Looking toward Earth Day this year got me thinking about ITC’s efforts to promote a sustainable future. I’d like to share a few things we’ve done and what we’re working on.
One of the Biden-Harris Administration’s core goals is to put the United States on a path toward net-zero emissions, economywide, by no later than 2050.
The federal government has a big role to play.
Reading the IT leaves
One trend that we’re seeing is the government relying more on “as-a-service” models for enterprise IT infrastructure.
Another trend is buying less government-owned physical hardware. Agencies are getting what they need through industry and letting industry manage everything on the backend.
We see this clearly reflected in our hardware buying data.
Relying more on industry-provided infrastructure through the cloud and other “as-a-service” solutions shrinks the government data centers’ overall footprint. This move reduces the government’s consumption of raw materials and energy.
We’re seeing this trend across the government. Of course, data centers are just one piece of the IT sustainability puzzle. But it’s encouraging to see those numbers going down.
Looking to the horizon
So what is ITC doing specifically? Well, a lot!
- In our Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, we’ve built sustainability criteria into the contract. Section G.12 — Requirements for Climate Change Adaptation, Sustainability and Green Initiatives support environmental sustainability practices through using energy-efficient, virtual, and streamlined technology that facilitates agile and expansive network communications.
- Complex Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) Solutions (CS3) Section C.2.1.5 — Climate Change Risk and Mitigation has a contract deliverable to prepare and update as needed a corporate climate risk management plan. This plan identifies and addresses mitigating climate change risks to land-based equipment and services associated with the satellite communication services that CS3 provides.
- Our Governmentwide Strategic Solutions (GSS) for desktops and laptops has a mandatory Electronic Product Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Governmentwide Program. This comes from OMB Memo M-16-02, which provides standard configurations and minimum requirements for desktops, laptops, and tablets. The offering mandates EPEAT for all end-user devices and optional equipment (i.e., monitors) to meet the standard and be sold through the program.
- The Alliant 2 Governmentwide Acquisition Contract is another great example of how the federal government leads in environmental sustainability. Alliant 2 requires greenhouse gas emissions (GEG) disclosures and reduction targets from its contractor pool. It is a contractual deliverable. We intend to continue this practice on Alliant 3.
- With Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS), GSA is helping the DoD leverage enterprise commercial cloud environment to enable cross-department collaboration while reducing the physical footprint of on-premise infrastructure.
- Looking to the future, we’re working hard on the Cloud Marketplace Blanket Purchase Agreement, a vehicle that will enable agencies to further their cloud adoption strategies by offering common cloud capabilities more easily.
We know that moving to the cloud can reduce an agency’s footprint, but we’re taking that even further. We’re in the early stages of writing in environmental directives related to carbon pollution-free energy for the data centers that will provide those cloud capabilities: geothermal, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, nuclear, solar, wind, and the like. (I have solar panels at home and I’m also a big fan of wind farms)
Also in the works is Polaris, our small business-focused contract. We’ve outlined two areas of sustainability in the Polaris RFPs:
- Products purchased from Polaris are at the EPEAT Bronze Level, and
- Polaris contractors can provide their Sustainable Practices and Impact Statement (i.e., GHG disclosures).
How do we move forward? We planet.
We’ve got a lot yet to do to ensure we meet the president’s goals on sustainability. We’re working hard toward that aim.
As I reflect on Earth Day this year, I’m proud of the important strides we’re making to help agencies buy more sustainable IT products and we continue to seek opportunities to become more sustainable.