On December 8, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14057 (“Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability”), the Administration’s latest – and most significant – effort to promote cleaner and more sustainable federal procurement. At the heart of the new Order is the Administration’s goal to meet a net-zero emissions target across the federal government by 2050. To do so, the Administration promises to “transform federal procurement and operations” and to leverage the government’s portfolio of “300,000 buildings, fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks, and annual purchasing power of $650 billion [in] goods and services” to facilitate increased adoption of green technology. The new Executive Order will require further agency action to pursue and execute on these objectives, but once implemented, it appears poised to usher in a new – and greener – era of federal contracting.
In order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Executive Order and an accompanying “Federal Sustainability Plan” set four primary goals:
- Power: 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity on a net annual basis by 2030;
- Vehicles: 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027;
- Buildings: A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032; and
- Materials: Net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, including a Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions.
This blog post consists of three parts: (1) a summary of each of the four major goals referenced above; (2) a description of the Executive Order’s procedures for implementation, together with the exceptions to its coverage; and (3) concluding thoughts about key takeaways of this Executive Order for the contracting community and potential new entrants into the federal marketplace.