The General Services Administration (GSA) just released the request for proposals (RFP) for the $50 billion Alliant 2 government wide acquisition contract (GWAC) for information technology (IT) services. The Alliant 2 GWAC has been in the news as the future of government IT contracting because of its evaluation process and flexibility to provide leading edge technology solutions.
An innovative requirement for the unrestricted contract that hasn’t made the headlines or many bidders radar is Section G.25. This section requires the awardees to publish a “Sustainable Practices and Impacts Disclosure” or SPID within 12 months of award of the master contract and annually thereafter for the life of the contract.
In my experience and research, most federal contracting firms do not have sustainability programs, apart from some of the largest companies. And, as indicated by CEQ’s 2015 Federal Supplier Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Management Scorecard, even the majority of the largest federal contracting companies do not have greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals.
GSA and other agencies are giving the contracting community time to build-out their sustainability programs. For example, the Alliant 2 contract doesn’t require its contractors to have a complete Scope 1 and 2 GHG inventory until 12 months after the first SPID. GSA provides another 12 months before the contractors must set and report on their GHG reduction targets. GSA is encouraging, but not requiring Scope 3 GHG reporting. GSA will evaluate compliance for these disclosure requirements via the Contractor Performance Assessment Rating Systems (CPARS) annual review.
These contract mandates mark a big change in the federal market. The feds have been following the lead of large commercial retailers and manufacturers to reduce costs and environmental impacts from their own operations for almost a decade. Now, like Walmart and Nike, the federal government is also working to green its supply chain.
In all likelihood this represents the future of federal contracting for most large and mid-sized firms. Even for many small businesses. As Kevin Kampschroer, GSA’s Chief Sustainability Officer, recently noted, “By disclosing [GHG and other sustainability impacts], GSA’s private sector partners can prepare themselves to do business with us in the future, as the agency continues to incorporate carbon disclosure goals and performance criteria into specific contracts.”
For those who think these supply chain greening efforts will only impact firms that support civilian agencies, think again. The DoD, Air Force, and Army have been the three biggest buyers on the Alliant 1 GWAC. In addition, here are three other recent indicators to illustrate the scope of this trend.
To all future Alliant 2 winners, do not underestimate the time it takes to build a sustainability program robust enough to have GHG reporting and reduction goals. As a significant co-benefit to contractual compliance, however, you’re likely to realize cost savings from reduced energy use. It’s never too soon to start planning (and saving).
Hi. I'm Colleen, Corporate Sustainability Advisor's founder and owner. Blogging about corporate sustainability trends, benefits, and best practices.