GSA has millions of dollars in contracts for small businesses
The Government Services Administration (GSA) is the federal agency solely responsible for supplying federal purchasers with high-quality products and services with incredible purchasing power. Between 2009-2010 the GSA engaged in over $9 billion worth of transactions throughout the country. Some of the contracted products and services included providing green retrofits to federal buildings and land ports, along with purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles. These purchases were made from over 500 companies, of which, a significant number were small businesses.
Because of its expansive annual budget and its newfound focus on sustainable operations the GSA has become one of the nations’ largest purchasers of green products and services. President Barack Obama’s Executive Order (EO) 13514 facilitated the GSA’s green growth. Signed in 2010, EO 13514 challenges federal agencies to become performance leaders and to establish an “integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority…”. On the importance of EO 13514 and the federal government’s adoption of green practices, President Obama stated,
“As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies” (Full release found here).
The GSA responded to the President’s call by releasing its Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, which calls for significant changes in GSA operations and facilities management. The plan outlines the GSA’s long-term goal of a 30% reduction of carbon emissions by 2020 and pledges its desire to have a zero environmental footprint. To facilitate these efforts the GSA has also weaved sustainable protocols into its business transactions.
How GSA Helps Small Businesses
Making the leap from private/private to private/public business relationships can be challenging. The GSA has created the Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) to help small business owners navigate the hurdles they may face while developing private/public relationships. Each of the GSA’s 11 regional offices has a small business representative who assists small businesses in contracting their products and services to federal agencies. Regional offices also coordinate comprehensive training, webinars, and counseling sessions for small business owners interested in developing business relations with the GSA.
Each fiscal year, the GSA designates a portion of its budget for the purchase of goods and services from small businesses. Though their funds have decreased since 2009 when its small business budget was $7.4 billion, the GSA remains dedicated to partnering with small companies. This year’s $1.8 billion dollar small business budget will be dispensed to companies that fit into five (5) categories: Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Women Owned, Service Disabled Veteran Owned, and Certified HUBZone Business. An annual list of the agency’s conduct business transactions is available on the agency’s Small Business Dashboard. For the 2011 fiscal year the top five (5) products/services provided to the GSA were:
Since the unveiling of EO 13514 in 2010, the GSA has increased its business engagements with construction companies and architectural firms. The increase in these services is a result of the GSA’s dedication to the reduction of its carbon emissions by 30%. In doing such, the GSA has retrofitted many of its buildings to meet LEED and EPA Energy Star standards. In addition, new GSA buildings are constructed to LEED standards. Although the GSA does not specify how it determines what companies qualify as small businesses, the agency engages in a number of small and large transactions. In 2012 alone, the GSA has made over eighty-three thousand transactions with small businesses – some as small as $43 dollars and others as large as $24 million dollars. Considering the magnitude of these figures, small businesses, particularly those in construction and green janitorial services, should actively seek to develop private/public partnerships with this agency.
To encourage employees of its regional offices to purchase sustainable products and services, the GSA has developed a Green Purchasing Plan (GPP) along with two easy to use purchasing websites. GSA Advantage!™ sells a variety of green products for offices, as well as, vehicle and building maintenance services. GSA AutoChoice is a useful resource for agencies seeking advice on purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles. Federal agencies can also purchase vehicles through this site.
Due to the implementation and encouragement of sustainable protocols and practices within the federal supply chain along with online and regional tools for promoting small businesses, the GSA has increased its potential to become a nationwide leader in sustainable supply chains. Visit the GSA website to gain more information of the current and future operations of the GSA and to contact a regional office near you.
GSA Purchasing Needs
Construction & Architectural Services / Office Supplies / Facilities Management Services / Transportation Services
EPA Energy Star – In 2012, 24 GSA buildings have earned the Energy Star Label. In total, the GSA gas 149 Energy Star approved buildings. These building use an average of 35 percent less energy than average buildings.
LEED – A number of the buildings owned and leased by the GSA are LEED Certified, LEED Silver, and LEED Gold. As of 2010 the GSA required that all new federal buildings and building renovations meet LEED Gold Certification standards.
Data.gov – This website provides statistical and other data on every department within the government. It also provides data on the GSA.
GreenGov – A website hosted by the White House that encourages, highlights, and facilitates green practices and innovation within federal government.
Green Products Compilation – An extensive list of green products available for purchase through the GSA Advantage and other sites. (Cleaning Products, Building Interiors, Building Construction, Lube Oil/Hydraulic Fluid/Grease, Paper Office Products, Personal Care, etc.)
GSA Advantage!™ – GSA Advantage is an online buying site offering by GSA through which federal agencies and businesses may purchase green products for building and office spaces.
GSA Auctions – GSA Auctions is an online site that resells federal property to citizens, businesses, and other interested parties. Bidders can purchase anything from office furniture/supplies, automobiles, tools, planes, and medical supplies. Following the dismantling of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), GSA Auctions has been commissioned to auction off NASA products throughout the remained of 2012.
GSA AutoChoice – This is the government’s online vehicle purchasing tool.
Sustainable Facilities Tool – The SFT is an innovative and interactive database designed by the GSA to assist offices and businesses in building sustainable practices.