If you want a federal contract, be prepared to go green. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) is planning to require all federal agencies to give priority to providers of green products and services. The proposed policy is part of a number of new federal regulations and green standards. Green compliance is becoming an increasingly important issue – and a potential competitive advantage – for federal government contractors.
The OFPP’s proposed policy letter, Acquisition of Green Products and Services, implements the green procurement requirements set forth in Executive Order 13423, issued in January 2007. Agencies would be required to conduct their activities in an environmentally efficient and sustainable manner. The policy letter expands upon and replaces OFPP Policy Letter 92-4, Procurement of Environmentally Sound and Energy Efficient Products and Services, issued in November 1992. The proposed policy also follows recent changes to the federal procurement rules regarding the purchase of items containing recovered materials and biobased content and requiring use of the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (“EPEAT”) when acquiring personal computer products.
Who Will Be Affected?
The new policy has the potential to affect every federal government contractor and subcontractor. The policy letter is currently in draft form and has an extremely broad scope, applying to all executive agencies. Agencies must incorporate these requirements into all future contracts and are encouraged to include them in existing contracts as they are modified or extended.
Agencies are expected to comply with the policy letter’s guidance requirements when entering into contracts for goods and services. Some noteworthy provisions under the proposed policy letter include:
When the Policy Becomes Effective
The proposed policy letter was issued for comment on December 28, 2007. The policy’s impact on agencies and government contractors will depend on the OFPP’s final letter due for publication this year and implementation of the policy by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Councils and agencies. Of particular importance will be how broadly the OFPP, FAR Councils and agencies define “green products and services.” Currently, the letter and Executive Order 13423 cite examples of these products and services, but neither defines the term. It will be important for contractors to stay abreast of changes to the federal procurements rules implementing the final policy and understand how those changes will impact them. For those contractors who fully understand and position themselves, the new policy provides a substantial means to gain competitive advantage in securing new federal government contracts.