Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies
Sustainable Purchasing Policy for Information Technology

Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies

In November of 2011, President Thayne McCulloh approved new Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies on the basis of Gonzaga's commitment to the responsible stewardship of the environment and to reducing the University's dependence on non-renewable energy.  The purchasing design policy was crafted keeping in mind Gonzaga's core Jesuit identity and values which see sustainability as a matter of "moral and practical necessity" (U.S. Bishops).  The goal of the policies are to reduce the adverse environmental impact of our purchasing and construction decisions by buying goods and services from builders, manufacturers and vendors who share our commitment to the environment.  The Sustainable Purchasing and Design Policies will be carried out by considering the environmental and social justice effects of the product as well as the price in order to minimize the environmental impact of our purchases and to maximize resource efficiency.

Downloadable PDF version of Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies...

For Frequently Asked Questions of the Morning Mail Announcements... 

Gonzaga Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies

Gonzaga University is committed to the responsible stewardship of the environment and to reducing the University's dependence on non-renewable energy. This responsibility is particularly important for Catholic Jesuit institutions such as Gonzaga. As the U.S. Bishops explained in their Pastoral Letter, "Renewing the Earth," "A just and sustainable society and world are not an optional ideal, but a moral and practical necessity. Without justice, a sustainable economy will be beyond reach. Without an ecologically responsible world economy, justice will be unachievable." Recognizing this, the goal of these policies is to reduce the adverse environmental impact of our purchasing and construction decisions by buying goods and services from builders, manufacturers, and vendors who share our commitment to the environment.  Sustainable Purchasing & Design are practices wherein environmental and social justice considerations are considered along with the price, availability and performance criteria used to make purchasing and design decisions. Sustainable Purchasing & Design attempts to identify and reduce environmental impact and to maximize resource efficiency.

Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies

1.      Energy

  • All desktop computers, notebooks and monitors purchased must meet, at a minimum, all Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) environmental criteria designated as "required" (silver registration) or higher as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products, whenever practicable.
  • Additional consideration will be provided for electronic products that have achieved EPEAT Gold registration. The registration criteria and a list of all registered equipment are provided at
  • Whenever practicable, purchased copiers and printers shall be compatible with the use of recycled content and remanufactured products.
  • Remanufactured toner cartridges should be used in all copiers and printers whenever feasible.
  • All energy using products purchased by Gonzaga shall meet the U.S. EPA Energy Star* certification when available and practicable. When Energy Star labels are not available, all purchasing units shall choose energy products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program.
  • Suppliers of electronic equipment, including but not limited to computers, monitors, printers, and copiers, shall be encouraged to take back equipment for reuse or environmentally safe recycling when deemed appropriate by Gonzaga.
  • Where applicable, energy-efficient equipment shall be purchased with the most up-to-date energy efficiency functions. This includes, but is not limited to, most efficient space heating systems and high efficiency space cooling equipment.
  • When replacing vehicles, Gonzaga shall consider less-polluting alternatives to diesel such as compressed natural gas, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available.
  • When interior or exterior lighting is replaced, the most efficient sources economically and commercially available should be considered for use.

2.      Water

  • Purchase only the most water efficient appliances available that meet performance standards. This includes, but is not limited to: high performance fixtures like toilets; low-flow faucets and aerators; and upgraded irrigation systems.

3.      Toxins and Pollutions

  • Cleaning solvents should be biodegradable, phosphate free and citrus-based where their use will not compromise quality of service.
  • Paints should be low or no VOC when not cost prohibitive.
  • Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification standards or environmental preferability and performance shall be purchased and/or be required to be supplied by janitorial contractors.
  • All surfactants and detergents used shall be readily biodegradable and shall not contain phosphates.
  • Where practicable, vacuum cleaners that meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute "Green Label" Testing Program - Vacuum Cleaner Criteria, are capable of capturing 96% of particulates 0.3 microns in size, and operate with a sound level less than 70dBA shall be used by in-house staff and required for janitorial contractors.
  • Whenever possible, products and equipment should not contain lead or mercury. For products that contain lead or mercury, preference should be given to those products with lower quantities of these metals and to vendors with established lead and mercury recovery programs.
  • When maintaining buildings and landscapes, Gonzaga shall manage pest problems through prevention and the use of environmentally friendly products. They may either adopt and implement an organic pest management policy and practices or adopt and implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy and practices using the least toxic pest control as a last resort.

4.      Bio-Based Products

  • Compostable plastic products purchased shall meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards as found in ASTM D6400-04. Biodegradable plastics used as coatings on paper and other compostable substrates shall meet ASTM D6868-03 standards.
  • Paper, paper products and construction products made from non-wood, plant based contents such as agricultural crops and residues are encouraged whenever practicable.
5.      Forest Conservation
  • Ensure that all wood and wood contained within the products that Gonzaga purchases is certified to be sustainably harvested by a comprehensive, performance based certification system. The certification system shall include independent third-party audits, with standards equivalent to, or stricter than, those of the Forest Stewardship Council certification.
  • Purchase or use of previously used or salvaged wood and wood products are encouraged whenever practicable.

