UCLA Buyers Are Looking For The Green
By Harriet Steinberg
Mar 25, 2007 - 4:35:00 PM

Ever since Al Gore's documentary, "The Inconvenient Truth," people have become very conscious of our environment, and want to do their best to keep our earth safe from global warming. UCLA has become aware of our environment, and want to help decrease pollution. The buyers on this campus are searching for products that can help our world.

These buyers are now investigating all products and services used on this campus in regards to the "green" factor. This includes janitorial products, office machines, laboratory equipment, and other material that can have a bad effect on our environment.

The buyers have to do a lot of researching to make certain that the products they plan to purchase will meet the green standards. There are many factors involved before they can purchase anything. They have to look for PCs that have a disposal program for e-waste. Does the various office machines use recycled parts or contain recycled plastic? They have to look for supplies that have been recycled. Are the cleaning fluids environmentally safe? Buyers presently have to learn and ask themselves many questions regarding the materials that they buy.

UCLA buyers also have to find out how much energy was consumed to make the product, how much recycled content it contains, how much of a distance it will have to be transported to campus, how it is packaged, and how it will be disposed of. The average citizen is not aware of how much energy is used when purchasing a product or services. Many businesses are just beginning to find out that it is more than just the material that something is made of, but a great deal of other factors that goes into a product before it gets to a store, a home, or a school.

It’s no longer enough to know just the price and quality of goods and services. It has now become a serious matter when looking for a manufacturer or supplier. The more “green” factor that is involved will be the factor in finding a suitable vendor.

The director of the UCLA Purchasing Department feels that if vendors can meet the requirements for a better environment, they can then join UCLA’s Strategic Sourcing Alliance Suppliers, which is its list of preferred vendors.

In addition to buying from UCLA’s 85 preferred vendors, the staff is being advised to look for the Energy Star logo when they order for departments. This marks products with superior energy efficiency, according to the government-backed program. There are now more than 40 kinds of products, including office and laboratory equipment, that bear the Energy Star logo.

The director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and co-chair of the Campus Sustainability Committee said that she hopes staff and faculty use their power as consumers to order and use “green” products. She believes that it’s a simple and effective way to make a difference and help save the planet.

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