The Benefits of Buying Green on Campus and Beyond

Daniel PedersenBy Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Green Seal’s VP of Science & Standards

The AASHE STARS program can serve as a road-map to more sustainable purchasing policies. Green purchasing can benefit higher education campuses in many ways, and even drive the sustainability of the broader market.

What’s to be gained from green purchasing? First of all, green products are reliable and cost-effective; the myth that they are more expensive and don’t work as well was debunked long ago. Environmentally-preferable products are specified by half of the state governments in the U.S.; if these products didn’t cut the mustard, states would have dropped them.

Second, any sustainable purchasing on campus can be used to strengthen your green branding, marketing, and alumni/customer relations. As we all know, there is increased interest among students, faculty, and employees in attending a sustainable college.

Third, green cleaning, a foundation of sustainable purchasing, yields significant direct benefits: cost savings, better health for students and employees, improved attendance and academic scores, and reduced liability for maintenance staff. Now in our 26th year, Green Seal has been helping purchasers identify sustainable cleaning products and services by giving them a simple choice: third party certification.

Many case studies demonstrate how schools and universities have saved money by purchasing certified green cleaning products, or implementing green cleaning programs.

Benefits from green purchasing go far beyond your own campus and pocketbook – the higher education sector has enough collective purchasing power to transform the market. Consider the influence you could have on manufacturers and suppliers if all AASHE members started requiring sustainable products and services. This demand would drive manufacturers and suppliers to provide a wider variety of green products and services, while rewarding companies that already offer sustainable choices.

It’s very easy to implement green purchasing policies, which save you money and worry while strengthening your image. Colleges and universities benefit from significant cost savings, and also drive the entire market to become more sustainable.

Want to read more about concrete steps you can take and case studies…? This is an excerpt of a longer article that first appeared on AASHE’s blog (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). Daniel serves on their advisory council.