Sustainable Purchasing

American University's environmental impact extends beyond the borders of our campus through the products we choose to purchase. Responsible purchasing helps reduce emissions, keep waste out of landfills, and can support local communities. Selecting products made from renewable resources or materials that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable helps reduce environmental impacts. Selecting vendors that are local, small, or women-owned and minority-owned businesses also contributes to expanding sustainable purchasing. The Office of Procurement and Contracts helps offices navigate the preferred vendor list to find vendors that meet sustainable standards.

What You Can Do

Consider the following to decrease the environmental impact from purchases made for your office:

  • Buy recycled paper for printing.
  • Support vendors that print on 100 percent recycled and FSC certified paper.
  • Look for materials and items that include recycled content.
  • Buy office supplies in bulk on a monthly basis to decrease packaging and emissions from shipping.
  • Use reusable bowls, plates, utensils, and mugs and avoid single-use disposable options.
  • Avoid bottled water in the office and at events.
  • Avoid single-serve coffee makers and other beverages to substantially decrease waste from coffee.
  • Join the Green Office Program for more guidance and to earn recognition for green purchasing. 

What AU is Doing

As an institution, we have taken several steps to decrease the environmental impact from procurement:

  • In 2010, AU adopted a Sustainable Purchasing Policy.
  • AU supports small, local, and disadvantaged businesses with facilities management contracting goals and requirements.
  • AU purchases EPEAT certified computers.
  • Aramark uses Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals where they are available.
  • Electronics, such as office printers and refrigerators, are ENERGY STAR certified.
  • AU Dining prioritizes local and/or sustainably produced food when possible.