Oberlin College, OH Green Purchasing Policy

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Oberlin College, OH, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted by the Committee on Environmental Sustainability on 4/19/07

Source File: http://www.aashe.org/resources/documents/OberlinCollegeGreenPurchasingPolicy.pdf


1. Policy Statement

Oberlin College is committed to the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible materials and products.

This document outlines the multiple factors that determine Oberlin’s procurement decisions. These procurement decisions amend economic criteria with strong commitments towards environmental and social responsibility. In 1999, the Oberlin College Sweatshop-Free Apparel Code of Purchasing established Oberlin College’s commitment to purchase socially responsible apparel. This Green Purchasing Policy expands our commitment to social responsibility beyond apparel to all products. People authorized to make purchases on behalf of the college are expected to support our commitment to environmental responsibility through the guidelines and procedures contained in this Green Purchasing Policy. This Green Purchasing Policy provides a means for implementation of the Environmental Policy Statement of March 2004, proposed and approved by the General Faculty Planning Committee and the Board of Trustees, and the Strategic Plan of March 5, 2005, approved by the General Faculty and the Board of Trustees, as it relates to all college purchases. The Green Purchasing Policy shall be implemented to complement the American University and College President’s Climate Commitment signed by President Nancy Dye in November, 2006.

2. Desired Environmental Attributes

When determining whether a product is environmentally preferable all phases of the product’s life cycle will be considered, including: raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, operation, maintenance, disposal, potential for reuse and ability to be recycled. The following environmental attributes should be considered desirable:

  • Biodegradable
  • Carcinogen-free
  • Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free
  • Compostable
  • Durable
  • Energy efficient
  • Heavy metal free (e.g., no lead, mercury, cadmium)
  • Less hazardous
  • Locally manufactured or grown
  • Low volatile organic compound (VOC) content
  • Low-toxicity
  • Lower embodied energy
  • Made from rapidly Renewable materials
  • Persistent, bioaccumulative toxin (PBT)-free
  • Preservation and enhancement of local economy
  • Recyclable
  • Recycled post consumer content
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduced packaging
  • Refurbished
  • Resource efficiency
  • Reusable
  • Third-party sustainability certification
  • Upgradeable
  • Water efficient

3. Goals

I. Maintain high environmental standards: Purchase products that meet the latest and most credible environmental standards available. In addition, any product that earns LEED credit will be considered a priority.

II. Integrate a Closed Loop Supply Chain: To develop and maintain a consistent ‘cradle-to-cradle’ supply chain and purchasing process which considers economic, ethical, social and environmental impacts for all contracts and purchases; where all waste should first be eliminated or avoided and where any remaining waste be considered feedstock for new product development. To reuse, return or negotiate with suppliers the reduction or elimination of all packing materials.

Ethical and social impact will be documented by posting the supplier and subcontractor’s annual corporate, social, ethical and environmental reports and other supporting documentation. When reports are not currently available the goal will be to work with suppliers to develop and implement corporate social, ethical and environmental reports.

III. Integrate High Environmental Standards into Buildings and Facilities Management: To integrate green purchasing concepts and products into designs, construction documents, final construction and outfitting of all Oberlin College buildings, renovations of property or facilities owned by Oberlin College.

IV. Research and Procure Alternative Energy: To conduct research and procure alternative energy from reliable, certified alternative energy suppliers.

V. Safety: To ensure that the products and services purchased by Oberlin College improve and strengthen the health of the campus community and natural resources. In addition proper MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) are identified in all contract specifications and kept on record.

Strategy for Implementation:

The Purchasing Office will implement the Purchasing Policy. The Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CES) will help the Purchasing Office establish goals, benchmarks, assessments, reporting mechanisms, etc. The role of the Office of Environmental Sustainability will be to provide the Purchasing Office with the technical support necessary to implement the policy and to assist with implementation primarily through education--both of the Purchasing Office to get them up to speed on green purchasing and other offices/departments to follow the policy.

(Note: To view appendices and charts, refer to the source file listed above.)