Green Purchasing

What is green purchasing?

Making green purchases (also known as green procurement) involves choosing products and services that reduce our impact on the environment. It is rooted in the principles of waste reduction and pollution prevention, and also seeks to eliminate risks to human health. At every stage during a products lifecycle and within the supply chain, there are opportunities to reduce our environmental impact and costs. 

Why is green purchasing important at the University of Alberta?

The University of Alberta is committed to integrating sustainability into the many aspects of university life. Our general intentions are outlined in the university's Sustainability Commitment and Guiding Principles. Specific goals and initiatives are presented in our Sustainability Plan. Green purchasing is one key practice that anyone responsible for purchasing at the U of A can incorporate to help us advance our sustainability leadership and performance.

The University of Alberta is a major purchaser. Each year, our 15,000 full and part-time employees buy approximately 60 million sheets of paper and millions of dollars’ worth of supplies and equipment. In addition, approximately 4,500 devices are used for faxing, printing and scanning.

As a staff or faculty member, you can make a positive impact on the environment every time you purchase a product or service. By analyzing and adjusting your ordering practices, with the help of Supply Management Services and the Office of Sustainability, university faculty and staff can achieve a positive impact with our purchasing footprint.  

Make your green purchase in six simple steps

  1. Get informed! Find out more about green purchasing by checking out the following tips and the video below.
  2. Ask yourself “Do I really need this product or service?” It’s better to not purchase anything at all or to reuse if possible.
  3. Identify potential vendors. Who sells the product or service you require? It is usually better to use one of the University of Alberta’s preferred suppliers to maximize the benefits of order consolidation; however, sometimes the most sustainable solution is found elsewhere.
  4. Evaluate the sustainability features of your product or service. Check out the University of Alberta’s green purchasing principles to help you determine which product or service is the most environmentally preferable.
  5. Compare your options. When comparing vendors and products, in addition to price, you may also consider quality, service and delivery options; the amount of energy and water used to make and use the product; and the amount of waste generated over the lifecycle of the product.
  6. Select your solution and place your order. You have chosen your product or service and factored environmental impacts into your decision. Now it’s time to order your product. Whenever possible, use a preferred supplier and consolidate your orders to make it worth the trip.
For a PDF version of the 6 simple steps to green purchasing, click here

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