Until now, green supply chain initiatives were largely confined to private industry. While the U.S. government offered plenty of help and encouragement—most notably through the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay transportation campaign—it mainly stayed on the sidelines.
But now the feds are planning to jump in the game and "green" their own supply chain. Leading the way is the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which manages purchasing, real estate, and other administrative functions for the federal government. In November, GSA announced the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership and Small Business Pilot, a voluntary collaboration between the federal government and its suppliers.
The program aims to promote clean energy and cut waste and pollution in the federal supply chain using greenhouse gas emissions as a yardstick. Suppliers that join the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership agree to measure and report their emissions to the government. GSA plans to use that information to develop incentives and contracting advantages for participating suppliers. The partnership includes a Small Business Pilot Program that will provide technical assistance through GSA to help small businesses measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
"The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy and purchases more than $500 billion in goods and services every year," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, at a press conference announcing the initiative. "It is our responsibility to lead by example to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and promote clean energy in our supply chain."