Policy 1701
Sustainable Procurement

Date of Current Revision: October 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Associate Vice President for Business Services


The university’s commitment to sustainability is documented in the strategic plan and the campus Environmental Stewardship Action Plan.  This policy provides guidelines, information and resources for procuring products that will minimize negative impacts on the environment to the extent practical.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301.  The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Official document or seal providing evidence and details of something that is authentic and verified by a third party.

Environmental Stewardship:
Environmental stewardship at JMU means conserving, stewarding and restoring natural systems as we contribute to social well-being and economic prosperity for current and future generations.

The working definition of sustainability that is adapted from the Federal Register (2009): Sustainability creates and maintains "the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”


This policy applies to all JMU employees and students.


The university will align its procurement plans, practices and procedures with the campus environmental stewardship goals and campus Environmental Stewardship Action Plan (ESAP).


6.1 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" (bronze registration) or higher as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products.(http://epeat.net)
  • Electrical products purchased by JMU will meet the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR certification when possible.
  • All equipment and material shall conform to the standards of Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and bear the appropriate label. When acquiring or replacing inefficient interior or exterior lighting, energy efficient products will be purchased.
  • JMU will follow Energy Use Policy 1704.

6.2 Water

  • Water-efficient products should be purchased when possible. This includes, but is not limited to, high-performance fixtures such as toilets, low-flow faucets and aerators, and upgraded irrigation systems. When possible, those with the EPA WaterSense label will be selected.

6.3 Cleaning Products, Chemicals, and Pesticides

  • Cleaning products should be biodegradable and phosphate free when their use will not compromise quality of service.
  • Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification will be purchased or required to be used by janitorial contractors.
  • Vacuum cleaners that meet the Carpet and Rug Institute's "Green Label Testing Program-Vacuum Cleaner Criteria" (capable of capturing 96 percent of particulates measuring 0.3 microns and operating with a sound level less than 70dBA) will be used by in-house staff and required for janitorial contractors.
  • 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.
  • Pest control will be managed in accordance with the latest integrated Pest Management Plan.

6.4 Other Products

  • Biobased plastic products that are biodegradable and compostable, such as bags, film, food and beverage containers, and cutlery, will be acquired by the university and/or used by our contracted vendors.
  • Used or salvaged wood and wood products should be purchased whenever feasible.
  • Paper, paper products and construction products made from non-wood, plant based contents such as agricultural crops and residues should be purchased whenever feasible. Chlorine free paper and Forest Stewardship Council certified paper products are preferred.
  • Thirty percent or greater post-consumer recycled content paper for all applications will be the standard when quality of service is not compromised.
  • When specifying asphalt concrete, aggregate base or Portland cement concrete for road construction projects, recycled, reusable or reground materials will be used when practicable.
  • The use of reclaimed stone and brick and the use of secondary or recycled aggregates will be specified.
  • Transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, channelizers and barricades will contain the highest post-consumer content practicable.
  • Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable, or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.
  • Preference is given to suppliers of electronic equipment including, but not limited to, computers, monitors, printers and copiers, who have an established program to take back equipment for reuse or environmentally-safe recycling when deemed appropriate by JMU.
  • Packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable is preferred, when suitable uses and programs exist, as is eliminating packaging or using the minimum amount for product protection to the greatest extent practicable.

6.5 Green Building

  • Green purchasing concepts will be integrated into architectural designs, final construction documents and the final construction of all university buildings and renovations of property or facilities owned by the university. All buildings and renovations undertaken by the university will follow green building practices for design, construction and operations, where appropriate, equivalent to those in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System.
  • When maintaining buildings, products such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework with the lowest volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde will be used when practicable.
  • All carpet distributors and/or manufacturers of carpet installed at the university will have a carpet recycling plan approved by Procurement Services.
  • See Policy 1703 - Sustainable Construction.
  • Using chlorofluorocarbon and halon-containing refrigerants, solvents and other products will be phased out, and new purchases of heating/ventilating/air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation, and fire-suppression systems will not contain them.

6.6 Landscaping

  • All landscape renovations, construction and maintenance performed by internal staff members or contractors providing landscaping services will employ sustainable landscape management techniques for design, construction and maintenance. This includes, but is 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 will be used whenever feasible. Impervious surfaces in the landscape will be limited, whenever practicable. Permeable substitutes, such as permeable asphalt or pavers, will be used for walkways, patios, and driveways whenever feasible.
  • Plants should be appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established should be purchased.

6.7 General

  • Departments will use the standards outlined in this policy when making all purchasing decisions. University policy on procurement protocol will still be followed for procurement of goods noted in this policy.
  • Check the Procurement Services web page for frequent updates on vendor commitments to sustainability, including new annual contracts that can be utilized.


The director of procurement is responsible for the management and oversight of this policy.

Employees with buying responsibilities will be familiar with this policy and only procure goods and services that meet the standards.


Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense.


Requests for exclusions to this policy or waivers from its provisions must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Procurement.


The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the associate vice president for business services.

Previous version:  June 2015
Approved by the President:  October 2009

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