University Policies
Policy Contact
Vice President, Business Affairs, Auxiliary Services & Real Estate Email (401) 863-2206

Environmental Awareness


Environmental impact should be considered in purchasing decisions, when appropriate. 

Policy Statement

Brown University urges departments/schools to consider the use of products and services that impact the environment less than competing products. Consideration should be given to factors such as:

  • Energy Efficiency.  Purchase equipment that is Energy Star-rated (or, if there is no Energy Star rating, equipment that is highly energy efficient).  Energy Star is a program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
  • Shipping Materials.  Purchase products that are shipped in containers that are returnable or reusable and made from recycled content (i.e. cardboard boxes).  Also request bulk packaging when multiple items are ordered for delivery at the same time.
  • Recycled Content.  Purchase products made with recycled content suitable for the intended use.  Look for a high percentage of post-consumer content.  ‘Post-Consumer’ is material that has served its intended purpose and has been discarded for disposal or recovery by a business or consumer.  Other recycled content includes post industrial wastes which are by-products of a manufacturing process that would normally not be reused in the process.
  • Other.  Environmental performance of the supplier and/or producer should also be considered, such as waste prevention, waste reduction, pollution prevention, clean air and water programs, re-use of materials, minimization of scrap material, and any other green factory initiatives, etc.  The University strongly desires to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills.  Both the product purchased and the packaging materials associated with it should be minimized to prevent waste as much as possible.

Strategic Purchasing, Contracts & Insurance is committed to supporting the University's sustainability goals and the work of the Sustainability Strategic Planning Advisory Committee (SSPAC), which seeks to decrease the University's environmental impacts. We promote the practice of Green Purchasing whenever possible and encourage the campus community to embrace it, as we view this as a responsibility that we all share. Green Purchasing is the practice of procuring goods and services that cause less harm to the environment, and the living beings that depend on it for survival. Green Products are those manufactured with more environmentally-friendly materials or which are produced with minimal impact to the environment. 


University Departments.  University Departments are responsible to make best value decisions regarding environmentally friendly goods and services.

When making purchasing decisions, please strive to engage in green purchasing. The purchase of products that include the criteria below will be considered Green Purchasing:

  • Durable, as opposed to single use or disposable
  • Non-toxic or minimally toxic, preferably biodegradable
  • Highly engery-efficient
  • Recyclable or safely disposable
  • Made from raw materials obtained in an environmentally sound, sustainable manner
  • Manufactured in an environmentally sound manner
  • The cause of minimal or no environmental damage during normal use or maintenance
  • Shipped with minimal packaging (consistent with care of the product), preferably made of recycled andor recyclable materials

Policy Owner

Approved By
Director, Strategic Purchasing, Contracts & Insurance
Contact Info
Vice President, Business Affairs, Auxiliary Services & Real Estate Email (401) 863-2206

Policy Last Reviewed