Transportation services include full-truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) motor freight, household and office moving, small parcel shipping, and courier services. Environmentally sustainable transportation services consume less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gases and other pollutants compared to standard services. Federal buyers have the opportunity and responsiblity to specify clean and sustainable options in contracts for transportation services. To maximize the overall sustainability of transportation services, you should coordinate transportation programs and contracts with related activities, such as the selection of goods and materials to be transported, types of packaging, and storage and staging locations. This type of service typically falls under NAICS code 492110, 484110 and 484121and Product Service Codes (PSC) R602, V115, V111, V112 and V113.
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Required Green Products
In accordance with FAR Subpart 23.1 and E.O. 13693, federal contracts for transportation services must require contractors to use or supply products covered by the following environmental programs, when applicable:
Download a suggested list of related products covered by these federal environmental programs.
Optional Green Practices
Procurement organizations, goods suppliers (shippers), and transportation companies (carriers and logistics companies) can all contribute to more sustainable transportation services. Measuring and managing the environmental impacts of transportation can also help you manage costs, because environmental impacts from transportation are often directly related to fuel consumption. Below are a few suggestions to consider when defining performance requirements and evaluation criteria related to transportation.
Include a requirement or preference for contractors to participate in the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership. SmartWay is a voluntary public-private partnership that aims to reduce the environmental impacts and costs of transportation. Transportation companies that participate in SmartWay use tools developed by EPA to monitor and share emissions data for customer use. SmartWay partners also get technical assistance to green their networks.
Ask contractors to report on the carbon emissions associated with your shipping account, either directly or through SmartWay. Many shipping companies are industry leaders in carbon accounting and reporting.
- Purchase high-quality carbon offsets to further reduce the environmental impact of your shipping. Some transportation vendors package carbon offsets with services to create “carbon-neutral” shipping options.
When contracting for transportation services, such as truckload or LTL freight transport or courier services, use SmartWay rankings to look for the most efficient providers. SmartWay ranks transportation Partners into five “Performance Levels” based on their contributions to air pollution, including greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Require SmartWay Transport partners to maintain their registered certification level and annually submit documents to demonstrate their continued participation in the SmartWay program.
Since transportation is one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, consider a program to track and manage your transportation emissions to help you meet OMB or internal performance goals. Whether your GHG management program relies on SmartWay or direct supplier reporting of emissions, include contract provisions to make sure you get the data you need from vendors.
- Look for carriers that can help increase transportation efficiency through practices like hybrid and efficient vehicles, idling reduction, intermodal shipping, load optimization, network optimization, and route optimization. These topics vary in importance depending on the kind of transportation you are buying. SmartWay provides detailed guidance to Partners on each of these topics.
Often, buying goods means indirectly (or less often, directly) buying shipping services (“inbound transportation”). When buying goods, seek to work with sellers who are SmartWay Shipper Partners. Shipper Partners have pledged to send goods via SmartWay transportation carriers, and have access to SmartWay tools to measure the emissions associated with their shipping. Ask your suppliers to report emissions associated with your inbound shipments using the SmartWay footprint tool. This can be especially useful where inbound transportation impacts are difficult to manage because shipping costs are hidden in the price of goods.
Often, buying goods means indirectly (or less often, directly) buying shipping services (“inbound transportation”). When buying goods, seek to work with sellers who are SmartWay Shipper Partners. Shipper Partners have pledged to send goods via SmartWay transportation carriers, and have access to SmartWay tools to measure the emissions associated with their shipping.
Ask your suppliers to report emissions associated with your inbound shipments using the SmartWay footprint tool. This can be especially useful where inbound transportation impacts are difficult to manage because shipping costs are hidden in the price of goods.
There are many opportunities to consider environmental criteria in your evaluation of offers. A Pass/Fail approach may be appropriate for establishing basic green product requirements or when market research shows that other sustainable practices are common in the commercial marketplace. For example, you might specify minimum recycled content requirements for all supplied packaging materials – an offeror can either meet this requirement (pass) or it cannot (fail). Similarly, if market research indicates that many of your potential offerors can meet the requirement, you might require SmartWay participation on a pass/fail basis.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to consider environmental aspects through a Best Value Tradeoff approach in lieu of, or in addition to, pass/fail criteria. By incorporating environmental criteria into your evaluation factors, you can weigh a vendor’s ability to offer desirable sustainable practices above and beyond minimum contract requirements in relation to other factors, such as price. Several potential opportunities for incorporating environmental considerations into your evaluation factors are listed below.
Technical Approach and/or Sustainability Plan – Evaluate the contractor’s technical approach and plans to implement sustainable practices. Require contractors to detail how they will reduce fuel use and emissions of pollutants (including GHGs), increase use of alternative vehicles and renewable fuels, minimize packaging waste, ensure proper disposal of waste materials, and report on their progress.
Past Performance – Evaluate how the contractor has performed similar services, including their recorded and published emissions metrics and the types of fuels, vehicles, and efficiency practices used.
Your evaluation should consider all costs that will result from the project, not just the price paid to the vendor. For instance, specifying take-back of packaging may add cost to a contract, but may save you disposal and labor costs.
Where to Buy
Federal agencies may purchase parcel shipping services through the FSSI Domestic Delivery Service program. This program includes the ability to track the environmental footprint of services, as well as discounted rates, freedom from fuel surcharges, and advanced shipping management tools.
GSA’s Freight Management Program provides agencies with standardized and cost effective freight transportation services. The program’s TransPort Integrator (TPI) makes it easy to select a SmartWay provider. After logging into TPI and creating a new shipment, SmartWay providers are designated with “***SMARTWAY” next to the carrier name in the rate-shopping page. GSA’s Center for Transportation Management became the first federal agency to achieve the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partner certification in support of sustainability.
Federal agencies may purchase a full range of transportation services under GSA Multiple Award Schedule 48. While the schedule contracts include basic terms and conditions, the ordering agency is responsible for inserting appropriate sustainability requirements and language into the solicitation. More information on ordering through GSA Multiple Award Schedules can be found here.