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Oct 15 -- The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is considering amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to ensure that major Federal agency procurements minimize the risk of climate change. The Department of Defense (DoD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are seeking public input by December 14, 2021 on a potential FAR amendment.  
 
On May 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (E.O.) 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk (May 25, 2021, 86 FR 27967). The E.O. recognizes that the intensifying impacts of climate change present a set of growing risks to financial assets, companies, communities, and workers. The Federal Government itself is exposed to these same risks. The failure to appropriately and adequately account for these risks threatens the financial and operational effectiveness of the Federal Government and its ability to meet the needs of its citizens.

The E.O. states that the Federal Government should lead by example by appropriately prioritizing Federal investments and conducting prudent fiscal management. One critical lever is ensuring that the Federal Government manages climate-related financial risk within its own procurement activity, while also leveraging its scale as the Nation's largest spender to speed the adoption of key assessment, disclosure, and mitigation measures across the private sector. To that end, section 5(b)(ii) of the E.O. directed the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, in consultation with the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the heads of other agencies as appropriate, to consider amending the FAR to ensure that major Federal agency procurements minimize the risk of climate change, including requiring the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions to be considered in procurement decisions and, where appropriate and feasible, giving preference to bids and proposals from suppliers with a lower social cost of greenhouse gas emissions.
 
DoD, GSA, and NASA welcome general input from the public on a potential amendment to the FAR to accomplish the stated objectives. Respondents are encouraged to offer their feedback on the following questions:

(a) How can greenhouse gas emissions, including the social cost of greenhouse gases, best be qualitatively and quantitatively considered in Federal procurement decisions, both domestic and overseas? How might this vary across different sectors?

(b) What are usable and respected methodologies for measuring the greenhouse gases emissions over the lifecycle of the products procured or leased, or of the services performed?

(c) How can procurement and program officials of major Federal agency procurements better incorporate and mitigate climate-related financial risk? How else might the Federal Government consider and minimize climate-related financial risks through procurement decisions, both domestic and overseas?

(d) How would (or how does) your organization provide greenhouse gas emission data for proposals and/or contract performance?

(e) How might the Federal Government best standardize greenhouse gas emission reporting methods? How might the Government verify greenhouse gas emissions reporting?

(f) How might the Federal Government give preference to bids and proposals from suppliers, both domestic and overseas, to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or reduce the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions most effectively?

(g) How might the Government consider commitments by suppliers to reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions?

(h) What impact would consideration of the social cost of greenhouse gases in procurement decisions have on small businesses, including small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small businesses? How should the FAR Council best align this objective with efforts to ensure opportunity for small businesses?
 
Invitation for public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/15/2021-22266/federal-acquisition-regulation-minimizing-the-risk-of-climate-change-in-federal-acquisitions  
GSA Federal Acquisition Policy Division: https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/policy/acquisition-policy/office-of-acquisition-policy/governmentwide-acq-policy/federal-acquisition-policy-division

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