U.S. Government Asks for Sustainability Reports from Contractors

Did you know that if you are federal contractor and are on the General Services Administration, or GSA, schedule, you will be asked to report on your sustainability efforts?” That’s the question posed by Anca Novacovici, founder and president of Eco-Coach, an environmental sustainability consulting business, in a recent Huffington Post blog. Not surprisingly for a post titled “Federal Contractors Missing the Boat,” her answer is in the negative. She writes, “Many contractors are unaware of the federal reporting requests around sustainability.”

The GSA is big Big Business. It employs 2,000 federal workers, has an annual operating budget of $26 billion, and purchases $95 billion of goods and services each year. It contributes to the management of $500 billion in U.S. federal property, divided chiefly among 8,300 owned and leased buildings, and a 210,000-vehicle motor pool. It also helps manage and support the overall purchases of the U.S. government, which total $250 billion in goods and services annually. Thousands of companies compete for a piece of this huge budget.

Recently, would-be contractors have found a new way to gain an advantage in the bidding for government contracts: helping federal agencies meet their sustainability goals. Those targets are spelled out in Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, signed by President Obama in 2009. EO13514 mandates specific percentages for water efficiency, recycling and waste diversion, reduction in petroleum use, and implementation of the net-zero-energy building requirement. As more government agencies work toward these goals, they are looking for vendors that offer solutions to help achieve their objectives.

Now the GSA is asking government contractors to provide an environmental impact statement, develop a waste minimization plan, and describe planned use of green products as part of the RFP process. Novacovici underlines the obvious: if a company becomes more sustainable, it could have a major impact on its chances of becoming a preferred supplier to the government. Gaining part of a multi-billion market through improved environmental practices looks like a winning business strategy, for the planet and for profits.

Article by John Howell, appearing courtesy 3BL Media

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