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GSA Begins Green Efforts for Federal Contractors

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smokestack1(1)The General Services Administration has requested federal contractors submit their greenhouse gas emissions to make the federal government and its supply chain greener.

Following the executive order signed by President Barack Obama in October 2009, GSA submitted a document to White House Council on Environmental Quality that outlined recommendations on reducing emissions in the federal government supply chain. Executive Order 13514 called on federal agencies to “establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the federal government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for federal agencies,” according to a statement.

The report released yesterday recommends contractors disclose their emissions through fiscal 2012 to help agencies develop a plan to achieve reduction goals. GSA was recently given the green light to begin developing programs.

“Over the next two years, GSA will be surveying its suppliers and their greenhouse gas emissions, and then where practical, begin to give a preference in contract awards to companies that conduct greenhouse gas inventories,” said Steve Leeds, senior sustainability officer and senior counselor to the administrator of GSA. “We’re starting with a phased approach and an incentive-based program, by asking the vendors to voluntarily measure and report the emissions developing from their operation at a corporate level, with an eye toward eventually measuring emissions at an individual product level.”

The goal of the program, as explained by Leeds, is to get a grasp on the capacity for compliance in private businesses. Contractors will be able to submit their emission rates via online tools to further support of the government’s sustainability initiative. Leeds believes the standards for measuring the greenhouse gas emissions, once they are developed, will be incorporated into all federal contracts in the future.

“I’m reminded that in the 1970s, when the federal government determined that it would first only purchase automobiles with seatbelts, it really provided the impetus for all automobiles to have seatbelts,” Leeds said.

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