Greening the Vendor Selection Process
Contracts Must be Green: Executive Order (EO) 13514. President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13514 in October 2009. This EO requires federal agencies to ensure 95 percent of new contract actions be “green”, including task orders.
How can agencies ensure that services are green?
The Environmental Protection Agency has developed five guiding principles which provide a framework for making green contracts. They are:
- Environment + Price + Performance = EPP
Includes environmental considerations as part of the normal purchasing process.
- Pollution Prevention
Emphasizes pollution prevention as part of the purchasing process.
- Life Cycle Perspective/Multiple Attributes
Examines multiple environmental attributes throughout the service's life cycle.
- Comparison of Environmental Impacts
Compares environmental impacts when selecting services.
- Environmental Performance Information
Collects accurate and meaningful environmental information about environmental performance of products and services.
GSA offers guidelines for assessing a project’s environmental impact and working with truly sustainable contractors.
Require Contractors to use Green Products: Almost every service requires the use of some sort of product. Where appropriate, require contractors to use environmentally preferable products to complete their task.
Assess Direct Environmental Impact: It is important to assess the sustainability of contractors’ direct activities over the life span of a project. As a rule, contracting officers should assess how the proposed project may impact the environment and how to mitigate any damage.
Assess Indirect Environmental Impact: Some services’ direct activities do not have a significant environmental impact. For example, accountants may use some energy and materials, but most of the environmental impact is a result of the contractor’s indirect activities. The following list of questions can help officials assess the environmental impact of indirect activities performed by contractors:
- Does your company have a recycling program?
- Does your company have an energy-efficiency program?
- Does your company have a water-conservation program?
- Does your facility use environmentally-friendly products?
- Does the company use environmentally-preferable products to provide its services?
- Do you have a corporate green citizenship policy, such as:
- Public transit subsidy; and
- Training for your employees on corporate green initiatives?
- What other environmental initiatives have you undertaken, including:
- Environment-related certifications;
- EPA voluntary partnerships;
- Support of a green suppliers network;
- Digitized practices; and
- Other initiatives?
Sustainability as an Evaluation Factor: Agencies are encouraged to use sustainability as an evaluation factor in Requests for Quotes and Requests for Proposals. One federal agency recently included “Environmental Impact and Sustainability” as an evaluation factor in a Request for Quotes for a task order.