GSA Releases Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan

GSA’s recently released Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan outlines strategies on how the agency can continue the Obama Administration’s commitment to cutting waste, pollution, and costs in federal operations. Sustainability is a priority to GSA, and it drives our efforts to serve our partner agencies and deliver better value and savings to the American people.  This updated plan reaffirms our commitment to this priority and, for the first time, includes strategies to manage risks from climate change.

President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance set aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in federal operations by 2020. GSA’s 2012 Sustainability Plan builds on three years of progress under the Executive Order and provides an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, cutting waste, and saving energy.

This year, GSA’s Sustainability Plan includes a Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan, outlining initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of the agency’s programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of incremental climate change, such as sea level rise, heat waves, drought or climate variability such as more frequent or severe extreme weather events. The adaptation plan highlights actions that address how a changing climate could impact GSA programs and operations, while also protecting taxpayer investments.

The climate change adaptation plan, which President Obama directed federal agencies to prepare in his 2009 Executive Order, will be available for 60 days of public comment and will be updated as needed.  GSA’s adaptation plan builds on the Administration’s commitment to promoting climate change preparedness and resilience.

Actions in the GSA 2012 Sustainability Plan include broad efforts to continue making federal buildings more sustainable and to reduce environmental impact with cost-saving initiatives. GSA has significantly reduced energy intensity and received nearly 16 percent of its electricity from renewable resources. The agency has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20% compared to 2008 levels, equivalent to eliminating 90,000 cars on the road each year. Petroleum usage reduction within GSA’s internal fleet totals more than 150,000 gallons in the last seven years. Given current gas prices, this amounts to more than $500,000 in annual fuel savings. Waste diversion — efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost waste — has also led to significant cost savings, cutting expenses by $3.6 million. With water reduction equivalent to 523 Olympic-sized pools, the agency has avoided costs of about $4 million per year.

The plan also includes educational measures to amplify sustainability efforts in acquisitions. GSA’s mandatory green purchasing training for acquisition teams and purchase card holders is available for all to help further drive agency priorities.

In addition to the Climate Change Adaptation Plan, the Sustainability Plans include two other new components: Fleet Management Plans and Bio-based Purchasing Strategies.  GSA and other federal agencies annually update Sustainability Plans, prioritizing activities that help to meet energy, water, and waste reduction goals based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer.

The Climate Change Adaptation plan is open for public comment. Send your comments to adaptation@gsa.gov by April 15.

Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans are available now at http://sustainability.performance.gov.

For more information on Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/sustainability.