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Going Green: What Procurement Officers Should Look for in the World of Cleantech

Climate change is a topic that’s on everyone’s mind. Even big automakers are committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The U.S. has also rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, indicating that (at least for now) the government is focused on limiting global warming, reducing consumption of limited natural resources, and increasing the use of renewable energy. If you’re in government procurement, this is an indicator that you’ll likely be looking at products and vendors that align with this goal. 

What is cleantech?
One of the main areas that procurement officers can expect to start acquiring as the government goes more and more green is cleantech. Cleantech (short for clean technology) is any product or service that provides sustainable use of resources, facilitates energy efficiency, and protects the environment by reducing harmful impacts. Cleantech can also help eliminate waste and improve energy production. As an example, one piece of cleantech that is familiar to most is the solar panel. However, there’s a slew of other products and services that would qualify as cleantech.

What to look for in cleantech procurement?
If you haven’t made environmental RFPs before, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Gets the job done – At the end of the day, you still need the product or service to successfully complete the task. Make sure that your cleantech solution performs the same or better than what you would regularly purchase.

Meets standards – Any cleantech product or service will be expected to meet all government standards. That means companies will need to have appropriate certifications, follow all safety guidelines and submit a bid just like all other companies.

Provides measurable benefits – As can be true with any emerging industry, there will be some players that are doing cleantech well, and some that are just jumping on the bandwagon. Confirm that any product or service you select will offer measurable benefits in either reducing consumption of natural resources, increasing available renewable energies, or significantly reducing waste. 

It’s innovative – The last thing you want to do is invest in technology that’s about to be obsolete. Confirm that the solution you’ve selected is innovative and up to date. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the newest, most cutting-edge option, but it shouldn’t be on its way out the door either.

Government goes green
The government can have a huge impact on what technologies get adopted. More environmental RFPs are popping up around procurement, so it’s likely that you’ll start to see more cleantech products showing up in bids. As more government money starts flowing into cleantech, more innovation will take place. With the government taking an interest, cleantech solutions will also likely become a place for grants and other investments. Procurement agents can play a role in this exciting new trend in government procurement by looking for cleantech solutions that will provide the biggest impact.  

Have you invested in cleantech for your government agency? What are your tips for looking for the best option?