Wesleyan strives to buy products with low environmental impact and has developed contracts with suppliers that offer sustainable products and support the local economy. The Purchasing Office has worked with vendors to consolidate ordering, reduce deliveries, and reduce packaging waste.  

The initiatives below show what we've done and what we plan to do via our 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP). See pages 44-47 in the SAP for more details.


What We're Working On

  • Office and Custodial Supplies
    1. Synchronize large purchases with the Purchasing Office - in progress
    2. Advertise pre-negotiated sustainable products - in progress
    3. Centralize office purchasing - in progress
    4. Reach out to departments not using recycled paper to change purchasing habits - in progress
    5. Seek preferred pricing for environmentally preferable office supplies - not started
    6. Limit office supply purchases to environmentally preferable list - not started
    7. Research the feasibility of conducting a life-cycle analysis of Wesleyan’s purchases - limited version tentatively planned for Spring 2020
    8. Evaluate ionized water “blue cleaning” as an alternative to chemical cleaning products - research conducted, project shelved currently
    9. Incorporate sustainable cleaning product purchases into the next custodial contract - complete
  • Vendors
    1. Expand the Code of Ethics to include minimum standards for social and environmental responsibility - not started
    2. Seek procurement relationships with businesses that meet the Code of Ethics - ongoing 
    3. Include historically underrepresented businesses in a vendor show - vendor show ended, so no longer pursuing
    4. Twenty percent of businesses working with Wesleyan are historically underrepresented - in progress
  • Culture of Sustainable Purchasing
    1. Continue to conduct annual purchasing sustainability presentations at Administrative Assistants’ meetings - ongoing
    2. Develop user information on sustainable purchasing - not started
    3. Create and promote a sustainable office supplies kit - not started

What We've Done

  • Office and Custodial Supplies
    1. All departments are required to purchase paper with at least a post-consumer recyclable content of 50%.  Nearly one-third of paper purchases are 100 percent recycled, including most paper for student computer labs.  
    2. Wesleyan purchases recycled or recycled content material for office renovations, seeking office furniture and cubicle components that meet these standards:
      • Steel has a 25% recycled material content
      • Hardboard has a 90% recycled material content
      • Fiberglass has a 20% recycled material content
      • Corrugated packaging has a 74% recycled material content
      • Aluminum is 100% recycled content
      • Plastics have a 21% recycled material content
      • 100% of the fabric is from recycled materials
    3. The Purchasing Office has held seven “Green” vendor shows since 2007.  These shows spread awareness of Wesleyan's focus on purchasing sustainably to employees and vendors.
    4. Over 30 campus offices use PROSHRED to shred sensitive documents.  Through this partnership, Wesleyan recycled nearly 10 tons of paper in 2019.  
    5. Wesleyan’s contract with SMG prohibits petroleum-based cleaners, polishes, and dressings or cleaning materials that leave an oily residue.  The contract also specifies products that are Green Seal certified unless an alternate product has been approved.  SMG uses products manufactured by Diversey, which are all Green Seal Certified and may also carry EcoLogo or GREENGUARD certifications.  In FY 2019, 87 percent of cleaning product purchases were for Green Seal and/or EcoLogo certified products.
    6. Sustainable cleaning product purchases are incorporated into the custodial contract.
    7. In 2012, Professor Mary Alice Haddad led students in an EcoPurchasing study of environmentally responsible IT products, and created guides for individual and institutional IT purchasers.
    8. Wesleyan has pledged to purchase only EPEAT standard computers and monitors.  EPEAT® (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool) is the definitive global rating system for sustainable electronics. The EPEAT system combines strict, comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use, and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. EPEAT was developed through a stakeholder consensus process and is managed by the non-profit Green Electronics Council.  Wesleyan's data center equipment purchases have gone down considerably as processes have continued to virtualize and move to the cloud.  
    9. The Cardinal Technology Store has taken great strides to sell sustainable products.  They sell reusable bottles and mugs, LED light bulbs, 100 percent recycled paper, and 35 percent post-consumer recycled content notebooks.  
  • Vendors
    1. Wesleyan's Procurement Policy includes a section on buying locally-produced goods and services to reduce emissions associated with transport.
    2. WB Mason offers sustainable and recycled content alternatives for many office supplies through the “Swap and Save” program. The SAGES Purchasing subcommittee and Sustainability Office continually work with WB Mason to offer sustainable products to offices and reduce shipping packaging.  Wesleyan has reduced the number of days WB Mason makes office supply deliveries from five to two days per week.
    3. A centralized purchasing portal is scheduled to launch in January 2019. The portal will highlight vendors from historically underrepresented groups through the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council.


Olga Bookas, Purchasing Director and SAGES Purchasing Subcommittee Chair
(860) 685-2122