6.      Recycling

  • 25% post-consumer waste recycled paper should be the standard for all applications where economic use of paper and quality of service is not compromised or the health and safety of employees prejudiced. More...
  • All recyclable materials are to be recycled through the Gonzaga recycling program. This includes, but is not limited to: paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, steel, and batteries.
  • Whenever possible, Laser and Inkjet cartridges shall be properly recycled.
  • The use of multiple use (as opposed to virgin, single use) interoffice envelopes should be used whenever practicable.
  • The use of reclaimed stone and brick and the use of secondary or recycled aggregates will be specified whenever practicable.
  • Transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, channelizers and barricades shall contain the highest post-consumer content practicable.
  • Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.
  • All documents (by Gonzaga and Suppliers) shall be printed and copied on both sides to reduce the use and purchase of paper, whenever practical.
  • All surplused desktop computers, notebooks and monitors shall be disposed of through the WA Department of Ecology's E-Cycle Washington program or equivalent.

7.      Packaging

  • Packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable is preferred, when suitable uses and programs exist and eliminate packaging or use the minimum amount necessary for product protection, to the greatest extent practicable.

8.      Building Construction

  • Green purchasing concepts shall be integrated into architectural designs, final construction documents and into the final construction of all Gonzaga buildings, renovations of property or facilities owned by Gonzaga.
  • All new campus construction as well as large renovation projects will target the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent. This policy covers all building types as well as building components.
  • When maintaining buildings, products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde shall be used when practicable when purchasing materials such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework.
  • All carpet distributors and/or manufacturers of carpet installed at Gonzaga must have a carpet recycling plan that is approved by Purchasing.
  • The use of chlorofluorocarbon and halon-containing refrigerants, solvents and other products shall be phased out and new purchases of heating/ventilating/air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation and fire suppression systems shall not contain them.

9.      Landscaping

  • All landscape renovations, construction and maintenance performed by internal staff members or contractors providing landscaping services shall employ sustainable landscape management techniques for design, construction and maintenance whenever practicable. This includes, but not limited to, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, composting and use of mulch and compost that give preference to those produced from regionally generated plant debris and/or food waste programs.
  • Landscape structures constructed of recycled content materials are encouraged. The amount of impervious surfaces in the landscape shall be limited, whenever practicable. Permeable substitutes, such as permeable asphalt or pavers, are encouraged for walkways, patios and driveways.
  • Plants should be selected to minimize waste by choosing species for purchase that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established should be purchased in accordance with the Campus Landscape Master Plan.

10.  Food

  • All major food contractors, e.g., Sodexo, will compost food waste to the greatest extent possible.
  • When purchasing agricultural products, all major food contractors shall purchase regionally grown, organic agricultural products, if the products are available and if the vendor can meet the applicable quality standards and pricing requirements.
  • All major food contractors shall agree to work with their distributors to purchase a minimum of 10% locally grown products. All food contractors shall further agree that the 10% is an initial percentage of dollars spent and that all food contractors will purchase as much local produce and product as possible. All food contractors and University will review the local purchases annually and mutually agree on increases to the percentage where and when possible.
  • Major food contractors will minimize deliveries to campus to reduce carbon footprint of unnecessary vehicles coming to campus.
  • When serving dairy products, major food contractors will use local milk whenever feasible.
  • Major food contractors will follow waste minimization tactics such as providing staff training regarding proper thawing methods, equipment energy use, etc. as well as offer trayless dining.
  • Major food contractors will work with Campus Kitchens and local food banks to help them meet the needs of the community and reduce waste on campus.

Frequently Asked Questions for Morning Mail Announcements

Original Morning Mail Announcement
The newly approved Sustainable Purchasing Design Policy mandates that Gonzaga staff and faculty now purchase and use re-useable envelopes (rather than virgin new manila envelopes) for inter-campus mailings when needed. These envelopes can be purchased from Office Depot (item # 844803) for $25.99/100 envelopes. (If you have any questions about the purchase of envelopes or other office supplies, please contact Casey Pettitt at ext. 5649.) Although these envelopes are more expensive than the single use envelopes, it only takes three re-uses to make up for the added cost. The envelopes can be used up to thirty-six times—making each envelope less than $0.01. Not only are these envelopes cost effective, but they reduce the amount of waste Gonzaga produces. This is just one of the ways the Sustainable Purchasing Design Policy is making an effort to reduce Gonzaga’s operating costs and environmental impact. 

1.       Question:  We already have a supply of manila envelopes, can we continue to use these?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. The goal is to reduce waste, so please continue to use and reuse your existing supply of envelopes. Keep in mind that you might still need some virgin envelopes on hand to send mail to individuals outside of campus.

2.       Question: I receive more envelopes than I use. Is there a way to redistribute the envelopes to departments that need them?  

Answer: Yes. Purchasing has graciously agreed to have folks send their extra interoffice envelopes to purchasing, where they can then be redistributed as necessary.

3.       Question: I only anticipate needing a very few envelopes. Do I have to buy 100 envelopes, 95 of which will sit in my office gathering dust for the next several years? 

Answer: If you only use a few envelopes, it probably would not make any sense to buy a box of them. It will take a few months for the new, reusable envelopes to make their way into the system. In the interim, use whatever envelopes you have on hand or, if necessary, borrow from another office. If neither of these options work, contact Casey Pettitt in Purchasing at ext. 5649.