Greening the Supply Chain

In October 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This EO called on federal agencies to set and meet specific sustainability related targets throughout their operations. 

As part of this undertaking, GSA is leveraging its purchasing power to promote sustainable procurement in recognition of the critical importance of making the federal government more efficient and maximizing opportunities for cost savings. GSA has increased its offerings of sustainable products and services, providing training, and making it easier to find GSA's green offerings.

As part of the EO’s requirements, GSA partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to lead an interagency working group, known as the Section 13 Interagency Working Group, to determine whether contractor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be used in the federal procurement process to make the government’s supply chain more sustainable.

In June 2010, the Section 13 Working Group issued the report, Recommendations for Vendor and Contractor Emissions, [PDF, 2.14MB] stating that sustainability considerations, especially GHG emissions data, should be used in the procurement process through a phased incentive approach. The scale and breadth of the government’s purchasing power has a significant impact, not only on federal government’s environmental footprint, but also on the federal supply chain. GSA is implementing the report’s recommendations through several initiatives, including Use of Vendor and Contractor GHG Emissions Considerations in Procurements Initiative .

EO 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, signed in March 2015, builds upon this progress. This EO requires each of the seven largest procuring agencies to develop and implement an annual Procurement Plan to Reduce Supply Chain Emissions that identifies at least five procurements to be implemented the following fiscal year. In addition, the White House Council on Environmental Quality will release an annual inventory of major suppliers that reflects each supplier’s status on public disclosure of GHG emissions and GHG reduction goals or targets.

A number of companies have already proven that reducing GHG emissions across their supply chain is beneficial to their bottom line, reduces risks and improves operational efficiency. GSA is working collaboratively with industry partners, academia and non-profits to harness existing lessons learned, and identify how best to leverage procurement to reduce GHG emissions, maximize cost savings, and increase efficiency across the federal supply chain.

Last Reviewed 2016-01-13