Tackling the Supply Chain
San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) is committed to supporting sustainable practices in all stages of the supply chain. The purchasing power of all three campuses can be strategically leveraged to support the transition to greener products, such as recycled printer paper; recycled can liners, paper towels, and toilet paper; and cleaning products free of toxics. The District strives to streamline practices by working with General Services, Auxiliary Services, and other campus stakeholders. A green purchasing policy will be established in 2017 to provide guidance for specific purchasing practices.
Aside from providing long-term environmental benefits, sustainable procurement will support operational efficiency, employee wellbeing, and positive student outcomes. Changes in procurement policies incentivize students and faculty to use the campus as a living laboratory and see the effects of District policies.
Sustainable procurement is most effective when paired with an overall conscientious approach toward resource use. Reducing the materials used in the District, while still maintaining high quality learning environments for students, would allow SMCCCD to set a positive example in higher education.
Progress and Steps Forward
A portion of SMCCCD bathroom and waste disposal supplies are made partially or completely from recycled materials. This includes products such as toilet paper, can liners, and paper towels. Hand roll towels in the restrooms are EcoLogo Certified and Green Seal Certified.
The District-wide Green Office Program is one additional way SMCCCD is pursuing sustainable procurement. The Green Office Program will be used to guide responsible resource use within campus offices. For example, the program will be used to centralize printers and computers where possible to reduce exposure to chemicals and minimize energy use. Reduction of electronic use will diminish the need to purchase as many computers and printers, thus minimizing greenhouse gas generation. The Sustainability Team will partner with General Services, campus administrators, and facility staff to assist in the transition to more sustainable products and increased materials sharing within and between offices. Implementing conservation measures, such as systematizing double-sided printing on campus, will reduce the need to buy as many products.
Sustainable procurement practices support SMCCCD’s value of handling resources responsibly from beginning to end. Ultimately, having more environmentally friendly purchasing policies on a District-wide scale will encourages students to tap into their own capacity to effect positive change.