July 18, 2012
Washington, DC

If Sustainability Costs You More, You’re Doing it Wrong

How Sustainable Value Chain Management Can Balance Budgets, Improve Mission Effectiveness, & Save the Planet

Two top trends coming together for the benefit of both

These days you can’t get through an entire day without hearing references to

  • The urgent need for government at all levels to close increasingly large budget gaps
  • The urgent need for organizations of all stripes to engage in more sustainable practices
  • The latest celebrity bafoonery or illicit activity (but that’s a topic for another day)

In fact, the White House Council on Environmental Quality just launched a Sustainable Supply Chain Community of Practice on March 30th to encourage greater transparency and the sharing of sustainable supply chain best practices.  At the same time, as the Partnership for Public Service points out in its Making Smart Cuts report, “Billions of dollars in cuts to programs have already been agreed to” across a wide variety of programs and services, and “ … cuts — some across the board, some surgical, some potentially deep and indiscriminate — will affect virtually every agency.” The report goes on to outline and illuminate invaluable strategies, and a series of supporting tactics, for government leaders to employ in their efforts to meet budget cut demands.  Sustainability should be in the toolkit of every agency and contractor.

Sustainability: a tested and proven tool

The CROA ResponsibilityWorks Roundtable can demonstrate that sustainable practices, both within an organization and along its value chain, are tested and proven tools in the budget cutting battle.  This isn’t about sustainability for sustainability’s sake – doing good because it makes us feel good. This is about engaging in sustainable practices that bothreduce costs and result in environmental and societal benefits.

The examples are many and applicable across the board:

Consolidating resources.  The US Department of Energy consolidated multiple servers to minimize energy use and reduce office and operating costs.

  • Using new technologies and practices to reduce resource use and related cost.  Many state governments have introduced the use of stored-value cards for child and family support, reducing or eliminating spending on printing, mailing, reconciling, and fighting program fraud and abuse, while simultaneously improving service to beneficiaries.
  • Reengineering work processes.  The US Patent and Trademark Office avoided over $20 million in real estate costs alone through aggressive implementation of its telework program, not to mention the benefits gained by the program in recruiting and retaining highly sought-after scientists, engineers, and attorneys.
  • Engaging alternative power sources. The US Army is exploring options for rechargeable batteries that use solar power, a vehicle battery or even residual power from an old battery; effective rechargeable options would dramatically reduce the cost and waste of disposable batteries at the same time that they lighten the load each service person has to carry, improving their battle effectiveness and decreasing physical harm.

These are only four among hundreds of ways in which government agencies of all sizes and types are currently employing sustainable practices to reduce cost … and become more sustainable at the same time.

How You Can Participate & Lead

Three ways to participate in this program and help lead it:

  • Click here to participate in the Sustainable Value Chain Study.
  • Request an invitation to the Invitation-only Sustainable Value Chain Leadership Roundtable
  • Click here to join us at the COMMIT!Forum for a set of dedicated discussions on this topic.

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