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How Universities Can Make More Sustainable Choices

Posted by Tork - An Essity Brand on May 9, 2023

Students, staff and university officials all have an important part to play when it comes to implementing sustainable practices across campus. As the science points to an increasingly clear consensus and a more urgent case for action, we examine what universities can do to make study more sustainable. From using the right cleaning products, to saving water and being transparent about carbon footprints, Tork and OMNIA Partners offer best practices for educational institutions to start their journey toward becoming economically sustainable.

Environmental issues including climate change, air pollution and the loss of biodiversity are stirring great change across the world. A study has shown that 94% of students believe that universities could do more to be environmentally sustainable. This means that implementing sustainable initiatives across campus is more important than ever.

By shifting to even more sustainable models, universities can act as ‘change agents’, helping to lead society forward. By leveraging the partnership between Tork and OMNIA Partners, procurement teams can increase their operational efficiency and streamline the procurement process while meeting the university's sustainability goals. 

Students walking on sustainable campus

In this blog, find out how campus operations managers can improve campus sustainability and cleanliness.  

Be Transparent About Carbon Footprinting

There is a broad discussion about the necessity of universities to become carbon neutral. Currently, a minority of universities record and publish comprehensive carbon inventories.

This is one area where the United States is succeeding. University carbon footprinting is most institutionalized in the USA, where over 1,000 Higher Education Institutions have registered to use the STARS Reporting Tool. STARS is a transparent, self-reporting tracking system for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Foster a 'Culture of Sustainability'

As well as being transparent about carbon footprinting, students themselves are calling for strong action on climate change across campus – including bans on single use plastics and a reduction in waste that goes to landfill. Students also want to see environmental issues integrated into their subjects as part of the core curriculum4, and into student life via extracurricular activities that emphasize environmental issues.

The real challenge is understanding how to create a culture of sustainability across campus. This involves trying to ‘sustain’ sustainability in their organizations in the long term. A university with a strong sustainability culture is one that seeks to support the environment long into the future while continuing to operate successfully today.

Learn From Your Peers

Creating a culture of sustainably in a university building means investing in the future. According to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for 2022, Arizona State University is one of the top in terms of sustainability. ASU is committed to leading the world by example by creating a circular resource system. The university promotes a zero-waste policy across campus and strives to minimize water usage.

Invest in the Right Cleaning Products to Support a Healthy Building

In addition to utilizing healthful building materials and furniture, campus officials and operation managers can follow the same guidelines for personal and household cleaning products, led by the Six Classes Approach to reducing chemical harm.

When schools don’t have the budget to transform their infrastructure, taking small steps to better sustainability is key. Students value the campus experience and the university’s commitment to the environment. Showing commitment to sustainability through the choice of cleaning products and services can be key to success.

Tork helps higher education institutes to deliver positive experiences through award-winning, sustainable hygiene solutions on a cooperative contract available through OMNIA Partners. High-capacity dispensers, third-party certified compostable paper hand towels, Green Seal certified hand sanitizer and hand soap made from natural ingredients, and Tork Vision Cleaning – the world’s leading facility management solution for data-driven cleaning – can help support your university campus sustainability strategy.

Learn how your university can take action to streamline cost-saving procurement processes with the Tork Campus Hygiene Package, available to all participants of OMNIA Partners on your favorite distributor's competitively solicited and publicly awarded contract.



Tork is the leading global brand in workplace hygiene. We offer professional hygiene products and services to customers worldwide ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Our products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, wipers, but also software solutions for data-driven cleaning, all of which are available on your favorite distributor's cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners. Not a participant? Become one today!

Topics: Facilities & Infrastructure, Higher Education, Cooperative Purchasing