PCC’s Sustainability Guidelines for Purchasing

Please review Sustainability Guidelines for Purchasing July 2020.

Introduction to Socially Responsible and Sustainable Purchasing

Sustainably responsible purchasing means buying our goods and services in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. PCC recognizes that its impact from purchasing extends beyond our campuses and centers and how it uses its purchasing power influences the practices of the companies who produce the products and services that PCC uses. This goes beyond buying from small, women and minority-owned businesses and extends into buying locally.  PCC takes a holistic approach that considers both the environmental and social impacts of products and services during all aspects of the product or service’s life cycle including manufacturing, delivery and the end of life of the product. Those working on college construction projects should begin with the Design and Construction Standards. Additional sustainability guidelines for college construction can be found in PCC’s Sustainability Guidelines. The remainder of this site is aimed to support the PCC community with making socially responsible and sustainable purchasing decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PCC’s policy on socially responsible and sustainable purchasing?

PCC’s Board of Directors first approved our sustainability commitment to sustainability purchasing back in 2011. In 2020 PCC adopted its own Community College Rules of Procurement in accordance with ORS 279.A065(5)(a) and ORS 279A.070.

The sustainability commitment section states:

In accordance with the Oregon Community College Rules of Procurement, member colleges are committed to the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible materials and products which are fiscally responsible, reduce resource consumption and waste, perform adequately and promote human health and well-being. Recognizing their regional economic role, colleges shall seek opportunities to educate, encourage, and influence their respective markets by utilizing, where feasible, products and services including new environmentally preferable products, reusable products, recycled content and recycled products.

Why should PCC care about buying socially responsible and sustainable products?

PCC’s Mission is to support “success by delivering access to quality education while advancing economic development and promoting sustainability in a collaborative culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

PCC lives its values in all aspects of its operations including effective and ethical use of public funds and purchasing items that support and value the people who created them.

PCC’s sustainable use of resources policy, BP 3551 states:

Portland Community College is committed to becoming a leader in academic programs and operational “practices that model the sustainable use of resources so that the needs of current generations are met without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

What does PCC buy?

As a large educational institution, PCC purchases a diverse array of goods and services that includes: office supplies, air travel, appliances, light and heavy-duty equipment, lab and cleaning chemicals, food, furniture, paints, landscaping materials, buildings, fixtures, and books. PCC also purchases services such as speakers, workshops, and contractors.

Why does what I do matter?

PCC has considerable buying power and the college’s purchases each year make up over one-third of our annual carbon footprint. Many carbon-intensive product categories include supplies commonly purchased with a P-card. Due to PCC’s buying power, the college can encourage market and supply trends that are in line with the college’s mission, vision, and value including benefiting people and the planet.

What are some things I should think about before I buy a product or service?

We encourage you to think about Other Considerations for Sustainable Purchasing before making a purchase, including getting in touch with surplus property.

Purchasing Decisions Made Easy

Here you will find custom-tailored guides that enable employees to make decisions that bring the greatest value while reducing the negative impacts on our environment, human health, and the community – designed with you in mind. To learn more about sustainability characteristics of purchasing general goods, see Characteristics of Socially Responsible and Sustainable Goods and Services. We also have included a definitions page for your consideration.