GSA Uses Government Buying Power to Cut Carbon Pollution

Wind power and smokestacks

GSA manages billions in acquisition contracts on behalf of federal agencies, and we are taking action to leverage the buying power of the government to cut carbon pollution and save taxpayer dollars. In 2009, President Obama ordered agencies to analyze the possibilities of using greenhouse gas emission data in their procurement processes. GSA has taken a number of steps to make our procurement more sustainable in support of the administration’s Climate Action Plan.

GSA reduces supply chain emissions by calling on vendors to adopt efficiency practices, requiring emissions reporting, and comparing bidders’ emissions for similar services. Just this week, we announced a domestic package shipping contract that considered companies’ past and future carbon emissions, as well as their emissions-reducing practices. Contractors will now provide regular reports on emissions associated with their sales to federal agencies, as well as report to GSA on efficiency-related measures like fuel consumption and use of alternative-fuel vehicles.

These recent federal contracts include provisions to address carbon emissions:

  • Language in the OASIS professional services contract encourages contractors to disclose their carbon footprints and sustainability practices through Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reports or carbon footprint reports. Under OASIS, these reports may be required or used to evaluate orders placed against the OASIS master contract.

  • GSA created a “green managed print services provider” designation in contracts for managed print and copier services, awarding the designation to contractors who complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

  • GSA encouraged contractors to use transportation vendors who are members of the Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partnership, a voluntary partnership between the federal government and the trucking industry to improve the environmental performance of goods transportation.

 Considering the carbon footprint of purchases is a much overdue advancement in our procurement policy. Sustainable building standards have helped GSA avoid more than $250 million in energy and water costs since 2008, and sustainable purchasing can help drive similar savings in the future.

By continuing to focus on the largest contracts as they are created or come up for renewal, GSA will make significant impact on the government’s supply chain— reducing waste, encouraging better management by contractors, and protecting taxpayers against the risks of higher energy prices and climate change.

 

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