Green Purchasing Principles

You have an opportunity to demonstrate environmental leadership, stimulate demand for environmentally preferred goods and services, and help the University of Alberta make progress on our commitment to sustainability. Simply consider the following green purchasing principles when making decisions about your goods and services.

Carefully consider whether the product or service is actually necessary prior to initiating the purchasing by evaluating your needs. Consider whether the product available in an electronic format, available used, and if the product is the right size for the job.

Recycled Content.
Whenever possible, choose products that contain recycled content. When choosing between products with different ratios of recycled materials, it's best to go with the product that has the highest post-consumer recycled content.

Consider ordering products that are reusable (as opposed to single-use or disposable) or allow sharing with multiple users.

Quality & Durability.
Consider purchasing quality products that are designed to last. Durable products may cost more at the onset, but will require less frequent replacement. Look for products that are well-made, designed for upgrade, and can be serviced locally or have single parts that are easily replaced.

Third Party Certified.
Whenever possible, select products with one or more eco-certifications. These products meet stringent environmental standards set by a reputable and unbiased third party.

If appropriate, purchase products that make the best use of their energy source. Many newer or upgraded models use less energy than similar models produced 20 or 30 years ago. Energy efficient appliances in Canada are easily identified and compared using third-party certification systems. Once purchased, ensure that the operators follow manufacturer`s recommendations for use and service for maximum efficiency.

Whenever possible, look for products which are made of natural, unprocessed and chemical-free materials. Choose materials that are ethically sourced, such as wood material from sustainably managed forests.

Consider products with the least amount of packaging that will still protect shipped goods, order in bulk through the university's Preferred Supplier System and choose packaging that is biodegradable or compostable, or forms of packaging that can be reused or returned to the manufacturer or supplier.

Choice of Vendor.
Consider the university's preferred suppliers. Choose a vendor that views environmental sustainability as a way of doing business, not as a cost of doing business. Consider companies that have a policy and a plan for integrating global environmental commitments into their core business strategy and practices.

Order/Supplier Consolidation.
Consider consolidating your orders to a weekly or monthly schedule. Consider minimizing your supplier dealings by using the university's Preferred Supplier System.

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