Two HEIs Receive Plastics Reduction Bronze Certification

The National Wildlife Federation, in partnership with the Campus Race to Zero Waste Program, has awarded Bard College and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt a Plastics Reduction Partner Bronze level certification. This program recognizes higher education institutions (HEIs) for taking action to reduce the purchase and use of single-use plastics on campus.

U Massachusetts Amherst Launches Product Sustainability Rating System

In an effort to combat greenwashing, the university recently developed and launched the TRASE (transparent, responsible, accountable, sustainable, efficient) initiative, a system of assessment that provides sustainability scores for products in campus stores.

U Southern California to Phase Out Single-Use Plastic Beverage Bottles

The university recently committed to eliminate single-use plastic beverage bottles by transitioning to beverage container alternatives, including glass and aluminum, and encouraging the use of water-bottle filling stations, water coolers/dispensers and water fountains.

Emory U Signs 'Break Free From Plastic' Pledge

The university recently committed to establish a task force on plastics reduction and create a year-by-year single-use plastics reduction strategy in order to eliminate the procurement of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2026.

Lehigh U Achieves Real Food Challenge Goal

The university recently announced meeting the Real Food Challenge goal by purchasing 20.3 percent of its food from local, organic, fair trade and humane sources in the 2019-2020 academic year. Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability, Dining Services and Purchasing Services, and Sodexo have collaborated on the challenge for the past seven years.

U Pittsburgh Signs Solar PPA for Electricity

Through a new, 20-year solar power purchase agreement, the university will purchase all of the renewable electricity produced by a planned 20-megawatt solar power facility. It will cover approximately 13 percent of the Pittsburgh campus’ annual electricity usage.

U Iowa Becomes Fair Trade University

The university has been named an official Fair Trade University upon the passing of a student-led resolution that calls for a university commitment to procure and sell fair trade items. The university will now offer fair trade products in residence halls, convenience stores and catered events sponsored by the university.

U California Berkeley to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

The university recently adopted a single-use elimination policy that seeks to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic, both non-recyclable and recyclable, by 2030. The ban focuses on food-ware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration and events.

Boston U Partnership Produces Comparison Guide for Sustainable Products

University Sourcing & Procurement, in partnership with W.B. Mason and a team of university stakeholders, announced the new Swap and Save Program. The program provides an easy way for departments to compare recycled and/or sustainable products as well as lower cost items without the hassle of manual product comparison. The goal of this effort is to help departments maximize their budgets while fulfilling their office supply needs and sustainability goals.

Cornell U Reduces Chemical Use on Floors

The building services department now uses one floor-stripping chemical rather than eight; two floor finishing products down from 13; and one standard floor cleaner. The new products are free of odor, allowing staff to work during regular hours.

U Southern California Hotel Achieves Green Seal Certification

The USC Hotel underwent a full year of an in-depth audit of purchasing records, practices and on-site inspections to meet Green Seal’s GS-33 lodging standard. Sustainability measures at the hotel include an elimination of single-use plastics, using shower curtains made of recycled plastic water bottles, and staff training in waste reduction, water conservation and energy savings.

U Guam to Launch Circular Economy Initiative

With the help of a $10,000 grant awarded to the Center for Island Sustainability, the university is launching the Guam Green Growth (G3) Initiative to contribute to a circular economy for Guam. The G3 Initiative will start in August by offering the first-ever Island Circular Economy Industry Workshop for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. It will stimulate new island circular economy industries by working with the regional economic development authority and a business incubator organization.

U British Columbia Purchases Only Ocean Wise Seafood

As of July 1, the university will purchase and offer only 100 percent Ocean Wise recommended seafood. The change will include every food service location on both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, excluding franchises.

Harvard U Business School Joins Farm Forward

Recently joining Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle, Harvard Business School has committed to buying 100 percent of its eggs—including both liquid and shell—from certified higher welfare farms aligned with Farm Forward's sourcing requirements. An impact assessment found that switching to a higher welfare products did not increase costs to Harvard Business School. The change will impact more than 15,000 hens over the next 10 years.

New York U Announces Plastic Bottle Policy

As part of an institution-wide drive toward creating a more sustainable campus, the university president recently announced that NYU will no longer purchase single-use plastic water bottles, effective January 1, 2020. The new policy is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year. The plastic bottle policy was one of several sustainability-focused initiatives. Other initiatives include replacing fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles, reducing "k-cup" waste, and making events more sustainable.

