Sustainable purchasing guidelines



We strive to be responsible environmental stewards at NBB, and we prefer vendors who are doing the same.

The world is beginning to expect that businesses act responsibly, considering the impacts of sourcing, making, and selling their products on people and Mama Earth. So, not only is sustainable procurement the right thing to do, it's strategically advantageous too!

When we select businesses to partner with and source from, we're prioritizing their quality and customer service alongside whether or not they:

  • Measure and minimize the footprint of their operations & products by looking at transportation, packaging, waste, energy, toxicity, water, and GHG emissions.
  • Create a high-involvement corporate culture which values and rewards everyone’s contributions.
  • Have a management system which demonstrates environmental commitment by setting goals and regularly reporting.
  • Work with others to improve the sustainability of their industry.

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Things We Look For In Sustainable Vendors

Supply Chain 

How do you manage your supply chain to ensure environmental and social responsibility?

  • Minimizing packaging? What are its sustainable and positive attributes?
  • Utilize durable vs. disposable materials where applicable?
  • Following sustainable/social procurement policies?
  • Quantified your product's life-cycle carbon footprint?
  • Monitoring employment practices of manufacturers & suppliers?
  • Ensuring healthy & safe working and living conditions of migrant or factory laborers?
  • Does our business with you support NBB’s local economy?

Manufacturing & Administration 

What does your company do in its operations to reduce negative and increase positive environmental impact?

  • Do your products have positive environmental attributes?
  • Have you quantified your operational CO2 footprint?
  • Do you have goals to reduce your use of raw material inputs?
  • Utilizing renewable energy sources?
  • What are your energy, water & toxicity goals?
  • Integrated & healthy facilities management practices?


What are you doing to minimize the transportation impacts of your supplies and products?

  • Where do our supplies originate? How are they shipped to you? Boat/rail/air/truck?
  • How do you maximize loads?
  • Do you use alternative transportation fuels?


  • How comprehensive is your waste management approach? Carried out an audit of your waste streams? 
  • Do you have waste minimization goals and are you striving for zero waste?
  • Utilize paperless invoicing and electronic funds transfer?

Company Culture 

  • Robustness of health insurance and paid time off provisions.
  • ESOP or other retirement or equity-sharing plan? Profit-sharing plan?
  • Do people like to work for your company? How do you honor their contributions?

Certifications & Reporting

  • What environmental organizations do you belong to?
  • Independent third-party certification or recognition of your sustainable practices. (e.g. B Corp, FSC, 1%FTP, EPA Smart Ways, local or state programs, World Blu, etc.)
  • Have an SMS or EMS?
  • Regular and transparent public disclosure of environmental impacts, goals and activities.


What actions are you taking to encourage others to reduce their environmental impacts? How are you working outside of your regular business operations to “do the right thing”?

  • Partnering with others in your industry or supply chain to establish best practices?
  • Community outreach programs.
  • Do you support your employees in their sustainability efforts (e.g., recycling, carpooling, sponsoring nonprofits, etc.)?
  • How can your customers help reduce your negative environmental impacts?
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