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Below is the Purchasing section of the 2021 Ohio University Sustainability & Climate Action Plan.  Click on the image to view a document with clickable hyperlinks.

Purchasing category, SCAP


Purchasing at Ohio University

Purchasing is an important part of sustainability.  Our purchasing decisions determine which businesses are financially supported by Ohio University budget resources.  Ideally, those purchasing decision will simultaneously benefit our people, our planet, and the prosperity of our region. 

Our Purchasing department is the reporting agent for several benchmarks in the 2011 Ohio University Sustainability Plan:  benchmarks 5, 14, 19, 20, 24, 28, and 29.

Ongoing Purchasing Sustainability Initiatives

  • EPEAT Gold computer purchases
  • Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines
  • Sustainability Statements in RFPs and RFQs

Definitions and Guidelines

Physical Purchases must consider the sustainable attributes of products. Sustainable attributes can include, but are not limited to:

  • Recycled Content: The purchaser should always favor higher post-consumer recycled content materials. Any paper or wood product that claims "virgin" (non-recycled) material is to be avoided.
  • Local: Products made within the state of Ohio or within 250 miles of the campus help support local communities and reduce emissions associated with long-distance shipping practices.
  • Conflict Free: Many computer products contain minerals that were mined with socially harmful extraction processes. If possible, the user is encouraged to investigate that a product is considered "Conflict Free" before making a purchase.
  • Biodegradable/Compostable: Paper products that are BPI certified can be sent to the University's in-vessel composting system, thus reducing the institution's landfilled waste. Such products are to be favored over their non-biodegradable counterparts.
  • Fair Trade: Products, especially products acquired from oversees, that are labeled as "Fair Trade" are more socially responsible than those not labeled as such.
  • Chemical Free: Cleaning products, hygiene products, carpeting, plastics, fabrics, and a variety of other products can contain harmful chemicals. Before making a purchase, check to make sure that the label ensures a product will not diminish the indoor air quality of OHIO's working and learning environment.
  • Sustainably Harvested: Wood products such as furniture and office supplies should be certified as sustainably harvested (FSC Certified) or rapidly regenerating (such as bamboo).
  • Energy Efficient: Products that are Energy Star rated reduce consumption of electricity and operational costs.
  • Offsets: Activities such as air travel produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. Offset credits can be purchased in an effort to compensate for emissions produced.
  • While sustainable attribute consideration may not be possible for all purchases, the following sustainable purchases are mandated by Ohio University:
    • Vehicles must be LEFE rated.
      • All vehicle purchase requests must be done through BobcatBUY. A purchase request for a vehicle that is not LEFE rated will be declined and returned to the requester.
    • Computers and computer appliances must be rated EPEAT Gold or better
      • Technology Depot is able to assist offices in the acquisition of computer products with this rating.
    • Paper products must contain a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content
      • As a condition of institutional office supply contracts, preferred paper purchases comply with this request .
    • All University employees are prohibited from purchasing closed cell polystyrene products (Styrofoam). Information regarding the reasoning for this policy can be found in the Styrofoam(TM) Fact Sheet (PDF).
    • All goods purchased by a University employee must give priority to goods that are manufactured locally, contain minimal packaging, are made from recycled or repurposed materials and have limited shipping packaging.

Departmental Purchasing Clauses

  • Ohio University supports the procurement of environmentally preferable products over other alternatives at a price increase of 15% of the total item cost.
  • Ohio University supports purchasing offsets at a price of 5% of the total purchase.

Disposal Guidelines

  • When a good is no longer desired, the owner must contact Moving and Surplus to have the product entered into the University's surplus inventory.
  • Moving and Surplus may deem the product inappropriate for surplus inventory. In such a situation, the user will make a good faith effort to repurpose or recycle the product. Recycling pick-up can be requested by emailing the Office of Refuse and Recycling at recycle@ohio.edu.
  • All electronic products should be disposed of at campus-designated locations for electronic waste

Recommended Sustainability Clause for RFPs and RFQs

All RFPs and RFQs are encouraged to include the following Sustainability Clause:

"Ohio University is committed to being a steward of our environmental, social and financial resources and, as such, gives preference to bidders who can effectively speak to their commitment to sustainability. The Ohio University Sustainability Plan (found online at www.ohio.edu/sustainability) outlines institutional goals and benchmarks that are expected to be addressed in the successful bidder?s submission. In particular, bidders are asked to speak of their values and practices in relationship to local products, fair labor, emission reduction, Conflict Free products, low-or-no Volatile Organic Compounds, recycled content/recyclable products, and energy efficiency."

Additionally, it is recommended that "sustainability" be listed in the rating rubric appropriately (i.e., is the product local? Can the bidder provide regular reporting of sustainable products, purchases, recycling practices, etc.? Does the bidder incorporate carbon offsets in their practices?)

The Office of Sustainability is proud to offer support and assistance in any development of sustainability language for a specific RFP or RFQ. All on-campus entities are encouraged to email sustainability@ohio.edu to request further information and/or support.