IonE NorthStar Initiative Head to Help Set Agenda for Federal Sustainability Push

Four-session roundtable will identify how federal government can reduce environmental impacts of operations nationwide

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Contacts:
Todd Reubold, Institute on the Environment, reub0002@umn.edu, (612) 624-6140

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/24/2010) – Timothy Smith, head of the Institute on the Environment’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, has been invited to participate in a select group advising the U.S. government on how it can improve the environmental sustainability of its purchasing.

Smith and 20 other sustainability leaders from around the country will meet with the federal General Services Administration, the government’s landlord and procurement agency, four times over the next year to recommend ways it can better incorporate sustainability principles into its procurement activities.

Just over a year ago, the Obama administration ordered federal offices and agencies to lead by example and set 2020 targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and leverage federal purchasing power to promote energy efficiency and environmentally responsible products. This roundtable of experts will provide important guidance to the GSA on implementing this order and on meeting environmental performance targets by purchasing less impactful products. The federal government is one of the largest purchasers in the nation, buying more than $300 billion of goods and services annually.

“The current green product space is a Wild West of gun-slinging marketers, consultants and product testing labs,” Smith said. “the GSA, through well thought-out procurement programs, stands to bring some much needed order to this market. The challenge will be in taming it without breaking its will.”