Sustainable Partners

Supporting Local and Sustainable Partners

Middlebury supports local, environmentally committed, and minority- and women-owned vendors whenever possible. This purchasing policy outlines the rationale and benefits for awarding business and contracts to vendors that share a similar mindset to Middlebury’s environmental and stewardship commitments.

Policy

Middlebury has traditionally emphasized placing business with local firms. Reflecting an institutional commitment to comprehensive environmental stewardship, Middlebury similarly emphasizes sourcing from firms whose services and products do the following:

  1. Further Middlebury’s stewardship goals.
  2. Demonstrate superior long-term sustainability, energy efficiency, and pollution minimization in production and usage life cycles.

Middlebury has also articulated a commitment to institutional diversity across lines of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, and therefore encourages doing business with firms and individuals representative, especially in terms of ownership or management, of these goals of institutional diversity.

Local Vendors

Preferential use of local vendors highlights the fundamental interdependence between Middlebury and the larger communities as a whole. The advantages of local suppliers in terms of service, delivery, and dedication are clear. These, however, must be weighed carefully against regional and national vendors’ potential pricing advantages and supply source diversification. Middlebury considers the balance between these variables (and others) in a context of long-term impact and overall advantage.

Environmentally Committed Suppliers

Middlebury’s institutional commitment to environmental stewardship dictates a high sensitivity to a similar commitment on the part of vendors selected to supply Middlebury.

Minority- and Women-Owned Vendors

Where possible, Middlebury’s commitment to institutional diversity is reflected in the placing of business so as to encourage the entrepreneurial efforts of minorities and women within Vermont specifically, and the region and nation more generally.

Requirements

Preferential sourcing from local suppliers should be driven by more than geographic proximity. Where local vendors are unable to offer superior pricing to College departments, local vendors should offer qualitative factors—product quality, delivery, service, after-sale support, and terms—that comprise a package which gives them equal or superior overall competitiveness with large chain and industrial vendors.

Middlebury College business, moreover, should be viewed by local vendors as something to be earned and not an entitlement. Personnel making purchasing decisions for the College should monitor local vendor relationships closely to assure that preferential, long-term relationships remain demonstrably competitive.

With respect to purchasing decisions where heavy emphasis is given to environmental impact factors over pure pricing, departments and individuals need to also keep in view their fiscal stewardship obligations to parents, alumni, and donors in making the Middlebury educational experience as accessible and affordable as possible.