Purchasing Language

March 26, 2007

Warren Wilson College as an educational institution has a moral obligation to set a clear example for current and future generations. The College should demonstrate that the social and environmental Commitment evidenced in its Mission Statement and its Environmental Commitment Statement are carried out in its purchasing policies. This portion of the Pattern Language document builds upon those commitments and provides a guide for responsible purchasing of goods and services. Purchasing decisions are made by many individuals, all of whom must take into account the impact on the environment as well as the economic impact when making buying choices. The purchasers should have an understanding of the advantages of environmentally friendly and socially sound purchasing practices. Socially and environmentally conscious purchasing practices take research and reflection, so it is also necessary to encourage purchasers to seek new and better materials and business relationships. Bringing the impact on the environment into purchasing decisions must become an attitude used by all those making these decisions.


The College is interested in buying materials that promote the health and sustainability of our biosphere. When making purchasing decisions the following principles should be incorporated:

· Reuse existing materials

· Purchase recycled or remanufactured materials that have lower impact on the environment in their production, packaging, use, and, ultimately, their disposal than new materials

· Purchase locally provided materials and services where available, with preference given to locally owned and operated businesses

· Purchase long lived products made from renewable resources

· Avoid toxic materials where choices are available, e.g.; inks, paints high in volatile

compounds, carpets high in noxious odors and chemicals, cleaning solutions containing

hazardous or environmentally harmful components


Preference should be given to resource-efficient products, i.e., products that use the least or conserve the most energy, water, gas, and other nonrenewable or environmentally costly resources.


Gifts and donations should be subject to the same standards as purchased products.


Warren Wilson College understands the impact of doing business with companies with socially unethical business practices. Therefore, Warren Wilson College will seek to avoid purchasing from companies that have a history of discrimination based upon race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical handicap or who have demonstrated unfair labor practices. Warren Wilson College will also seek to avoid purchases with companies that use child labor or do not provide a living wage.


All persons charged with making purchasing decisions should keep these principles in mind and seek assistance in choosing vendors who meet them. The College will strive to develop an environmentally friendly vendor list for use in purchasing decisions where choices are available.