Skip to main content


HD-OOS- sustainability papers

Sustainable Purchasing

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.

To decrease the environmental impact from purchases made for your office consider the following:

  • Buy recycled paper for printing
  • Look for materials that include recycled content
  • Support printing vendors that print on 100 percent recycled and FSC certified paper
  • Buy office supplies monthly 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 businesseswith facilities management contracting goals and requirements.
  • AU buys EPEAT certified computers.
  • Aramark uses Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals where they are available.
  • Electronic equipment, such as office printers and refrigerators, are ENERGY STAR-rated.
  • AU Dining prioritizes local and/or sustainably produced food when possible.