University of California-Santa Barbara Sustainable Purchasing Program

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


Sustainable Purchasing
Sustainable Purchasing is also known as Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP), which is a strategy that seeks to procure products and services with a reduced or minimal (ideally zero) environmental impact as compared to other similar products/services that serve the same purpose. When "environmental" is defined in the scope of a product or service it pertains to the following:

  • Chemical use
  • Disposal
  • Durability and lifecycle
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Human health
  • Manufacturing and transportation process
  • Necessity
  • Packaging
  • Price
  • Recycled content
  • Social concerns
  • Waste
  • Water efficiency and conservation

The purchasing power of the University of California has the capacity to shift markets and drive technology toward a more sustainable model. Being an institution for higher learning, the UC is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to be proactive in its transition toward sustainability and the ability to educate our communities about the importance and feasibility of these initiatives. Additionally, purchasing with the total cost of ownership in mind (including energy and disposal costs) can lead to cost savings over the life of the product.

Using environmentally preferable purchasing as a tool to bring the campus closer to sustainability gained traction several years ago as a student effort and has now become an important part of university and system-wide business processes. Sustainable purchasing efforts have been truly collaborative as they require interaction from multiple stakeholders at all levels of decision making on campus. As UCSB moves forward, it is looking to shift increasingly toward environmentally preferable products and services, and a more sustainable campus environment.

Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPAT)
Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a procurement system that assists purchasers in the public and private sectors to evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors based on the following environmental attributes:

  • Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials
  • Materials selection
  • Design for end of life
  • Product longevity/life cycle extension
  • Energy Conservation
  • End of life management
  • Corporate performance
  • Packaging

EPEAT evaluates electronic products according to three tiers of environmental performance – Bronze, Silver, and Gold. To qualify for acceptance as an EPEAT product, it must conform to all the required criteria. A higher ranking (Gold) is obtained by meeting the various levels of additional optional criteria.

Dell (a current UC Strategic Source Vendor) offers computers rated in the EPEAT Gold category.

To determine which products and vendors are available, go to the EPEAT website and click on the Registered Products Search Tool: