Commitment to Sustainability

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Sustainable Purchasing

Purchasing Services is committed to environmental stewardship by maintaining purchasing practices that promote and encourage the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible products.

Sustainable Practices 

Purchasing Services helps support sustainability by:

  • Establishing sustainable purchasing criteria for various spend categories in the Sustainable Purchasing Policy, for example:
    • Computers (EPEAT)
    • Appliances & Electronics (Energy Star)
    • Cleaning & Janitorial (Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, etc.)
    • Copy Paper (Forest Stewardship Council, Green Seal, etc.)
    • Other consumables (total recycled content)
    • Apparel (Worker Rights Consortium, FLA)
    • Identifying, enabling, and/or promoting green products through Unimarket vendor catalog enhancements
  • Working with vendors to implement green services and programs
  • Procure products and services that meet Lehigh's Design Standards
  • K-Cup Recycling Program

Purchasing Services is a member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership. The Council’s programs help institutional purchasers prioritize opportunities to influence the socioeconomic and environmental impact of purchased goods and services, identify existing leadership standards and approaches that address these priorities, benchmark progress toward goals, and receive recognition for advancement.

Purchasing Services also participates in the Sustainable Office Program, currently holding a Gold certification.

Sustainable Purchasing Policy

Purchasing Services implemented the Sustainable Purchasing Policy in 2017. The policy was developed to help the University community and vendors understand what sustainable procurement means at Lehigh and to ensure our community considers social and environmental responsibility when making purchasing decisions. 

Purchasing Services encourages the purchase of environmentally friendly products that are made with recycled content, and products that are recyclable, energy efficient, and/or bio‐based.

Contract Requirements

In our commitment to support the purchase and use of such products, sustainability requirements will be included in contract solicitations. Suppliers will be required, when appropriate, to provide information to enable a life cycle assessment, including material sources, extraction, fabrication and transportation to assess their impact on the environment.

Depending on the commodity, requirements may include criteria for:

  • Energy efficiency, such as Energy Star and EPEAT ratings
  • Green Seal, Ecologo certified or other independent eco-labeling certifications
  • Low VOC and Greenguard indoor quality pollution certifications
  • Waste  reduction
  • Trade-ins – supplier take back programs
  • Reclamation services
  • Reusable, refillable packaging
  • Recycled content, including EPA requirements
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
  • Packing material reduction
  • Responsible delivery and transportation process and plan
  • Reduced paper use via e-Procurement or electronic payment vouchering
  • Certification that sweat shop labor not be used
  • Whenever possible purchase organic and local (in state) produce
  • Electronic and paperless processes and web-based catalogs
  • Credit requirements set forth by LEED (Leadership in Energy an Environmental Design) into product and service sourcing and procurement
  • Completion a Green Profile questionnaire and report any citations for noncompliance with environmental or safety issues.
  • Where environmentally preferable products and services do not exist, the University will work with suppliers to identify and develop opportunities

Contact us at with feedback or questions. Have you found a new environmentally friendly product? Let us know!