal (DC)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • EPEAT/Green Electronics Council (OR)
  • Forest Stewardship Council (MN)

In partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, AASHE explores how sustainable procurement can transform campuses and the economy in this webinar series, Sustainable Campus: Sustainable Consumption (SC2).

Participants in ...

  • Posted March 9, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Empowering Procurement to Transform Your Campus and the Economy

  • American University (DC)
  • Emory University (GA)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (DC)

Learn how campuses spend money and how they can develop practices and policies that make spending a positive contribution to sustainability. Attendees will gain insight from sustainability officers, campus procurement ...

  • Posted March 9, 2018
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

Green Interview: Kimberly Smith, Director of Conferences and Events, AASHE

  • AASHE (PA)

When Kimberly Smith began as director of conferences and events at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), she already thought she was doing her part ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
  • Publications
  • View more

Flame Retardant Chemicals in College Dormitories: Flammability Standards Influence Dust Concentrations

  • Harvard University (MA)
  • University of New Hampshire (NH)
  • Silent Spring Institute (MA)
  • University of Antwerp

Furniture flammability standards are typically met with chemical flame retardants (FRs). FRs can migrate out of products into dust and are linked to cancer, neurological impairment, and endocrine disruption. We ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
  • Publications
  • View more

University of Regina's Print Optimization Program

  • University of Regina (SK)

The Print Optimization Program originally started as the University's attempt to manage the number of print devices that we had on campus. Almost every faculty and staff member had ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Building a Strong Local Foods Program for Your Campus

  • Smith College (MA)
  • Towson University (MD)
  • Farm to Institution New England (VT)
  • Seattle Central College (WA)
  • University of Vermont (VT)
  • AASHE (PA)

Food systems have become an increasingly important element of campus sustainability efforts and planning, with varying levels of commitment and institutionalization across campuses. This topic has a variety of focus ...

  • Posted Dec. 14, 2017
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

College Students' Emissions “Foodprint”: Can Eco-Labels Shift Diet Types?

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Due to the higher greenhouse gas emissions from livestock food production compared to plant-based food production, it is imperative that consumers shift their diets away from meat. One possible method ...

  • Posted Dec. 12, 2017
  • Publications
  • View more

This tab provides access to data collected through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS enables meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community. Additional content and advanced benchmarking tools will be added to this tab over time.

Programs and Initiatives

The following links connect to specific Content Displays on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Scores

The following link connects to the Score Display on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Purchasing Partners

Kimberly-Clark Professional

Roswell, GA
Business Leader

Pharos Systems International

Rochester, NY
Business Leader
A certified B Corp, Pharos helps universities reveal wasteful habits and hidden costs making campus printing less expensive, more mindful, and more sustainable.

APC Filtration Inc.

Brantford, ON
Business Affiliate

Balfour College Division

Austin, TX
Business Affiliate

CustomerFirst Renewables

Gaithersburg, MD
Business Affiliate
CFR is an innovative, renewable energy advisory firm focused on bringing large-scale solutions directly to clients. CFR solutions typically meet up to 100% of power needs, cost less than brown power, and mitigate price uncertainty.

EPEAT/Green Electronics Council

Portland, OR
Business Affiliate

First American Education Finance

Fairport, NY
Business Affiliate
First American Education Finance provides customized financing solutions to help schools solve their unique challenges - from complex projects such as energy-efficiency upgrades and campus improvements to equipment management.

Green Seal

Washington, DC
Business Affiliate

Jostens

Minneapolis, MN
Business Affiliate

Oak Hall Cap & Gown

Salem, VA
Business Affiliate

Rivanna Natural Designs

Richmond, VA
Business Affiliate
Planet-friendly awards and plaques. FSC-Certified wood, recycled glass

Rochester Midland Corporation

Rochester, NY
Business Affiliate

Sleep On Latex

Chicago, IL
Business Affiliate

Staples Business Advantage

Framingham, MA
Business Affiliate

Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

Washington, DC
Business Affiliate

TreeZero Paper

Atlanta, GA
Business Affiliate