measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain while encouraging sustainable operations among suppliers. GSA has also been actively developing programs to assist federal agencies in making sustainable procurement decisions. As federal agencies cannot directly fund the development of sustainable procurement tools, they are particularly interested in understanding how to foster innovation and provide incentives for collaboration between developers and users of tools for sustainable purchasing throughout the supply chain. The training of procurement professionals is also a priority for these agencies.
Agencies also face challenges related to whether and how suppliers collect and provide data on the sustainability of their operations. For example, suppliers may not be collecting data on their greenhouse gas emissions or may not be willing to provide the data to agencies due to concerns about confidentiality or competition. Agencies are actively evaluating opportunities to encourage suppliers to disclose relevant data on sustainability performance. Ultimately, procurement professionals may need to access these types of data to make decisions about sustainable acquisition activities for their agencies.
To assist efforts to build sustainability considerations into the procurement process, the National Research Council appointed an ad hoc committee to organize a two-day workshop that explored ways to better incorporate sustainability considerations into procurement tools and capabilities across the public and private sectors. The workshop was designed to help participants assess the current landscape of green purchasing tools, identify emerging needs for enhanced or new tools and opportunities to develop them, identify potential barriers to progress, and explore potential solutions. Participants also considered the workforce and associated training required to realize the full benefits of these tools. Participants at the workshop included: users of sustainable procurement tools (including federal, state, and local governments and industry), experts in sustainable procurement, developers and users familiar with open data, and individuals from companies that develop and provide procurement tools and software. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges related to sustainable purchasing and to developing new procurement tools.
Presenters discussed tools currently used in sustainable procurement, such as databases for ecolabels and standards, codes, or regulations; calculators that track environmental footprints; software for traceability of materials; and life-cycle assessment (LCA) software. Some participants viewed the development of apps for smartphones and tablets as a useful emerging capability with significant potential for incorporating procurement tools and applications. Other nontechnological tools were discussed as well, such as procurement policies, frameworks, rating systems, and