Sustainable Acquisition

GSA’s industry partners and peers — including (among others) dozens of major retailers, automakers, electronics manufacturers, financial companies, and hospitality companies — consistently share with us that working with suppliers to reduce their energy and environmental footprints can increase efficiencies and reduce business risks for all parties, generating cost savings and other forms of financial value. GSA is working to adopt these industry best practices for supply chain management as an important best-value component of solutions that vendors provide to the federal government.

In 2015, GSA supplemented these efforts by joining CDP Supply Chain, a third-party supply chain disclosure system. Contractor participation in GSA’s CDP Supply Chain program is by invitation only, and is voluntary for invited contractors, unless separately required by contract. As of April 2018, reporting via the CDP system specifically is not required by any GSA contract, while a minority of contract holders are required to report energy and environmental performance data, with CDP as one option for reporting.

Government-wide carbon emissions from contractors performing federal contracts (“supply chain emissions”) are estimated to be significantly greater (150 million tons in FY19) than emissions from federal buildings and non-tactical fleets (37 million tons). GSA’s governmentwide procurement role gives it significant ability to manage these impacts.

GSA develops contract requirements for energy and environmental management based on anticipated cost savings and impact opportunities, unique to each procurement and market sector. GSA believes that a market sector approach is best, since it aligns with other GSA strategic sourcing practices and recognizes that opportunities to reduce costs via energy and environmental management differ between market sectors, depending on the relevant impacts and practices of each sector. GSA tracks, via an annual survey and analysis process, actions that major federal contractors are taking to reduce their carbon emissions and the impacts of these actions. GSA also includes and monitors contract requirements for contractors to track and reduce emissions in several dozen contracts within the FAS Alliant 2 GWAC program.

EO 14008, §205(b), directs GSA and other agencies to plan to “use... all available procurement authorities to achieve or facilitate... a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035.” GSA will continue to monitor, encourage, and require reductions in contractor GHG emissions, which can make a major contribution towards improving efficiency, reducing costs, and increasing contractors' use of renewable energy.

To assist vendors in identifying relevant sustainable management practices, the following tables provide links to resources and information.

Federal Agency Tools and Resources, Including Small Business Tools

  • Federal Supplier Energy & Risk Management (ERM) Tool: This tool displays federal contractors' corporate-level sustainability practices in the context of federal contracting data. It allows users to quickly access detailed sustainability reports from specific companies, as well as to assess general performance trends and the prevalence of energy and risk management best practices across the Federal contracting landscape.
  • SFTool: Managing Climate Risks to Federal Supply Chain: GSA developed this framework to provide guidance to Federal agencies ready to assess observed and expected climate or weather-related risks (e.g., extreme heat waves, tropical storms and hurricanes, wildfires, etc.) to supply chains and develop plans to minimize those risks.
  • SFTool: Responsible Business Conduct: This module provides a framework for incorporating best practices and resources for responsible business conduct within procurements. Responsible business conduct includes promoting workers’ rights and safe working conditions, preventing human trafficking, and addressing other human rights-related risks.
  • Guidelines for Energy Management: EPA offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, these guidelines for energy management can assist your organization in improving its energy, and its financial performance while distinguishing your organization as an environmental leader.
  • Green Power Locator: Buying renewable electricity is one of the easiest ways for many small businesses to reduce their GHG footprint. In many areas, green power options are available directly through your local utility. This Department of Energy (DOE) tool helps locate providers of renewable electricity by state.

Information on Corporate Sustainability Reporting (CSR)

  • CDP (Formerly Carbon Disclosure Project): CDP is a global third-party system for companies to measure, disclose, manage, and share information on energy and environmental practices. With thousands of companies reporting annually, CDP is the world's largest registry of corporate energy and environmental information.
  • Global Reporting Initiative: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a non-profit organization that provides sustainability reporting guidance and maintains a database of sustainability reports. GRI has pioneered and developed a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world. The Framework enables all organizations to measure and report their economic, environmental, social and governance performance – the four key areas of sustainability.
Last Reviewed: 2021-06-11