Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
OP-11: Sustainable Procurement

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 3.00 Sherry Hickman
Manager, Product & Equipment
Procurement & Contract Management, Supply Management Services
"---" 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?:

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

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

Which of the following best describes the institution’s use of LCCA?:
Institution employs LCCA less comprehensively, e.g. for certain types of systems or projects and not others

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

The University of Alberta uses life cycle cost analysis (or total cost of ownership) in many of its design and purchasing decisions. This requirement is included in the design guidelines and RFP documents.

Below are two examples from the design guidelines:
• Incorporate innovative design approaches only after thorough consideration is given to potential benefits and risks, value analysis and life cycle cost.
• Optimize life cycle costs while ensuring long life for building components and elements.


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)?:

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

The university manages purchases for washroom paper, soap, cleaning products and equipment through a preferred supplier. The supplier is required to provide up-to-date information on sustainable products, processes and equipment, including safe work practices in the cleaning industry. Sustainability was considered in the supplier selection process, and sustainability criteria have been included in the resulting contract.

Landscape maintenance also considers sustainability in their programs and practices.

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

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


The University of Alberta has a collection of design guidelines and specifications that apply to all of its capital and renewal projects, that are publicly available online, and that are included as part of each project request for proposal (RFP).

Sustainability is integrated throughout these documents covering many sustainability topics, including:

- Surrounding Environment
- Energy Use and Efficiency
- Materials, Resources, and Waste
- Indoor Environment
- Water Use and Efficiency

The UAlberta design guidelines and specifications apply regardless of whether the building has a green building certification, however since 2008, the Government of Alberta has required all new buildings and major renovations that receive substantial provincial government funding to achieve at minimum LEED® Silver certification. The Green Globes® rating system and guidelines are often used on UAlberta projects that do not require LEED certification to rate and guide sustainable designs. Although not all projects at the university will be formally certified, all projects should endeavour to incorporate sustainable measures as identified by the LEED and/or Green Globes Rating Systems.

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)?:

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

The university manages IT purchases through preferred suppliers, which were last selected through a public RFP process in 2016. Working with preferred suppliers provides superior value through competitive pricing, streamlined delivery cycles and efficient processing on a selection of standard configurations.

In 2016 the following language was included as minimum requirements in the RFP entitled “Supply of Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Server and Storage Hardware including Installation and Support Services” and is part of the Preferred Supplier Agreement (contract) for the two preferred suppliers:

“-- To support the University’s Green Purchasing Principles (environmental sustainability) by reducing packaging and ensuring a safe end-of-life disposal process.
-- To support the University’s Sustainability Plan by providing products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR 6.0 requirements and EPEAT certification on all electronics.”

Working with the university’s IT department, both preferred suppliers built out custom purchasing pages based on these and other performance and technical requirements that are available through the university’s e-procurement system.

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

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


Real Estate Services includes a sustainability clause in their commercial leases that stipulates that food service vendors will only use recyclable or compostable take out food containers, and will participate in other UAlberta sustainability initiatives as applicable.


Vending services (food and beverage vending machines) are operated by a contractor and the following language was included in the selection process for this contractor:
- Availability of energy star equipment and any other sustainability features incorporated in the equipment.
- Availability of eco-friendly products.
- Delivery schedule to reduce carbon footprint.


The Students’ Union also leases space to a number of food vendors and selects food vendors with a Request for Proposals (RFP) every five years. This RFP always contains sustainability criteria. The following is an excerpt from the RFP:

5. Environmental Attitude
The indications as to the Applicant’s concern for the environment as expressed in the form of environmentally-aware initiatives, attitudes and practices which are meaningful and effective but which do not substantially increase the cost burden on customers.

In particular, the Landlord will take into account the Applicant’s willingness to implement, or to join with the Landlord and other Tenants in implementing:

a) A system under which the Students’ Union commits to the purchase of re-usable hot and cold beverage cups and containers of generally acceptable sizes. These cups and containers will be sold to members of the Campus community, and will be filled by the Tenant at a lower price than that which the Tenant charges for a similar beverage of a similar size sold in a non-reusable container.

b) Key elements of energy and water conservation, including the use wherever possible of task lighting and energy efficient ballasts or bulbs, and reductions wherever and whenever possible in use of lights and water usage.

c) Effective reduction, re-use and recycling practices including, wherever and whenever possible:
- source reduction (through reductions in packing materials, and through the use of bulk, re-usable drinks dispensers);
- the re-use of items (including packing materials made ideally from corrugated cardboard instead of box board), and the minimization of the use of products which have glass or metal waste;
- the use of products made from recyclable materials (including packaging such as pallets & boxes, and cutlery & dishes);
- assistance, wherever possible, with the Landlord's recycling initiatives and the Landlord's attempts to recycle all bottles, cans, paper and cardboard, and to prevent contaminated materials from being recycled.
- the use of compostable food containers and cups and the elimination of Styrofoam containers.

