Sustainable Purchasing

A change in supply chain purchasing policy requires an ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, but it can have a significant impact on reducing a company's eco-footprint. By focusing on products that reduce waste, support socially and environmentally sustainable practices, and build the local economy, green|light businesses can reaffirm their eco-commitments with very limited cost increases. 

See our purchasing Preferred Provider here.



  • Create a Sustainable Purchasing Policy

Compose and implement a sustainable purchasing policy. At minimum, upper level management, the office manager, and custodial services should all be included in the development of the policy. A company-wide purchasing policy encourages sustainable purchasing practices in the organization and helps ensure that green efforts do not fade with employee turnover. At minimum, the policy should stipulate that all future electronics, appliances, and plumbing fixture purchases will be Energy Star, EPEAT, or WaterSense certified as applicable. These products can potentially cost up to 40% more than traditional products but often result in a quick return on investment through utility cost savings. 


  • Sustainable Food Services Vendors

Contract with caterers who use recyclable or biodegradable flatware and cups and/or source local ingredients. Ensure that proper recycling receptacles are available at catered events to accommodate these more sustainable products. Here is a list of certified green hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Chattanooga. 

Extra: Implement a NO Styrofoam policy!


  • Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic Food and Beverages

Products bearing Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and USDA Organic labels are procured or harvested in a manner that empowers farmers, reduces chemical use, and protects our natural forests, which act as carbon storage for greenhouse gasses. The Fair Trade logo signifies that the farmers who produce the raw product have been paid a fair, living wage for their labor and goods.


Complete two more tasks either from the options below or custom solutions for your business.


  • Choose Vendors With a Take-Back Policy

Vendors, particularly those that deal in electronics, carpeting, and flooring, are beginning to offer “take-back” policies whereby they will remove their product once it has outlived its usefulness, recover any reusable material, and then properly dispose of the rest. By committing to vendors with such policies, a green|light business can reduce waste while simultaneously reducing its own disposal fees.

As an alternate compliance path for this option, participants can instate their own take back program for their finished products and customers. 


  • Recycled Content Office Supplies

With regard to printer paper, boxes, bath tissue, and paper towels, choose products that have a minimum of 30% recycled content. In addition to paper products, it is now possible to find other recycled content office supplies, such as pens and other plastic based items.

This website that provides information on green products available.


  • FSC Certified Products

The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is a forestry certification that strives to identify products comprised of wood or wood pulp that come from sustainably managed and harvested forests. Sourcing FSC certified products supports FSC’s efforts to do the following:

▪   Never harvests more than what grows back

▪   Protects biodiversity and endangered species

▪   Saves rare ancient trees

▪   Guards local streams

▪   Supports the local people

▪   Uses narrow skidding trails so as not to disrupt the rest of the forest

▪   Prohibits replacement by tree plantations

▪   Bans toxic chemicals

▪   Bans genetically modified trees (no GMO)

Source FSC certified office supplies including but not limited to: copy/printer paper, notepads, cardstock, stationary, and business cards.


  • Green Seal Certified Cleaning Products

Cleaning products commonly contain chemicals like ethylene-based glycol (a hazardous air pollutant), terpenes (which morph into carcinogenic compounds when mixed with ozone) and chlorine. These chemicals have been shown to pose health risks to humans, particularly those with pre-existing heart and respiratory problems. Green Seal Certified cleaning products contain fewer of these chemicals that frequently escape into the atmosphere and water supply during normal use. More information on Green Seal can be found  Here.

Preferred Provider:  RBS Incorporated


  • Sustainable Furniture

When shopping for furniture, visit second hand and salvage stores for possible lightly used furniture. If you are purchasing new furniture, opt for products made out of rapidly renewable resources or recycled content, and consider purchasing furniture created by local craftsmen.

Also, if your furniture manufacturer does not take back it's product to recycle, donate your furniture to the Habitat Restore or Salvation Army when you no longer require it if it's still usable.

Preferred Providers: Office Furniture Warehouse + BMC Office Technology + COS Business Products & Interiors


Custom Credit Suggestion:

Replace all catered cutlery, cups and plates with compostable items. Say “no thank you” to caterers/vendors bringing in their own items.