FAS Seeks Savings Through Sustainability

This year, FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe has a lot talked about creating a great customer experience and the future of the Federal Acquisition Service. We’ve also talked about the great work we do, and our category management approach to acquisition.Green-gov-3

Today let’s talk about a related topic: sustainability. Sustainability is more than just a metric or measure for FAS and GSA. It’s an important way to provide great service and savings, and make FAS and the federal government better tomorrow than we are today.

Through their sustainable buildings efforts, GSA’s Public Buildings Service has saved the government more than $250 million in energy and water bills since 2008. At FAS, we also have the opportunity and the responsibility to seek savings through sustainability. But, instead of focusing on buildings, we need to do several different things, and do them all in partnership with our vendors and customers.

First, we need to encourage vendors to operate more efficiently and provide more green products.

Second, we need to emphasize life-cycle savings. Green products are often cheaper in the long run, because they use less energy, they’re easier to dispose of, or they make workplaces healthier and more productive. Marry these savings to the savings from Strategic Sourcing, and our customers have a win-win buying green through FAS.

Third, we need to do a better job showing customer agencies how FAS’s green solutions not only save time and money, but help them meet their own green goals and government-wide requirements.

We’re already doing a lot of these things. In May, we awarded DDS3 —  the first federal procurement to include vendors’ carbon emissions as an award factor. That motivates our vendors to use fuel efficiently, and that translates to cost savings. In the last year we’ve also put green products into other FSSI solutions, and worked to get better data on green product sales. And we’ve expanded the Green Procurement Compilation, a great resource that identifies green products and services, where to buy them from FAS, and how to make services contracts more sustainable.

While we’ve made progress, we need to be more consistent and integrate sustainability even more tightly into our solutions.

FAS is doing a number of specific things over the next year to put more focus on sustainability in acquisition:

  • We’re going to integrate sustainability into Category Management and the new Acquisition Gateway Hallways in the Common Acquisition Platform (CAP).

  • Where it makes sense, we’ll identify sustainability metrics for each category; baseline where we are today; and aim to improve performance in coming years.

  • In the Acquisition Gateway Hallways, we’ll share FAS’s expertise on how to buy green. We’ll include resources like the Green Procurement Compilation and tips for including sustainability in contracts.

  • We’re also going to look at strategic sourcing, Government-wide Acquisition Contracts, and other major FAS contracts, for ways to encourage contractors to be more efficient. The right solution will depend on the contract, and our sustainability team will help identify effective requirements and options.

As we move into Fiscal Year 2015 we have a lot in store to help government be more effective and efficient, and that includes tools and resources to lead the way to greener procurements.  Folding sustainability into our acquisition processes and tools will require a lot of collaboration from both the contracting community and our partner agencies. Join the conversation on GSA Interact and get involved in building tomorrow’s greener government for the American people.