In an effort to reduce the University’s environmental footprint through the products and services it procures, Boston University first launched its Green Purchasing initiative in 2004, choosing products and services that have a smaller environmental impact in areas such as manufacturing, transportation, recycling, and disposal.

Waste has been reduced through consolidated ordering and deliveries, so products arrive in bulk, reducing trip frequency. Reduction in supplier packaging materials has also been implemented, further reducing our environmental impact.

In addition, BU Sourcing & Procurement has developed primary contracts with vendors including W.B. Mason and Fisher Scientific who offer alternative products for use in both office and laboratory.

When placing orders for an office or department, BU encourages those making purchasing decisions to consider the environmental factors by patronizing manufacturers who:

  • conserve energy and water during production, transportation, and use
  • minimize generation of waste and the releases of pollutants
  • use recycled materials
  • produce products that can be reused or recycled
  • manufacture with energy derived from renewable resources such as biobased fuels, solar and wind power
  • use alternate fuel vehicles

Honoring this commitment gives preference to products and services that have a lesser public health and environment impact.

Green Purchasing Measurement and Management:

BU Sourcing & Procurement is continuously improving and implementing programs that foster sustainability within the supply chain.  To quantify this effort, Boston University implemented Green Purchasing Measurement & Management (M&M) in order to:

  • set a baseline for future improvements
  • identify cost effective carbon reduction
  • reduce operating costs
  • meet stakeholder demands (students, employees, community, society)
  • meet anticipated regulatory reporting
  • establish a basis for carbon offsetting and ‘zero carbon’ projects
  • establish Boston University as an institution that is actively reducing its environmental impact

Green Purchasing Actions and Guidelines:

  • Measurement and management (M&M) of purchased recycled content products, bio-based products, alternative fuel products, alternative fuels, and non-ozone depleting products; metrics and improvement targets for recycling and waste reduction.
  • Regular audits of supplier sustainability efforts; identification of selected opportunities to purchase products and services that are produced and sold by businesses that have management policies and practices concerned with the environment.
  • Increased environmental awareness of faculty, staff and students regarding purchasing and supply chain management as a key driver toward BU sustainability; continued employee education, supplier partnerships and demonstrated successes.
  • Centralized sustainability reporting consistent with the Green House Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI); actions taken and identified, costs and benefits documented.

While there is no formal policy at this time, Boston University purchases energy star copiers, kitchen equipment, and computers. In addition, 90% of BU purchases are qualified for certification under Green Seal, Environmental Choice certified, or biorenewable cleaning products.

Green Purchasing M&M Initiatives:

Boston University follows the GHG Protocol and categorizes direct and indirect CO2e emissions (initiatives) into three broad scopes as described under Climate Action Planning.

Products & Supply Chain:

  • Campus wide recycling /waste minimization program(s)
  • Green Purchasing / Energy Star purchasing program(s)
  • Supplier packaging and delivery reduction program(s)
    Supplier carbon footprint discovery and assessment program
    Administrative paper reduction program (payroll, bill payment, invoice automation, phone directories etc.)

Other Initiatives:

  • Sustainability financing program; mitigation strategies and efforts
  • Evaluation /selection of a carbon offset solution/provider
  • New employee & student sustainability orientation program(s)

For more on Boston University Sourcing initiatives and supplier resources visit BU Sourcing & Procurement