Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Carol Rosskam
Submission Date May 28, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northeastern University
OP-11: Sustainable Procurement

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Carol Rosskam
Sustainability Program Manager
Office of Sustainability, Facilities Mgmt.
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have written policies, guidelines or directives that seek to support sustainable purchasing across commodity categories institution-wide?:
Yes

A copy of the policies, guidelines or directives:
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The policies, guidelines or directives:

In 2016, Northeastern University adopted a Sustainable Practices and Operations Guideline to inform all University departments/units of the Institutional commitment to sustainability. Other guidelines follow these guiding principals including the Design and Construction Guidelines; and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Guidelines.

The University's Procure to Pay Policy/Guide specifically advocates for minority owned (MBE), diverse ownership (DBE), veteran owned (VBE), and woman owned (WBE) enterprises for purchasing. Also included is our directive to utilize small locally owned businesses (SBLE) from the surrounding community whenever possible. The form template specifically asks for quotes from these enterprises when determining preferred vendors and contracts. Additionally, the University is a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Pacesetter Program in which we commit to advancing minority owned business through our procurement processes and financial decision making.


Does the institution employ Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) when evaluating energy- and water-using products and systems?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the institution’s use of LCCA?:
Institution employs LCCA as a matter of policy and standard practice when evaluating all energy- and water-using products, systems and building components

A brief description of the LCCA policy and/or practices:

The Procurement Office guides, or helps to decide on all University purchases/procurement by integrating life cycle costs/analysis as a fundamental part of the process. Other departments are expected to follow the precedents set by the Procurement Office. Over the past year, the D'More McKim School of Business (DMSB) Sustainability Steering Committee and its Procurement Subcommittee have been collaborating with Procurement to expand purchasing policies, the degree to which LCCA is included, and the extent to which minority/diverse and sustainability businesses are used.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating chemically intensive products and services (e.g. building and facilities maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing, landscaping and grounds maintenance)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for chemically intensive products and services:

Northeastern University’s institution-wide, stated preference is to purchase Green Seal™ or EcoLogoTM certified cleaning products. The stated preference can take the form of purchasing policies, guidelines, or directives to purchase green cleaning products. The Institution’s main contractor purchases Green Seal TM, UL Ecologo TM, certified or electrolyzed water cleaning products. Upgrades to the green cleaning systems use two approved disinfectants in the electrolized water system - the system already replaces bottles of ready-to-use chemicals with a regenerating, general purpose cleaner. Additional locations were added and the system is now used in approximately 80% of academic and residential buildings. The products include multi-surface cleaners for floors, carpets, glass, stainless steel, upholstery, and grease; restroom fixtures, floors, tile walls; and food area sanitizing including cafeteria furniture and floors, prep areas, cutting blocks, coolers, freezers, and grease. A new product used with the system is certified by Green Seal GS-37, GreenGuard, Ecologo/UL, and is USGBC LEED compliant; while the second product is certified by GreenGuard, Ecologo/UL, and is USGBC LEED compliant. Other products used carry the following certifications: Certified Green Seal GS-40, USDA Biopreferred, CARB VOC Compliant, Certified Green Seal GS-41, Certified Ecologo UL-2784, Non-Antimicrobial, USDA Biopreferred Certified, and Certified Ecologo/UL-2783; as well certifications by National Science Foundation; Toxics Use Reduction Institute; CSA (Canadian Standards Association/CSA Group of North America).

Similarly, landscape/grounds follows strict Integrated Pest Management guidelines and policies that were redefined in 2020. Approximately 70% of the landscaping/grounds are organic and chemical treatments are only applied when and where necessary, following the IPM guidelines.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating construction and renovation products (e.g. furnishings and building materials)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for construction and renovation products:

Northeastern University has Design Standards for comprehensive, limited and small scope construction projects. These Standards include “Sustainable Design Requirements” for new construction and are implemented to seek balance between the environment, economics, occupant comfort, and human health considerations. Sustainably-designed buildings aim to lessen their impact on our environment by using energy and environmental resources efficiently while providing for the present and future needs of Northeastern University. The University is committed to the incorporation of sustainable design practices in the design of all construction projects on campus; LEED Platinum certification has been determined as the University’s goal, with LEED Gold minimum, for development of all comprehensive construction projects.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating Information technology (IT) products and services (e.g. computers, imaging equipment, mobile phones, data centers and cloud services)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for IT products and services:

Procurement provides choices for computer purchasing based on IT recommendations and support. The options are kept to a small number and help to guarantee that EPEAT standards are met. Current options include: Dell Latitude Latitude 5420 14" i5, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Silver, TCO certified. Dell Latitude 5420 14" i7, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Siler, TCO Certified. Dell Latitude 3560 15" i7, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, not TCO certified. Lenovo ThinkPad T14s i5, Energy Star 8.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO certified.Lenovo ThinkPadX1 Carbon 14” i7, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO certified.Lenovo ThinkPad X1Extreme 14” i7, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO certified. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 i5, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, not TCO certified. Microsoft Surface Pro 7i7, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, not TCO certified. Samsung SH85027” LED, Energy Star 7.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO certified.

The California Energy Commission directs to the "Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System"(MAEDbS) for their devices and apparently don't have a certification status index.

The University Information Technology department also provides central support for Apple computers and mobile devices, including: MacBook Pro 16-inch, MacBook Pro 13-inch, MacBook Air 13-inch, MacBook Air 13-inch with Retina display , MacBook Pro 13-inch with Thunderbolt 3, 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K, 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K. While Apple is delisted from EPEAT since 2012, their published documentation indicates that their devices are ENERGY STAR®
certified across Northeastern’s supported products (Mac laptops and desktops).
See http://www.apple.com/environment for more information.

