There are several new areas in the GSA website sprouting up talking about how the government is going green. This was even a predominant topic in Obamas recent state of the union address. But how will all of these changes effect contracting, and what timelines are the govrnment working in?
The commercial and consumer markets have already adopted green practices, and although many laws were passed in the early nineties under George HW Bush and beyond, the government is still very behind in applying green initiatives to their procurement standards . . . And many public servants are excited to change this.
New Green Initiatives
One GSA schedule has already been effected by the governments goal for a zero carbon footprint. Two SIN’s within GSA Schedule 73 have already been changed to green-only products where the associated products are “Green” certified. The products effected by these changes were biodegradable cleaning and degreasing supplies and refrigeration equipment. These are both very good candidates for this pilot program because both are categories have been rated by very trusted green certification companies.
Did you know that there are over two hundred companies that “certify” products as green? And among those companies there are all walks of life. At the top are well established companies that strenuously test and specify products to assure that they in-fact do have a low environmental impact relative to other products in the market. On the other end are fly-by-night websites that will give a product their green seal of approval as long as your check clears.
The standards chosen by the GSA as trustworthy will obviously impact contractors if and when the products in their SIN go green-exclusive. Therefore, it is very important for contractors to seek out green products to offer. It is also important to communicate with their contracting officers the virtues of the very best green standards, because it is the contractors who really know their products and their voice must be heard well before any limitations be applied to their GSA contract.
But will the government buy green products if they are more expensive? Yes, many agencies that are involved in purchasing everything from cars and busses, to office products, to technology, are all in the works to create goals and procurement standards around the governments goal of achieving a zero carbon footprint. Building decisions are already very regulated around green solutions, and it appears that the GSA Contract holding companies with green products are going to have a very strong advantage in the near future.