Macalester College, MN Sustainability Procurement Policy

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Macalester College, MN, US

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Type: Policy

Status: In effect

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Sustainable procurement is a powerful tool for addressing the social and environmental problems that the global community currently faces. An alternative model to traditional purchasing, sustainable procurement takes into account not only the price and quality of the purchased goods, but the social and environmental impact of their manufacturing and shipment as well. We aim to buy from companies with sustainable business practices to combat environmental destruction and worker exploitation. In doing so, we seek to provide Macalester College with sustainable purchasing alternatives that are economically viable and that meet the socially equitable and environmental values of the College. By facilitating sustainable practices on campus through purchasing sustainable goods, the Macalester community can reduce its own negative social and environmental impact while promoting sustainable alternatives to exploitative business practices.

Sustainable procurement at Macalester also works with Bon Appetite, the College’s food service provider, who strives to provide sustainably produced food that is seasonal, local, organic, and healthy. Bon Appetite’s commitment to sustainability is maintained through its “Circle of Responsibility,” which includes educational material in Café Mac, menu icons that define the healthy food choices, and the creation of menus that reflect healthy and sustainable food options. The partnership between Bon Appetite and Business Services at Macalester reflects a commitment to promote sustainable lifestyles through socially responsible procurement.

Sustainability Products
The following are some examples of sustainable products and projects at Macalester. Please contact Kathy Johnson with project suggestions or ideas.

Cleaning Supplies:
Facilities Management is testing three green cleaning product lines right now on campus. The early results show that the custodians are very satisfied with the performance of all three, and it is our goal that by the end of 2007 Macalester will have switched over to a completely non-toxic cleaning system.

Compostable Cups:
In the summer of 2007, Macalester began purchasing compostable non-toxic paper cups from Clover Nook Center for the Blind. These cups will replace the small white styrofoam logo-ed cups that have been used in catering, and the brown cups at the Grille. Clover nook is a 103 year-old non-profit in Ohio that works with the blind and visually impaired community. The cups are made by a workforce that is 75% blind or visually impaired who receive a living wage with benefits. The cups were the same price as our original white cups – they were slightly more expensive than the cups at the Grille, but there will be no increase in prices for drinks. Macalester purchases over 55,000 cups a year. These cups will already be compostable for when Macalester begins organics collection in the next 2-3 years.

Lighting Upgrade:
As a part of Macalester College’s focus on energy efficiency we are going to upgrading our lighting on campus. The 32W 4ft’ fluorescent bulbs on campus are going to be switched out with 25W 4ft’ bulbs starting in January. This upgrade will reduce the amount of electricity that each bulb uses by 21%. Multiply this by roughly 17,000 bulbs and the energy savings are substantial. With projected savings of approximately $40,000 annually the upgrade is estimated to pay for itself in 1.5 years with a rebate from Xcel Energy.

Toilet Paper and Paper Towels:
Macalester is currently testing new toilet paper and paper towels to use on campus. The new paper products are 100% recycled and are Green Seal certified, guaranteeing that they are not produced with any toxic chemicals or chlorine-based bleaches. The new products are substantially cheaper, and will save Macalester about $26,000 a year in purchasing costs.