Purchasing Practices

Sustainable Procurement at Penn

Penn's Sustainable Purchasing Initiative seeks to increase the purchase of products with a reduced or minimal (ideally zero) environmental impact as compared to other similar products/services that serve the same purpose.

Purchasing Services supports the purchase of recycled content, environmentally preferable and bio-based products through the inclusion of environmentally friendly products in preferred contract supplier online product catalogs in the Penn Marketplace. Penn Marketplace-participating suppliers are encouraged to include products that promote environmental stewardship in their online product catalog and Penn faculty and staff members are empowered to select environmentally friendly products for their purchase requirements. Purchasing Services offers supplier specific environmentally friendly product catalogs in the Penn Marketplace.

Green Purchasing Practices

BEN's Attic


Don't trash old office furniture or leftover promotional items... List them in BEN’s Attic, a new website developed by Purchasing Services that allows Penn faculty and staff to exchange and purchase surplus University-owned property. All faculty and staff are able to browse the site to see if there are any items they may need. You must be a TAC (Transaction Authorization Card) holder (or a TAC holder’s designee) in order to post items or make purchases. Items are listed by category and can be sold or given away at no cost. Users can also request an email notification of items by category as they become available.

Ben’s Attic is strictly for repurposing of University owned property and can be accessed from the Purchasing Services website or https://upenn.unl.edu.

If you have any questions regarding the usage of Ben’s Attic or would like to set up an account, please email benattic@exchange.upenn.edu.



All University-branded stationary is printed on 30 percent PCR chlorine-free paper, FSC and Green Seal certified, and the electricity used to manufacture this paper is offset with 100 percent Green-e certified wind certificates.

Energy Star


The University is committed to purchasing Energy Star qualified products such as printers, computers, and appliances. Penn Computing Green Information Technology (IT) program has established recommended guidelines for IT purchases that include Energy Star 4.0 compliant desktops, replacing CRT monitors with LCD monitors, and encouraging the purchase of small form factor or all-in-one desktops instead of mini-towers or towers.

Beyond its purchasing guidelines, Green IT provides resources to help users throughout the University improve the sustainable aspects of their computing operations by reducing energy consumption and producing less e-waste.

Quench Tap Water Filter


Campus-wide preferred purchasing agreements were made with providers such as Quench water filters, which replaced bottled water in many offices across campus. The Quench system works by UV filtration, purifying and cooling municipal water. This eliminates the need for plastic bottles and bottled water, cutting down on costs and greatly reducing the University’s carbon footprint.

Eco-Friendly Apparel


Penn has partnered with Project 571 to offer a new clothing line for those who wish to wear the Red and Blue in an environmentally-friendly fashion. Available online and at the Penn Bookstore, all Penn gear produced by Project 571 is made from Fair Trade certified organic cotton, bamboo, recycled polyester, and water based environmentally-friendly inks.