Greening the Supply Chain

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The Obama Administration has taken another step to reduce the Federal Government's environmental footprint and to advance clean energy opportunities.  On Tuesday morning, I joined General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson in Chicago, Illinois, at the first-ever GreenGov Supply Chain Summit to announce a voluntary collaboration between the Federal Government and vendors and suppliers to create a greener and more efficient supply chain.

The Federal Government purchases $500 billion in goods and services annually, so you could say the Federal supply chain represents an enormous opportunity to support a clean energy economy.  Through our new GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership, Federal suppliers can agree to voluntarily measure, reduce, and report their greenhouse gas emissions to help GSA design an incentive-based approach to developing contracting advantages for companies that share our sustainability goals.  We've already partnered with 60 small businesses for a pilot program that will explore the benefits and challenges of measuring greenhouse gas emissions for small business participants.

More than 150 companies – large and small – joined us at the summit.  Companies shared their corporate sustainability priorities and their experiences greening their own supply chains.  Two themes emerged in the conversation.  First, we have an extraordinary opportunity to foster innovation and entrepreneurship through the Federal Government's commitment to sustainability and the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership.  Second, to fulfill that opportunity, we've got to develop straightforward incentives that make it easy for small and emerging businesses to work with us.

The Federal Government has a responsibility to lead by example to cut energy use, reduce pollution and save taxpayer dollars.  Yesterday's announcement is another step in the right direction.

Article by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

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