Procurement can be a powerful force for driving sustainable action by implementing changes and improvements in the supply chain. Sustainable procurement improves the efficiency of how state funds are spent, while concurrently using market power to drive positive environmental and social change. It can help us reduce waste, lower our campus resource use, lower our carbon emissions, protect vulnerable workers and vital ecosystems, and support sustainable economic development.
The UGA Green Labs program strives to identify and implement best practices for laboratory purchasing to reduce packaging material waste before it arrives on campus, ensure energy and water-efficient equipment, and reduce negative social impacts of our supply chain.
The ACT Environmental Impact Factor label is an eco-nutrition label for laboratory products. By emphasizing Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency (ACT) around manufacturing, energy and water use, packaging, and end-of-life, the ACT assessment process aims to provide purchasers with the information necessary to make smart, sustainable choices about laboratory products they buy. By using ACT, we are reducing the environmental impact of laboratories and driving the laboratory product market toward sustainability.
The UGA Green Labs program is working to educate on-campus purchasers for lab equipment and consumables about the ACT label and encourage our community to give purchasing preference to products that are sustainably made, and create end-products that can be recycled, composted, or otherwise diverted from our landfills.
While many sustainability and waste diversion efforts leave us looking “downstream” to address hard-to-recycle end products we’ve already generated, such as styrofoam coolers and ice packs, the UGA Green Labs program is currently looking “upstream” to figure out how to divert these items before they even arrive on campus.
Our goal is to create changes at the procurement level and collaborate with UGA Procurement, manufacturers, and distributors to prevent and reduce waste. Giving preference to lab purchases that support our waste diversion goals sends a strong message to manufacturers and distributors about the value of waste reduction.