In addition, the Landlord will take into account the Applicant’s willingness to join with the Landlord and other Tenants in considering for implementation, either immediately or at some point in the future, a token system, operated by the Landlord, which enables environmentally-aware customers to receive their food and beverage purchases in or on reusable containers. Such a system would operate without cost to the Tenant, except for a reasonable cost for a common contribution to central Food Court dish washing facilities and services.

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

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


All use of the University of Alberta's trademarks, including on branded garments, is managed by the University of Alberta Trademarks and Licensing Policy, which states that "All University units are required to use a licensed manufacturer to produce products bearing a University of Alberta trademark."


The University of Alberta Trademark Program further states that "As a member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), the university requires that its licensees are compliant with the FLA's code of conduct for all that licensee's products, not just goods produced for the university."

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

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


The purpose of the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines and Supplier Code is to outline expectations for ethical, social and sustainable practices from suppliers of goods, services and equipment to the university. The following is a sample of the text in the guidelines:

"The university expects suppliers and their sub-contractors:
- will uphold labour and human rights, locally and abroad and to comply with national laws relating to
labour, worker health and safety, and the environment.
- will be compliant with all relevant health and safety laws and regulations enacted in countries and
jurisdictions where they conduct their business activities. This includes building safety laws and
- conduct their business with honesty, integrity and engaging in business based on fairness, trust, and
respect for the rights of individuals as described in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.
- will manage and reduce the negative environmental impacts of their operations, products, services,
and those of their own supply chain.
- will seek out and implement leading industry practices aimed at conserving resources, reducing
pollution and waste, and enhancing the communities in which they operate.
- will reduce packaging by considering packaging alternatives and materials with recycled content.
- will consider efficiencies and alternative modes of transportation in the delivery of goods and


The University of Alberta Students' Union Operating Policy contains language supporting Ethical Business Partners, as per the following excerpt:

"Where alternatives exist in the industry, the Students’ Union shall not knowingly conduct business of any kind with companies that:
- fail to meet basic standards of environmental protection;
- actively undermine or fail to respect basic human rights, as defined by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; or
- inflict excessive or unnecessary suffering upon animals.

The Students’ Union shall, where practical and feasible, establish business relationships with companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. This may be indicated by effective policies and actions in the areas of:
- environmental management systems and environmental policy;
- voluntary adherence to standards of ecological regulation;
- effectively implemented and monitored equal opportunity policies covering race, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation;
- effectively enforced policies against discrimination or harassment on grounds protected by the Alberta Human Rights Act;
- employee benefits beyond statutory requirements;
- provision of childcare facilities, job sharing, flextime or career breaks; and/or
- constructive industrial relations, co-operation with trade unions or operation of a works council.

The Students’ Union shall give preference to companies that:
- are based in Canada;
- are energy efficient in their production;
- use minimal packaging;
- use recycled or reused materials where possible;
- produce organic products; and/or
- possess a fair trade label."

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)?:

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

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

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

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?:

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


The following sustainability language was included in the bid process for confidential document destruction services:
- Innovation and demonstrated commitment to assist the University of Alberta in its sustainability efforts
- Environmental & Recycling Program Practices


There is a section regarding animal products in the University of Alberta Sustainable Procurement Guidelines and Supplier Code stating that:
"The university expects that suppliers of animals and animal products* for research and teaching, and their sub-contractors:
- will meet internationally-recognized standards of animal care and use such standards as the
International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) International Guiding Principles for
Biomedical Research Involving Animals, follow best practices in supporting animal welfare, and
conduct their operations and activities in respect of the internationally recognized Three R’s for
animal use in research and testing.
--Replacement: methods which avoid or replace the use of animals (e.g., cell culture)
--Reduction: employment of any strategy that results in fewer animals being used
--Refinement: modification of husbandry or experimental procedures to minimize pain and
- will abide by all animal welfare laws and regulations in the countries where they conduct activities.

*"Animal products" include tissue or cell cultures, antibodies, blood products, enzymes or other
substances that are derived from animals and used as reagents."

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.