Remarks by GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini at SPLC’s 2014 Summit

Here is a transcript of Administrator Tangherlini’s remarks for SPLC’s 2014 Summit on May 21st 2014:

“Hi everyone. I am sorry I can’t be there with you today. However, I appreciate that we have this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work and let you know how committed GSA is to sustainability.

Sustainability is more than a goal for us. It is one of our agency’s guiding priorities. As the landlord of the federal government we have a responsibility to ensure that our buildings—which are located throughout the country—are operated as efficiently and effectively as possible. Sustainable building standards have increased the performance of GSA buildings and helped us avoid over $380 million in energy and water bills since 2008.

We are also the acquisition agency for the federal government. Today, GSA’s estimated business volume is $65 billion. With that level of procurement management failure to incorporate sustainability into our business model would leave significant savings for the government and the taxpayer on the table at a time when neither can afford it.

That is why GSA has joined the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council to help define what leadership in sustainable purchasing means. Recently, SPLC recently unveiled five principles of sustainable purchasing. And I am happy to report that GSA is already applying each one of them.

First, we are working to understand the impact of our purchasing by analyzing in detail how our largest spending categories effect the environment.

Second, we’re committed to sustainability as an organization. The federal government virtually created the market for recycled office paper 30 years ago. And we have been leading the way ever since in areas like green electrics and alternative fueled cars and trucks.

The third principle is results. We are proud what we have done to support sustainability throughout the country. We are continuing to see great results. Just a few weeks ago, GSA awarded our first ever government-wide contract that considered the carbon footprint as part of our decision making process. Our acquisition of our services and products creates a carbon footprint that is nine times that of our buildings and fleet put together. This is much overdue advancement in our procurement policy and it’s going to make a real positive impact on our environment.

We know we can’t do that everywhere yet. That brings me to the fourth principle which is innovation. We are working with many of our partners to understand the exact carbon footprint of services we buy from them. We know that these emissions are not free. We are paying for them in hidden cost. But that doesn’t make them any less real. Being able to understand and manage these costs is an important step forward.

Finally, fifth is transparency. This is a principle which is very important to us at GSA. Spending the tax dollars of the American people is a responsibility that we don’t take lightly. We work tirelessly to ensure that the country can see how we are spending their money. With tools such as USASpending.Gov we put every federal contract award on line including our greenhouse gas inventories for the public to see and analyze.

Through these principles GSA is helping to define sustainable purchasing. We have made much some important progress. But there is still a great deal of work to be done. Which is why we are fortunate to have groups such as this to help us take those next steps. Once again, thanks to SPLC for their leadership in this effort and to all of you for joining it. Working together we know that we can create a more sustainable government.”

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