Under the heading Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, President Obama this week issued an Executive Order requiring the US Federal Government to begin implementing a climate change mitigation program for its own activities. Among the requirements are that executive departments and agencies shall:
- increase efficiency and improve their environmental performance. Improved environmental performance will help us protect our planet for future generations and save taxpayer dollars through avoided energy costs and increased efficiency, while also making Federal facilities more resilient. To improve environmental performance and Federal sustainability, priority should first be placed on reducing energy use and cost, then on finding renewable or alternative energy solutions. Pursuing clean sources of energy will improve energy and water security, while ensuring that Federal facilities will continue to meet mission requirements and lead by example. Employing this strategy for the next decade calls for expanded and updated Federal environmental performance goals with a clear overarching objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across Federal operations and the Federal supply chain. Under the order the head of each department and agency is required to:
- within 90 days of the date of this order, propose to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget percentage reduction targets for agency-wide reductions of scope 1 and 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by the end of fiscal year 2025 relative to a fiscal year 2008 baseline.
- where life-cycle cost-effective, beginning in fiscal year 2016, unless otherwise specified promote building energy conservation, efficiency, and management.
- promote sustainable acquisition and procurement by ensuring that specified environmental performance and sustainability factors are included to the maximum extent practicable for all applicable procurements in the planning, award, and execution phases of the acquisition. This includes recycled content products, energy and water efficient products and services, BioPreferred and biobased products, and environmentally preferable products and services.
- for the seven largest Federal procuring agencies, submit for consideration plans to implement at least five new procurements annually in which the agency may include, as appropriate, contract requirements for vendors or evaluation criteria that consider contractor emissions and greenhouse gas emissions management practices.
The 11 page highly detailed order includes many more requirements and specific numerical targets in each area. It is essential reading for Canadian companies doing, or seeking to do, business with the US government. While the actual greenhouse gas reductions that will be achieved by the order are quite small, in the case of most departments and agencies, the leadership that it provides, as well as the compliance that will result from the multitude of US companies doing business with the government, is likely to be substantial.
The full order can be read and copied from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/19/executive-order-planning-federal-sustainability-next-decade