Why Biden's climate initiatives must be tracked
President Biden’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions was announced Thursday (today) and it sets a lofty goal of halving emissions by 2030.
Many of the proposals will target manufacturing processes and power generation and distribution. Impacts on government contractors will likely be indirect, but could still be significant.
Some possibilities based on executive orders and other statements and documents:
Contract requirements: It should not come as a surprise if agencies don’t start asking about the carbon footprint of your solutions. This could include items such as the supply chain, power consumption, operating procedures, etc. They also might want to know about your own corporate footprint.
Data, Data, Data: Agency will likely need to capture, record and track their own carbon footprint. This will mean taking an inventory of just about everything and establishing its impact. They are going to want to know where their energy is coming from in addition to consumption.
Then they want to monitor and track their footprint going forward so they can understand whether carbon saving measures do what they are supposed to do. To do this, they will need data and that means sensors, analytics, dashboards and other related tools. Contractors will have to build all that.
Buying Power: The federal government is the largest consumer of goods and services in the world. A recent report by Wolf Den Associates pegs spending at more than $550 billion. The General Services Administration has pushed its Category Management” and “Best in Class” contract programs as a way of getting better prices. The same power could be harnessed to get greener products and solutions.
Now for some other items to watch and act on.
The National Climate Task Force, which Biden created in a Jan. 27 executive order. The task force is comprised of every cabinet level agency and most independent agencies as well as a variety of councils and offices. Their charge is to foster a government-wide approach to combatting climate change. The order specifically talks about procurement and contracting as tools to push climate change actions as well as leveraging the government’s buying power.
Your customers. Probably the most obvious one, but always worth a reminder. One of the great things from a business development perspective of a change in administrations is that you have a ready-made opening for having substantive conversations with your customers. The executive orders should be your blueprint for evaluating your customer needs and opportunities even before you get on a zoom call with them.
What are you doing? Your customer is going to ask and you need to be able to answer that question with specifics. What are you carbon goals? How did you determine them? What was hard? What was easy? What’s next? You have to be your own customer zero, otherwise why should they trust or believe you?
The infrastructure bill. Congress might not pass the exact bill that the Biden administration proposed, but there is a real opportunity for something to get passed. Though it could still fall flat on its face. Best to keep an eye on it just in case. What happens with the bill and the dollars attached to it will tell us a lot about how quickly this opportunity grows.
Today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday), Biden is meeting with world leaders to discuss climate change as part of an Earth Day summit. I wouldn’t expect much specifics that impact contractors. This is largely about policy and politics and rebuilding U.S. leadership.
It’s what comes next that you need to be ready for. There might be some pain, but the opportunities will be there. Just watch and see.
Happy 51st Earth Day.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 22, 2021 at 9:19 AM