Just last week the world’s two largest carbon emitters formally joined the Paris Agreement, a significant step toward the agreement entering into full force this year. This latest announcement marks yet another milestone in the President’s leadership over the past seven and a half years in the global fight against climate change. And while leading these global efforts, the President has also directed our nation’s largest consumer of energy—the Federal Government—to lead by example in this fight at home.
Over the course of this Administration, the President has set aggressive goals for the Federal Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase deployment of renewable energy, and reduce overall energy and water use in Federal buildings. And through a series of innovative methods, such as leveraging the Federal Government’s vast purchasing power, agencies are on track to meet these goals. For instance, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the Federal Government’s first-ever joint solar power procurement contract, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. GSA also awarded a contract to design, construct and operate solar energy systems on the rooftops of 18 Federal buildings that, when fully operational, are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2400 metric tons annually. And earlier this summer, we announced a proposed rule that would drive greater disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risk data among the Government’s supply chain.
Building on these efforts, today we’re launching a new tool to further drive sustainable purchasing in the Federal Government’s over $400 billion supply chain and to strengthen environmental stewardship requirements in federal acquisitions. The more than 10,000 federal users of GSA’s Acquisition Gateway – a one-stop portal supporting Category Management that includes contract information by category, like pricing tools, best practices, and other information – will now see a new Green ✓ (Green Check) tag next to contract vehicles that are identified as sustainable and that advance our Federal green purchasing goals.
To determine which contract vehicles would be designated with a Green Check, a cross-agency interdisciplinary advisory team led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviewed all contract awards within the Information Technology Hardware category on the Gateway and identified those contracts that are a source of equipment that meets or exceeds Federal energy efficiency and other sustainable IT standards. Moving forward, members of the advisory team, which include representatives from GSA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others, will advise Category Managers as they continue their efforts to increase sustainability within government-wide contracting vehicles, with plans to launch Green Check in additional categories in the coming months.
By integrating Green Check into the Acquisition Gateway, we’re making it easier for agencies to find and select contracts that meet aggressive energy standards and creating a more energy-efficient, climate-smart, and sustainable Federal supply chain. After all, everyone has a stake in the fight against climate change, and this Administration is committed to leading by example in this fight.
Anne Rung is the U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer. Christine Harada is the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer at the Council on Environmental Quality.