A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
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The Purchasing Department at Macalester is decentralized, meaning that different departments (academic, administrative, extracurricular, sports, etc) makes their own, independent purchasing decisions. This can be challenging in terms of sustainability because it relies on individuals to make responsible purchasing individuals with regards to environmental and social sustainability; there is not an enforcer to mandate purchasing from certain vendors.
There is, however, the opportunity for the Purchasing Department to support departments in making better purchasing choices by providing information about more environmentally and socially responsible vendors, educating about the importance of ethical purchasing, and providing more sustainable procurement options to College purchasers.
To that end, the Purchasing Department has worked, alongside many other departments such as Facilities, College Relations, Bon Appetite, and the Sustainability Office, to provide more sustainable options at Macalester. Thus far, this includes recyclable and biodegradable paper cups, environmentally preferable office supplies, recycled paper (toilet paper, paper towels, and printing paper), and reusable take out containers at the Grille. The Facilities Department is also testing environmentally preferable cleaning supplies that hopefully can be purchased for use campus wide.
The Purchasing Department has also worked on the creation of an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy (EP3) and, in conjunction with College Relations, an Environmentally Preferable Printing and Publishing Policy (EP3). These policies, when implemented, will guide the decentralized purchasing system at Macalester and promote more sustainable purchasing and printing decisions for campus departments. The Purchasing Department has been advised by the Minnesota Environmental Protection Agency in the creation and implementation of these policies.
Purchasing also works with the Worker’s Rights Consortium to promote the Designated Supplier’s Program (DSP), a program that hopes to create an alternative “safe space” in the global apparel market. While the DSP has not yet been implemented, Macalester Purchasing Director Kathy Johnson is a member of the working group seeking to implement the policy.
The Purchasing Department is open to suggestions from students, faculty, and staff regarding sustainability initiatives on campus.
Summer 2008: Hannah Rivenburgh researched and submitted a proposal for a zero waste Spring move-out (the Trash to Treasure program) and prepared the background for an environmentally preferable paper policy and for the ecoclamshell program that is now at the campus Grille. In addition, Hannah was the student representative on the Markim Hall/Institute for Global Citizenship Furniture committee, and she researched and wrote the first draft of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy (EP3), which governs all purchases for Macalester College.
2008 – 2009 Academic year: Emily Hanson worked on the Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing Policy in the Procurement Office.
Summer 2009: Robert Hemphill is spending the summer of 2009 working to refine and implement the Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing Policy in the Procurement Office.