Sustainable Purchasing Guide


Reeve Consulting worked with Thompson Rivers University’s (TRU) Sustainability and Procurement teams to develop a Sustainable Purchasing Guide to provide staff across its three campuses enables with guidance on how to include sustainability within standard procurement decision-making processes. The Guide directly supports TRU’s Campus Strategic Sustainability Plan by providing a framework for each TRU department and business unit to embed sustainable procurement into their own operations.

The Guide is organized by procurement type—from Direct Procurements with purchasing cards or low dollar value purchases under $10,000 to multiple quotes to Requests for Proposals (RFPs)—a simple set of steps is offered for each procurement type. The Guide also contains the following tools:

  • Sustainability Risk and Opportunity Assessment Checklist
  • Supplier Leadership Questionnaire
  • Life Cycle Analysis Assessment Tool, and,
  • Total Cost of Ownership Worksheet.

The Guide was presented to TRU’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee in February 2019 with a communications plan, and they were pleased with the results.


“We are confident that the Guide will help us drive more impact in sustainable procurement,” reports “The simple process guidelines for each type of procurement give our buyers clarity on what to do, and how to bring sustainability into their purchasing decisions.” – Eric Vandermeulen, Procurement Manager


High Impact Sustainable Procurement Opportunities (HIPO) Workshop


Reeve supported TRU to bring stakeholders from multiple departments together to provide focused direction on where sustainable procurement should be applied in the upcoming contracting and low-value purchasing schedule. Informed by departmental interviews and a workshop in January 2020, Reeve crafted a “high impact procurement or HIPO list” that identified:

  • Successful sustainable procurement initiatives to be scaled and replicated across TRU more widely
  • Significant spend categories where TRU can demonstrate major environmental and social impact
  • Categories in which contracts are up for tendering, renewal, or renegotiation in the near term, and,
  • Procurement categories where there is market readiness to provide more sustainable alternatives.

To further support items on the HIPO list, Reeve developed five fact sheets on specific product categories—from professional services to electric machines, catering and more. These Fact Sheets were distributed to the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee and staff across the university to support more sustainable decentralized purchasing.

Finally, the project documented several TRU Success Stories to contribute to positive communications about sustainability impact through purchasing to the university community. Success stories highlighted TRU Reuse, a platform for recirculating furniture and other assets, and the many sustainability achievements of TRU’s Food Services and Bookstore.


“This project has generated more focus and momentum for the next level of sustainable procurement across all departments of TRU. This was a very significant opportunity to come together to learn what each other has done and what they aspire to implement next. We came out of the project with clear successes to share and tools to engage the campus to take action in key categories.” – Jim Gudjonson, Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability