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, ABM has made a strong commitment to purchasing Green Seal or EcoLogo Products.  According to ABM Cleaning Services:  

"ABM 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.  ABM'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." 

Oregon State Divestment Campaign 

On Friday, January 20, the OSU Board of Trustees voted to divest its assets in fossil fuel-related investment securities.  They also voted to restrict future investment of Public University Fund assets in fossil fuel-related securities.  According to the official investment policy resolution (Public, 2017), one of the considerations for the decision was “consistency of investment decisions with the University’s core value of social responsibility and its strategic goal to maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence, particularly in the science of sustainable earth ecosystems.”

To learn more, click here.


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.

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 website contains summary profiles of some of the leading sources of sustainable purchasing guidance around the globe. 

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.