3 tips to test a service's environmental friendliness

The key to buying services with the environment in mind is thinking outside the service.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued a memo Oct. 5 that offered three tips for contacting officers to determine whether a service is environmentally friendly.

  • Consider the results or outcomes of the service and whether it might include materials and equipment that are green.
  • Consider the materials, equipment, buildings or items being serviced through the contract that may have an environmental impact.
  • Consider the life cycle impacts, including the manufacturing, operation and maintenance, and the overall characteristics, of the product or service.

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Technology procurements are as subject to those criteria as anything else, although the third one may be the most applicable to many IT buys. The tips are meant to help the government increase the information it has about sustainable and green products and services. OFPP wrote that acquisition officials may find it a more complex task to determine if a service is environmentally friendly than to make the same decisions about products.

In the memo, OFPP highlighted ways to support sound sustainability practices and to provide guidance on new efforts to increase the amount of information available on green products and services.

Officials are revising the Federal Acquisition Regulation to include new requirements on buying with the environment in mind, along with the current requirement to have 95 percent of all applicable new contracts include sustainability provisions.

The Federal Procurement Data System has been changed to gather more information on sustainability purchases. Officials have also updated the Product Service Code manual.

“These changes support a continued focus on promoting sustainable acquisition practices in federal agencies through acquisition planning and execution,” OFPP memo states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.


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