University News

UMass Store Launches New TRASE Rating System to Provide Product Sustainability Scores

The UMass Store located in the Campus Center has launched the TRASE initiative, a distinct system of assessment that provides sustainability scores for products in campus stores.

NEWS UMass Store

In the summer of 2022, Courtney Weiand, director of sales, marketing and customer relations at the UMass Store, identified a need for further commitment to sustainability by providing more transparency to customers. As vendors continued to expand sustainable product lines, she said customers needed a way to assess the offerings so they could shop with confidence and avoid greenwashing. The products assessed include T-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, water bottles and travel tumblers.

Weiand, an alumna of the MS sustainability science program at UMass Amherst, spearheaded a collaboration with two other campus leaders: Kathy Wicks, director of sustainability at Auxiliary Enterprises, and Ezra Small, campus sustainability manager for Physical Plant. The UMass Store worked with them to develop a rating system to score products and allow customers to easily see an item’s sustainable attributes when compared to other options. Based on the initial outline created by Weiand, the foundation of TRASE was developed with the help of interns, fellows and a student sustainability researcher.

The system uses numerous measures of sustainability, taking into account economics, environmental impact, and social/labor standards, to assess products across three categories:

  • emissions and waste
  • materials and dyes
  • certifications and initiatives

Participating vendors are given worksheets to complete for each eligible item, providing details on multiple subcategories that lend to an item's overall score. Once the worksheet is completed, a score can be assigned to the items listed based on predetermined values associated with each response. The end result is an item with a rating from 1 to 5 to represent its overall sustainability score. This score is available for customers and vendors to see on the item’s hang tag in store and also online via the TRASE icon and product scorecard.

More information on the TRASE rating system can be found on the UMass Store’s website.