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Sustainable Procurement Guidelines

Bemidji State University is committed to excellence and leadership in creating a more sustainable campus environment through education, advocacy and on-campus projects.  We as a university recognize the need to be environmental stewards, support our local economy, create a just society, and promote individual wellness.  We also recognize that the procurement decisions we make can have an overall effect on the sustainability of Bemidji State University, and that faculty, staff and students are responsible to provide leadership in creating a more sustainable campus. 

Bemidji State University acknowledges the fact that the campuses who address the problem of over- consumption habits do so by increasing the awareness of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” and encouraging sustainable procurement.  Campuses will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a thriving, ethical, and civil society.  Accordingly, we commit Bemidji State University to take the following steps in pursuit of sustainability.

In our general operations, Bemidji State University will strive, wherever possible, to:

  1. Minimize the consumption of resources when purchasing products;
  2. Purchase local, renewable, and durable products;
  3. Consider the life cycle (i.e. production, shipping, use, etc.) and social impacts of products.

Before purchasing at Bemidji State University, whenever possible, please ask yourself:

  1. Is this product essential?  Do I really need this product?
  2. Is there a way I can fix what I already have?
  3. Can I find this product on campus somewhere where someone is not using it?
  4. Is there another product/method that would work instead?  (ex. Use paper clips instead of buying more staples)

If you answer “I don’t know” for any of these questions, please contact the Sustainability Office for assistance (click here)

If you must purchase a new product, please strive to:

  1. Purchase products that are durable and can be re-used.
  2. Purchase products that would create the least amount of waste.
  3. Lease and rent products when appropriate (e.g. tools).
  4. Purchase products that vendors can take back (e.g. Printer) or re-use (e.g. Toner).
  5. Purchase remanufactured goods and use refurbishing services.
  6. Purchase products that contain recycled content.
  7. Buy goods in bulk or concentrated form, or reduced packaging.
  8. Combine orders as much as possible to reduce shipping.
  9. Purchase goods containing fewer toxic constituents.
  10. Procure products that are certified to meet sustainability standards or support companies that use more sustainable practices to manufacture products.
    1. Paper and Forest Products (Forest Stewardship Council, Green Seal)
    2. Electronics and Appliances (Energy Star)
    3. Cleaning supplies (Green Seal)
    4. Renewable Energy (Green Power Partners, NABCEP, Green-e, International Living Future Institute)
    5. Interior building materials (LEED, MN GreenStar, Green Globes)
    6. Food (USDA Organic, MN Grown)

If you would like assistance in finding products, please contact the Sustainability Office (click here)


  1. Durable:  able to resist wear, decay, etc.; lasting; enduring.
  2. Life Cycle:  an evaluation of the major environmental impacts (ex. energy, resource use, and emissions to air, water and land) in each life-cycle stage of a product category including resource extraction, production, distribution, use, and eventual disposal or recycling
  3. Local: to support businesses that are as close as possible to Bemidji (i.e. Bemidji, Minnesota, Midwest, and U.S. products)
  4. Post-consumer: pertaining to a product after it has been consumer used and recycled
  5. Pre-consumer: pertaining to a product before consumer use and recycling
  6. Procurement: the act of obtaining equipment, materials, or supplies
  7. Recycle:  reprocess and reuse used material
  8. Remanufacture: to refurbish (a used product) by renovating and reassembling it
  9. Renewable: to replace, recover, or replenish
  10. Reuse:  repairing what is broken or use it in its current use
  11. Social Impacts:  encompasses human rights and labor rights; the idea that future and current generations have equal access to social resources
  12. Sustainability: the long-term maintenance of responsibility in terms of environmental stewardship, economic equity, social equality, and the enhancement of individual wellness; the capacity to endure

Nothing in this directive should be construed as requiring the purchase of products that do not perform adequately or are not available at a reasonable price.

"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the Earth is our Mother? What befalls the Earth befalls all the sons of the Earth."
~ Chief Seattle in a letter to President Franklin Pierce, 1852