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GSA proposes assessing package delivery vendors on environmental and alternative fuel benchmarks

The US General Services Administration (GSA), the government’s purchasing arm, has proposed that vendors competing for a $1.5-billion government-wide contract for package delivery services beginning in 2014 (Domestic Delivery Services Generation 3, DDS3), be assessed on their ability to meet annual targets for fuel efficiency, greenhouse gas intensity and alternative fuel use as well as delivery prices.

In support of Executive Order 13514 and other applicable statutes, regulations and Executive Orders, and in recognition that harm to the environment, including from greenhouse gas pollution, has quantifiable costs and negative impacts on the economy and federal agency operations, it is the Government’s intent to reduce as far as practicable the environmental impacts of services provided under this contract. GSA shall require contractors to belong to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership, a voluntary partnership between the Federal Government and the trucking industry, to improve the environmental performance of freight and small package transport by adopting fuel- and emission-reducing strategies.

GSA will be assessing contractors on their current existing capabilities to report on environmental metrics and the result of those metrics (if available) for the most recent reporting periods. A sample of said metrics is listed below: Fleet-wide greenhouse gas intensity; Renewable fuels use; Emissions of pollutants; Fuel efficiency; Others.

The proposed GSA solicitation is for express and ground shipping of an estimated 15 million to 35 million packages annually from federal agencies over a five-year period (2014-2018). FedEx won the first such Domestic Delivery Services contract, and UPS was awarded the current DDS2 contract in 2009, which expires in September 2014. FedEx and UPS have both begun to integrate alternative fuel vehicles in their fleets.

The American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), a Washington, DC nonprofit group, commended GSA’s decision.

This new GSA contract could set an important new benchmark for government transport contracts, and GSA should be applauded for expressly recognizing that transport related pollution has quantifiable costs and negative impacts on federal agency operations. Hence, it makes sense for the government to compare the environmental performance of its current and potential business partners.

—Gregory C. Staple, ACSF CEO

A cross-industry coalition including the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Electric Drive Transportation Association supported the GSA action.

This month, ACSF also urged the Department of Defense to include environmental and fuel metrics in assessing vendors seeking a new $2.5-billion Worldwide Express delivery services contract.

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