CSU System Adopts Policy on Single-Use Plastics

The California State University system released a new policy on single-use plastics that aims to eliminate the distribution and sale of plastic straws, bottled water, plastic carryout bags, and styrofoam food packaging by designated phase-out dates that align with recent state legislation. Plastic straws and single-use plastic carryout bags were eliminated in January 2019. Single-use plastic water bottles are to be banned no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

U Maine Begins Using Bioplastic Food Packages

Beginning this semester, the university began using compostable plant-based bioplastic packages for food in the Memorial Union.

St. Joseph's College Switches to Biodegradable Straws

The college recently switched from plastic straws to biodegradable straws through an agreement between Student Government, the college’s Mission-Aligned Businesses, and Sustainable Enterprises. Additionally, in an effort to reduce single-use cups, one of the college's coffee stations now offers free coffee to students and employees who bring their own reusable cups.

St. Thomas Aquinas College Earns Fair Trade Designation

The college recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade College as part of the national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college and university students in issues of global poverty. This student-led initiative at the college began as a small independent study and grew into a collaborative team of students, faculty and administrators that worked to meet the campus certification requirements through further incorporating Fair Trade principles into our curriculum and serving fair trade products at campus dining facilities.

Chartwells Higher Education Announces Its Commitment to Sourcing Fair Trade Products

Chartwells Higher Education, in conjunction with Fair Trade Campaigns, recently announced its commitment to sourcing Fair Trade products at all 280 Chartwells locations across the U.S. As part of this commitment, Chartwells Higher Education began offering Fair Trade Certified food and beverage items such as coffee and tea, chocolate, energy bars, sugar and bananas in each of its dining operations this fall.

Boston U Pilots Reusable Tote Program for Office Supplies

In partnership with a local office supply store, BU Sourcing and Procurement is rolling out a reusable tote program for the delivery of office supplies on campus. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of waste created from cardboard packaging.

Lynn U Becomes Fair Trade Certified

The university recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade University, having completed the requirements in less than three months. Lynn met five essential requirements, which included making Fair Trade products available on campus and passing a Fair Trade resolution.

Arizona State U Becomes Fair Trade-Designated University

The university joins 47 other universities and 533 university retailers pledge to provide Fair Trade products, including coffee, tea, chocolate, textiles and more.

McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus

On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.

U Maryland Begins Using Recycled Paper for Alumni Magazine

The university has begun using 10 percent recycled content on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper for their alumni magazines.

U Alberta Releases Sustainable Purchasing Guide for Promotional Products

The new guide aims to assist procurers of promotional products in embracing sustainability criteria and principles into their purchasing processes. It contains best practices, a directory of suppliers, and a worksheet to determine the most sustainable choice among three different suppliers.

Lehigh U Signs Real Food Campus Commitment

By signing the Real Food Campus Commitment, the university pledges to purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane sources by 2020. Becoming a signatory is aligned with the food purchasing goal captured in its 2020 Campus Sustainability Plan.

My Green Lab Launches Environmental Label for Laboratory Products

My Green Lab recently announced the launch of ACT (accountability, consistency, transparency), an environmental impact factor label for laboratory products. The ACT label is designed to provide critical information on the environmental impact of laboratory products in an effort to increase transparency and assist customers in making sustainable choices in purchasing.

Simon Fraser U Embeds Sustainability Into Commercial Contracts

The university is now selecting local contractors with sustainable practices over large corporate competitors as part of its commitment to sustainability, innovation, community and customer service.

U Reading Reduces Vending Machine Waste

(U.K.) In an effort to prevent more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the landfill, new vending machines allow students to use a specially designed reusable bottle. The "Sustain It" bottle is a reusable bottle that contains a microchip that allows users to pre-pay for drinks that can be filled at the new vending machines.

Georgetown U Reaches Labor Rights Agreement With Nike

As part of a renewed contract, Georgetown now requires Nike, Inc to provide the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor rights group, access to supplier factories and ensure supply partners comply with new labor standards. The university's contract expired at the end of 2016 following concerns from students and members of the on-campus workers’ rights group Georgetown Solidarity Committee.

U Canterbury Earns Fair Trade Designation

(New Zealand) At the time of Fair Trade accreditation, the university was purchasing 80 percent Fair Trade tea and coffee purchases. The Fair Trade Association of Australia and Zealand awarded the new designation.