In response to the federal government's request for comments on draft regulations that would revise the federal procurement process to factor in sustainability in government purchasing, Ceres submitted recommendations that would help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while incentivizing zero-carbon innovation. The U.S. government is the world's largest purchaser of products and services, spending around $665 billion in 2020.
Last year, President Joe Biden called the climate crisis a challenge that would require a "whole-of-government approach, and followed up on this statement by issuing an Executive Order and sustainability plan in December 2021. It outlined targets for federal climate-focused procurements that would significantly reduce carbon emissions from large federal vendors.
In its recommendations, Ceres is calling on the government to:
Require major suppliers demonstrate a commitment to Paris climate targets, including annually disclosing GHG emissions and a science-based plan for reducing those emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
Deliver substantial reductions in the government's own GHG emissions; achieve mass commercialization of products essential to meeting Paris climate targets; and address long-standing racial and social inequities resulting from climate.
Institute a new competitive bidding process focused on high-priority, zero-carbon products to reward and incentivize technological innovations and cost reductions in these products.
Utilize federal grants and loans to reduce GHG emissions through the procurement program, with a focus on large-scale grant funding authorized by the new bipartisan infrastructure law.
"If we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we need to produce substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030. With our recommendations, the new sustainability-focused federal procurement program can help to make dramatic progress on climate change, fuel bold innovation, create new green jobs, and promote environmental justice," said Steven M. Rothstein, Managing Director of the Ceres Accelerator for Capital Sustainable Markets at Ceres. "We look forward to working with the administration, investors, companies and other stakeholders to improve the program and ensure quick and successful implementation."