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Policy 1701
Sustainable Procurement

Date of Current Revision: June 2015
Primary Responsible Officer: Associate Vice President for Business Services


This policy supports campus sustainability at James Madison University and provides guidelines, information and resources in procuring products that will minimize negative impacts on society and the environment to the greatest extent practical.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods and a better world for all generations. (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 2009

Recycled Products:
Products manufactured with waste material recovered or diverted from solid waste. Recycle material may be derived from post-consumer waste (material that has served its intended end-use and been discarded by a final consumer), industrial scrap, manufacturing waste or other waste that would otherwise have been discarded.

Repairing what is broken or giving it to someone who can repair it or use it in its current state.

Using less of products and utilizing other means of doing business when available to reduce the amount and toxicity of trash discarded.

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


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.(
  • Copiers and printers leased will be compatible with the use of recycled content and remanufactured products.
  • All electrical products purchased by JMU will meet the U.S. EPA Energy Star certification.
  • All equipment and material shall conform to the standards of Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and bear the appropriate label.
  • 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.
  • Vehicles purchased or leased will have low emissions of local air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The need to minimize emissions and exposure to air pollution in purchasing goods and services will be considered.
  • When acquiring or replacing inefficient interior or exterior lighting, energy efficient equipment will be purchased.

6.2 Water

  • The most water efficient appliances available must be purchased. 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 Toxins and Pollutants

  • Cleaning solvents should be biodegradable, phosphate free and citrus-based when their use will not compromise quality of service.
  • Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification standards or environmental preference and performance will be purchased or required to be used by janitorial contractors.
  • All surfactants and detergents used will be readily biodegradable and will not contain phosphates.
  • 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 through prevention—physical and mechanical—and through the purchase of environmentally friendly products. As a last resort, use of the least toxic pest control substance is required.

6.4 Vehicles

All vehicles purchased must be biodiesel, electric or hybrid except where the type of vehicle required is not made  according to these specifications. All exceptions to this requirement must be approved  by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance.

6.5 Biobased 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.
  • Compostable plastic products purchased will 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 will meet ASTM D6868-03 standards.
  • Paper, paper products and construction products made from nonwood, plant-based contents such as agricultural crops and residues will be used whenever feasible.

6.6 Forest Conservation

  • 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.

6.7 Recycling

  • Thirty percent postconsumer waste recycled paper for all applications will be the standard when quality of service is not compromised nor the health and safety of employees jeopardized.
  • 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 postconsumer content practicable.
  • Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable,or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.
  • Remanufactured toner cartridges should be used in all copiers and printers whenever feasible.

6.8 Packaging

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.

6.9 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, as described 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.

6.10 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 selected to minimize waste by choosing species that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established should be purchased.

6.11 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: October 2014
Approved by the President: October 2009