The General Services Administration has recommended that federal agencies begin collecting greenhouse gas emissions data from their suppliers. This would be on a voluntary basis, at least at first. Eventually, however, agencies could give purchasing preferences to companies with low greenhouse gas emissions.
GSA's report was in response to an executive order issued in 2009 by President Barack Obama, which directed agencies to make reductions of greenhouse gas emissions a priority. Besides making cuts in their own emissions, agencies also can encourage their suppliers to reduce their emissions.
Suppliers that do so "can gain a competitive advantage not only with their federal customers, but also with their commercial customers and the public, who are increasingly seeker 'greener' companies when making procurement decisions," GSA's report concluded.
The report acknowledged that small businesses may not have the resources to have their greenhouse gas emissions verified by third parties. The government can ease this burden by phasing in any greenhouse gas emissions reporting program and allowing small firms to use streamlined reporting tools, the report stated.
Meanwhile, Obama asked federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from indirect sources such as employee travel and commuting by 13 percent by 2020. This builds on an earlier directive for agencies to reduce their emissions from direct sources.