The University Information Technology department also provides central support for Apple computers and mobile devices including: The University Information Technology department also provides central support for Apple computers
and mobile devices, including: MacBook Pro 16-inch, MacBook Pro 13-inch, MacBook Air 13-inch, MacBook Air 13-inch with Retina display, MacBook Pro 13-inch with Thunderbolt 3, 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K, 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K. While Apple is delisted from EPEAT since 2012, their published documentation indicates that their devices are ENERGY STAR® certified across Northeastern’s supported products (Mac laptops and desktops).See http://www.apple.com/environment for more information.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating food services (i.e. franchises, vending services, concessions, convenience stores)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for food services:

https://nudining.com/public/sustainability
Northeastern Dining has integrated and grown its sustainability criteria for more than a decade. The University in recent years has been an active member in the Menus of Change initiative. Dining Services buys local produce with local vendors as much as possible; responsibly sources many products it uses, such as Red's Best, a local purveyor that provides sustainable fish/seafood; has implemented trayless dining; instituted strategies to reduce plastic waste; and actively recycles and reuses, including all of its cans, and all pre-consumer food waste. Multiple initiatives including the "Root to Tip", "Imperfectly Delicious Produce" and compostable materials initiatives are described at https://nudining.com/public/intentionally-reducing-waste

Certified Green Restaurants®
The Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization, has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement as the leading voice within the industry, encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With its turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it accessible for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in Energy, Water, Waste, Food, Chemicals, Disposables, & Building. Northeastern is the first college/university in the United States to have a dining facility earn both a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® distinction and LEED Gold status. International Village Dining is also the first restaurant in New England to earn the same GRA/LEED distinctions. Currently, the University has the following GRA certified dining establishments: 9-3 Star; 5-2 Star; and 2-level 1 certified.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating garments and linens?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for garments and linens:

Northeastern is a member in good standing with the Workers Rights Consortium. We rely on our partners to participate in ethical sourcing of apparel.
Alta Gracia Apparel is a living wage apparel company manufacturing and selling licensed collegiate and professional sports apparel to university bookstores and online retailers. Their factory, located in Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic is the first and only verified Living Wage company of its kind.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating professional services (e.g. architectural, engineering, public relations, financial)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for professional services:

The goal of Northeastern’s supplier diversity program is to provide support to the University community in identifying and securing partnerships with small and minority -and women-owned businesses, and to assure compliance with applicable Federal & Senate SBC Guidance. We also regularly try to meet if not exceed the Inspector General’s and Attorney General’s suggested guidance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on procurement as reflected in M.G.L. 30B, M.G.L. 149, and MGL 30 39M and required by the Supplier Diversity Office for public agencies.

Departments should arrange for purchases in a manner that encourages participation from minority-owned business. Procurement Services is available to support you in this effort, as well as incorporating diverse suppliers within existing supplier contracts. Procurement Services is also available to assist with bids or quotes referencing any diverse supplier requirements, as well as suggestions for additional suppliers that may have not been looked at in the past.


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating transportation and fuels (e.g. travel, vehicles, delivery services, long haul transport, generator fuels, steam plants)?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for transportation and fuels:

Vehicle fuels made from non-‐wood, plant-‐based contents such as vegetable oils are encouraged whenever practical. The Sustainable Operations Practices and Guidelines provides a framework for such decisionmaking and can be found at: https://facilities.northeastern.edu/documents-forms/

Information on generator fuels and the steam plant can be found in the Climate Action Plan: https://facilities.northeastern.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/NEU-Sustainable-Action-Plan.pdf


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating wood and paper products?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for wood and paper products:

To the greatest extent practical, Northeastern University shall not procure wood products such as lumber and paper that originate from forests harvested in an environmentally unsustainable manner. When possible, Northeastern University shall give preference to wood products that are certified to be sustainably harvested by a comprehensive, performance-based certification system. The certification system shall include independent third-party audits, with standards equivalent to, or stricter than, those of the Forest Stewardship Council certification.

All paper used by the University is minimum 30% Post Consumer Recycled Content (PCR), and Forest Stewardship Council certified. Between 2020-2021, the University has revisited purchasing 100% PCR paper; the cost per case remains a challenge, but the University continues to discuss this with its main office products vendor. Given changes during COVID-19 such as the consolidation of multi-functional printers, reducing paper consumption, and increased use of paperless coursework, negotiations take these factors into consideration and continue to work on a strategy that results in higher content recycled paper for the University. See Carpentry Standards, Sustainable Practices and Operations Guidelines, Northeastern University Design Standards, and Guidelines for Capital Project Design & Implementation, all of which are available at: https://facilities.northeastern.edu/documents-forms/


Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating products and services in other commodity categories that the institution has determined to have significant sustainability impacts?:
Yes

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for other commodity categories:

When maintaining buildings, Northeastern University shall use products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde when purchasing materials such as paint, carpeting,
adhesives, furniture and casework.
Northeastern University shall reduce or eliminate its use of products that contribute to the formation of dioxins and furans. This includes, but is not limited to:
Purchasing paper, paper products, and janitorial paper products that are unbleached or that are processed without chlorine or chlorine derivatives, whenever possible.
Restrict the purchase of products that use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) such as, but not limited to, office binders, furniture, flooring, and medical supplies whenever practical.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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