Greening Government Procurement: the US and UK views -or- the Carrot versus the Stick

By David Bicknell

I was interested in the Energy Collective blog, which contrasted the Coalition encouragement for  green government spending methods with those operated by the US General Services Administration under a new plan, the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership.

The piece points out that whereas the U.S. GSA approach on the surface appears collaborative and designed to create a robust procurement process, the downside is that progress is likely to be slow. i.e. the “carrot” approach.   

In contrast, the U.K. approach applies more of the “stick”.  In both cases, transparency and collaboration are keys to success.  The blog suggests that the GSA approach is somewhat unnecessary and does little more than slow down the inevitable.  The GSA wants  to “design an incentive-based approach to developing contracting advantages”. The implication then is, ‘OK, do it, just like the British government did.’ 

The blog goes on, ‘Perhaps the U.K has been at this a while longer, though I doubt it.  Greening of the U.S. government has been in slow motion (almost glacial) progress since President Clinton signed Executive Order 13123 in 1999.  As I recently said, private industry needs to stop procrastinating on green supply chain management or risk losing customers.  Why delay the inevitable so you can get it just right.  Perhaps my message to the GSA and U.S. policy makers is to also stop procrastinating and (as they say in Texas) “git ‘er done”.’

 Or as they say in Whitehall, “These are the rules. Follow them.”

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