Small pumpkins gathered in a box waiting to be purchased at the Ames Farmers' Market.Iowa State University Procurement Services is committed to continuous improvement in procuring environmentally-preferable products, promoting sustainable practices, and managing energy consumption, while fully supporting the university's mission to create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place. The mission of Procurement Services is to provide efficient, timely and effective services that maximize resources and support the university in making Iowa and the world a better place.

Procurement Services achieves its mission and supports ISU's work toward a sustainable future by dedication to excellence and highest ethical standards in achieving the following goals:

  • Implementing sustainable strategies that promote Iowa State as an environmental leader
  • Implementing enhanced administrative systems and strengthening business processes to support the planned growth in research, international programs and entrepreneurial activities
  • Incorporating life cycle and total value cost principles in making strategic decisions
  • Encouraging utilization and development of businesses owned by women and socially-disadvantaged ethnic groups, and
  • Being sensitive to and accepting of gender differences, diverse age groups, socio-economic levels, racial ancestries, ethnic heritages and international cultures in the performance of daily activities

Iowa State participates in Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), or Green Purchasing, the procurement of products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment, when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may include considerations such as raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal of the product or service. In addition, Iowa State has implemented a vendor code of conduct that considers economic, environmental and social sustainability. The university strives to manage its transactions in a sustainable and responsible way, seeking to do business with suppliers who share concerns for, and commitment to, sustainable business practices.

In addition, purchasing policies are in place at Iowa State that prioritize the consideration of energy efficiency, recycled content and non-disposable materials, local products, green cleaning items, as well as paperless procurement in procurement decisions. ENERGY STAR and EPEAT-equivalent (or better) products are purchased whenever possible; about 98% of all fine paper purchases are made from recycled content; Iowa State is committed to the purchasing of local products from a family-owned food distributor in its dining facilities; more than 95% of all university cleaning supplies are green-certified; and a commitment to electronic procurement has also seen a significant reduction in the number of checks written and invoices and purchase orders processed, as well as postage expenditures. 

"One of the biggest changes from when I started this job to now is in the questions we ask, especially to big suppliers: 'What are you doing to help the environment that we can be involved in?' We wouldn't ask that question 18 years ago, it just wasn't on our minds. But that's now one of the standard questions when we bring in our contractors. 'What initiatives do you have that we're not taking advantage of? Is it consolidating shipments? Only ordering once a week? Using online resources versus walking into the store?'"

-Cory Harms, Associate Director of Purchasing