Bow Valley College leads a sustainable purchasing program with the vision that every purchase made by the College contributes to a supply chain that promotes positive environmental, social, and economic health.

Progress towards sustainable purchasing

In 2018, we launched a multi-year project to embed sustainability into our purchasing decisions. Our expectations for environmental and social sustainability are outlined in our Purchasing Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct (see our Purchasing page). In addition, all competitive bids are required to be reviewed and scored by the Sustainability Office with a minimum weighted sustainability score of 5%. This weighting will be increased for products or services with greater social and environmental considerations.

Upcycled pencil cases created from old vinyl banners at Bow Valley College.


To align with our vision for environmental and social sustainability, we have outlined the following criteria for our vendors and suppliers. For a full list, please see our Supplier Code of Conduct.


Environmental Sustainability

  • Apply a lifecycle approach to the product and service, considering the impacts of extraction, manufacturing, development, transportation, and disposal.
  • Prioritize water conservation, energy efficiency, and responsible waste diversion and reduction in business practices.
  • Implement initiatives to reduce, offset and track the greenhouse gas emissions of operations.
  • Give preference to products with third-party certification for environmental and social sustainability (e.g., B-Corp Certification, EcoLogo, Energy Star).

Social Sustainability

  • Engage in fair labour practices by following the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards and by eliminating forced or child labour in business operations and supply chain.
  • Implement policies and initiatives to hire a diverse workshop, especially those who have been traditionally underrepresented in the respective sector.
  • Contribute to the diversification of the supply chain by promoting, for example, Indigenous-owned, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses.
  • Pay a living wage for all employees ($23.70 in Calgary in 2023; Enough for All)

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a certification for products grown and produced under decent working conditions, and demonstrates farmers and producers are receiving a fair wage. Bow Valley College is the recipient of the 2019 Fairtrade Canada Community Builder award. This award is given to the group who exemplified the spirit of partnership and community support by connecting to and mentoring the broader Fair Trade community. Thank you to all the learners, staff, and faculty who have supported Fair Trade at Bow Valley College and to Sodexo and Fair Trade Calgary for their extensive support.

2020 Fairtrade Canada Awards



Bow Valley College is an active member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) and Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

If you are a Bow Valley College employee interested in learning more about sustainable purchasing, you can access SLPC and AASHE resources using your Bow Valley College email address at the links above.

SPLC logo

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