In every step of a product's life, from the harvesting of raw materials to transport to disposal, there are impacts on the environment and society. Before beginning the purchasing process, consider the following questions:

  • First and foremost: Is the purchase of this product necessary?
  • From what is the product made? How are these materials harvested?
  • Where is the product made? Who makes it? In what conditions is it manufactured?
  • How long will this product last?
  • How far does it travel to reach the consumer?
  • How much energy or materials does it use during its operable life?
  • How is it disposed of?

Purchasing Practices

Green Cleaning

As OSU's primary cleaning servies provider, GCA Services Group has made a strong commitment to purchasing Green Seal or EcoLogo Products.  According to GCA Cleaning Services:  

"GCA remains at the forefront of green cleaning development by tailoring sustainable, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective programs to meet the specific demands of each of its clients.  GCA's proprietary Custom Green program is the model of the industry and offers a holistic approach to develop the most effective cleaning methods that protect occupant health and safety, while reducing harmful impacts on the environment." 

GCA uses a management information system known as GCAware. This is used by operations managers to order supplies and equipment needed to provide contract services to customers.  Within GCAware is a “Standard Products List” that shows the approved supplies and equipment that can be used within the company.  These supplies are screened for cost, customer satisfaction value, and various departmental approvals such as Operations, Risk Management, and Training.  Effective 03/01/2007, the Green Seal program was added to GCAware.

Student Groups

Oregon State Divestment Campaign 

Interested in seeing OSU invest in environmentally responsible energy sources? The student-led Divestment campaign here at OSU is promoting just that. You can learn more about their cause here and on their Facebook page. 


Purchasing Guides

OSU Procurement and Contract Services (PaCS)

As the purchasing agency for OSU, PaCS has the authority to negotiate leases, supply contracts and procure services. By having a single entity perform these tasks, purchasing is simplified and the quality of product and services received is increased.

The PaCS Essentials is a detailed yet concise reference guide to the purchasing and contracting process.

The PaCS Manual contains all the information you'll need to navigate the procurement process. Sustainability in general procurement and in construction contracts are mentioned specifically.

Chinook Book

Chinook Book is a mobile app where customers are able to explore local businesses while using money saving coupons. Chinook Book selects businesses based on their ability to do business in a connected way. Chinook book is free to anyone with an Oregon State email.

City of Portland Sustainable Procurement Guide

This guide illustrates the City of Roses' purchasing policy and its emphasis on sustainability.


Buying Green Handbook

Published by the European Commission, this handbook attempts to guide consumers so that the power of purchase is used for environmental and social good.

When purchasing new computer equipment or appliances, consider EPEAT™ and ENERGY STAR-certified products. These products are verified to be more energy-efficient that their peers. In the case of EPEAT™, other environmental criteria like heavy metals, predicted lifetime of product, disposal and packaging are also examined.

Buy Green

This user-friendly guide helps to get the consumer started on making smart consumption choices.

OSU Purchasing and STARS

If you want to see how well Oregon State's purchasing habits translate into our STARS rating, you can read about it hereSTARS is a set of peer reviewed, standardized indicators that help measure, and therefore manage, sustainability efforts within higher education institutions. It is a is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from the higher education community.