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What is Green Acquisition?

I'm interested to learn YOUR definition of green acquisition. To put the conversation into context, I work for a small, professional services firm that provides CMa (Construction Manager as agent) services for GSA. We don't design or build anything, but we're GSA's eyes and ears on a construction site. We ensure that buildings are built the way GSA expects, and mitigating risk to the Government.

To me, you'd first need to define whether you're talking about a company BEING green or OFFERING green services. These are distinct, in my opinion. In my case, we're trying to operate our business more sustainably and we work on green/LEED/sustainable/high performance buildings, but we don't really have any unique green service offerings.

Once you've settled on your definition of green, the next question is how will GSA acknowledge that. Is it a Yes/No checkbox or a third-party-certified audit of you carbon footprint? Depending on the criteria GSA will be using is going to determine how much effort I put into this. If it's just a statement (akin to an Equal Opportunity affirmation), then how much do you really know about someone's sustainability practices? If it's more comprehensive, how much will it cost the average small business (who's already struggling) to "get certified".

This discussion may be too much for one thread, but it's a starting point...

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<p>Nice to make your acquaintance, Dana!</p><p>To me, the term &ldquo;green services&rdquo; could mean two different things.</p><p>First example would be a firm that PROVIDES green services like alternative energy, environmental remediation, disaster cleanup, sustainable demolition, waste auditing, etc.</p><p>The second &ldquo;green services&rdquo; firm could be someone who OPERATES sustainably. My firm, for example, is a construction consulting firm (we don&rsquo;t build anything). We&rsquo;re participating in the Climate Leaders program and looking for ways to &ldquo;green&rdquo; our day-to-day business practices. I&rsquo;m pleased to say that the thousands of pages of construction plans that used to cross our threshold are a thing of the past, as we&rsquo;ve gone to fully electronic document analysis. Our output product (typically a cost estimate or written report) has also gone green (via email), and our binding machine is gathering dust in a storage closet.</p><p>While we&rsquo;re continuing to look for ways to make our operations more sustainable, sometimes it&rsquo;s a little discouraging when our clients request multiple, hard copies of our 100-page proposals. Consider the impact of printing all those pages, packing them in a cardboard box that will eventually be trashed, putting them on a diesel FedEx truck, onto a cross-country jet, and back onto another truck!</p>
darnold (not verified)
<p>First, I&#39;d like to introduce myself to everyone.&nbsp; I am the new Director of the Program Analysis Division within the Office of Acquisition Management in FAS.&nbsp; I joined GSA last September.&nbsp; I came from the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, where I was Chief f Staff and the Program Manager for the green purchasing area.&nbsp; I&#39;ve worked in Federal green purchasing programs for more than 25 years.</p><p>The current status of the Federal green purchasing program is that it is oriented toward purchasing of products.&nbsp;There are multiple components to the program, created by several statutes and executive orders.&nbsp; These program components are primarily focused on creating markets for specific types of products with single attributes&nbsp;(recycled content, energy efficient, biobased) or multiple attributes (EPEAT-registered, green cleaning products, etc).&nbsp; When we look at services, we are focusing on services contracts under which these designated green products will be supplied or used.&nbsp; At this time, we are not looking at other types of services contracts.</p><p>There is no Federal definition of &quot;green services.&quot;&nbsp; There currently is no third party standard either.&nbsp; However, one is under development by NSF International, and GSA is participating as subject matter experts.</p><p>That is not to say that we are buying environmental and energy services.&nbsp; We are, lots, and I&#39;ve recommended that for now, you continue to say that your companies offer environmental and/or energy services.</p><p>I am very interested in learning from you what you think the attributes of &quot;green services&quot; should be.&nbsp; To me, coming from an EPA and OFEE background, at a minimum, a green services contract should have waste prevention attributes (e.g., only electronic deliverables) and where a paper deliverable is necessary, it should be printed and copied double-sided on 30% postconsumer recycled content paper.&nbsp;&nbsp;But what else makes&nbsp;services &quot;green&quot;?</p>
Skip Derick
<div class="comment-content" sizcache="0" sizset="186"><h3 class="title" sizcache="0" sizset="186"></h3><div class="content"><p>To all: Please see the below clause found in a new RFQ that was posted on 3-21-11. This seems to be a reasonable way of handling Green (sustainability) for basic services.</p><p><strong>15. BUYING GREEN PROCUREMENT </strong></p><p>Affirmative Procurement (also known as &ldquo;Green Procurement&rdquo; and &ldquo;Buying Green&rdquo;) is the Government program that promotes the purchase of environmentally preferable products. In order to conform to the mandates of the Affirmative Procurement program, the contractor must adhere to the following in the purchase and use of its own office supplies for the performance of the services required under this effort as indicated below:</p><p><strong>Recycled Copy Paper/On-site at </strong>DLA Distribution: The contractor shall utilize only the Government furnished, recycled paper on site at DLA Distribution Headquarters, New Cumberland, PA, for all operations related to the tasks outlined in the PWS for this project.</p><p><strong>Recycled Copy Paper/Off-site: </strong>The contractor shall utilize 30% recycled copy/printer paper for use with its laptops for work performed off-site in conjunction with the tasks outlined in this PWS. This requirement does not apply to functions conducted in its home office and deemed management requirements. 5</p><p><strong>Replacement Cartridges: </strong>The Government will provide all replacement toner cartridges for the equipment that the Government shall be providing. The Contractor is required to ensure that recycling of these toners takes place while performing on this contract, especially since the Government will be providing the means to do so.</p><p>Have a great day - Skip Derick</p><p>NOTE: I placed this in the wrong area earlier.</p></div></div>
Skip Derick
<p>The original post by Garrett&nbsp;contained&nbsp;very good points. My view of &quot;Green Services&quot; is that there is a high probability that an&nbsp;all-encompassing definition will not be found. Defining a green service will most likely be dependent on the specific subject matter (functionality) of the service - &quot;greening&quot; of training is different than &quot;greening&quot; of Trash Removal. As Garrett started to point out in&nbsp;his original post, the predominate characterizations of a &quot;Green&quot; Contractor to date seem to be that the Contractor is green because a green service is provided or the contractor is green because the contractor is measuring&nbsp;the Carbon Footprint and voluntarially registering the foot print with an existing registry or the contractor has a sustainability plan in place and it is being implemented.</p><p>As a side bar, I believe that one of the most important facets of&nbsp;GSA&#39;s (or government&#39;s in total)&nbsp;implementaion of sustaiability is to &quot;Get the Definitions Right&quot; up front. Garrett talks about small businesses, large businesses have issues with definitions also. One basic definition that needs to be explicit up front is defining what is meant by a contractor. Large companies (Corporations) are structured under the umbrella of a&nbsp;Corporate name but may be made up of a number of sectors (smaller companies)&nbsp;with different names. When a Sector bids on a contract, and sustainability is part of an evaluation criteria, considerations need to be addressed to determine if the government wants a Corporate sustainability plan or a Sector sustainability plan etc.</p>
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