April 22, 2014, marks the 44th anniversary of Earth Day. This occasion provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) an opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment to the environment.
Green purchasing is a significant part of VA’s environmental commitment; it reduces the environmental and energy impacts of purchasing and contributes to the well-being of Veterans, their families, our employees, and other stakeholders.
In celebration of Earth Day, the Office of Procurement Policy, Systems and Oversight is launching Green Purchasing News (GPN), dedicated to increasing awareness of the need to “buy green” across VA. Download the inaugural edition. Future issues of GPN, which will be published electronically on a quarterly basis, will also be posted to this page.
On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, directing Federal agencies to purchase environmentally responsible products and technologies. Green Purchasing (also known as “Sustainable Acquisition”) helps to reduce adverse impacts to the environment, conserve energy and other natural resources, improve public health and safety, and create new markets and jobs. By procuring both environmentally responsible and energy-efficient products, the VA is a leader in Green initiatives.
The VA promotes the Federal Green Purchasing Program through the acquisition of (access each of the categories for program and purchasing information):
Requirements for Federal agencies to purchase products and services with positive environmental and energy attributes are codified by FAR Part 23. Purchasing “green” products helps reduce our impact on the environment in benefit of our Nation’s Veterans.
The GPC is a compilation of the products for which the EPA, DOE, and USDA have provided environmental or energy attribute recommendations. This comprehensive, web-based interactive tool, a part of the General Services Administration’s Sustainable Facilities Tool website, consolidates and organizes information from these federal green purchasing programs in one place, and helps Federal purchasers to:
Overarching VA green purchasing policy and guidance are found in VA Directive and Handbook 0058, VA Green Purchasing Program, dated July 19, 2013. For more information, access the VA Green Purchasing webpage.
FedCenter.gov is the Federal Government’s home for comprehensive environmental stewardship and compliance assistance. FedCenter’s “Acquisition” program area includes links to environmental and energy programs which enable agencies to meet their green purchasing goals; regulations, guidance, and policy; supporting information and tools; and training.
Specific guidance and training also are available from the Environmental Program agencies:
The United States Department of Agriculture provides training and tools for Federal and Federal Contractor Personnel on the Biopreferred Program.
DOE provides resources and publications for FEMP.
EPA provides information, resources, and tools on Energy Star, Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) for recycled content items, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), and the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program for non-ozone depleting substances.
EPA recently updated its Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) portal page, which:
Acquisition Planning is the time to discuss the potential for the inclusion of green language. In order to be compliant with Executive Order 13514, contracts must have both applicable green product Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clauses and requirements for green products and services written into the requirements documents (download a table of Green FAR Clauses and Provisions). While you may not know whether or not a contract has green potential, you can at least start the dialogue with your customer.