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Vermont Governor Signs Order Giving Preference To Climate Aware Businesses

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed an executive order today that will give preference when awarding state contracts to businesses working to fight climate change.
Highlighting a goal for Vermont set in 2011 to reach 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 and its participation in the Under2Mou, a global effort to limit the increase in the world’s average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, Governor Shumlin said the state can use its purchasing power to encourage businesses to adopt climate conscious practices.   “The state of Vermont awards hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts every single year. Today I'm signing an executive order to give preference to contracting with companies who are helping us to fight climate change. By using our significant purchasing power to reward climate conscious businesses we’ll help promote those efforts and encourage other businesses to adopt similar practices.”

The Secretary of Administration will be responsible to work with the Governor’s Climate Cabinet to set the threshold for bidding policies.  Justin Johnson says the state issues nearly $500 million in contracts annually.  “Over the next few weeks I will work with the Climate Cabinet, which the governor set up at the very beginning of his first term, to come up with the parameters that we will use and where we have businesses that have similar bids or come to score very similarly we will then use these parameters as like the tie breaker and give preference to companies that are doing more than perhaps other companies to improve their climate performance.”

The governor signed the order in front of Small Dog Electronics, an Apple computer business that launched a statewide e-waste initiative years ago.  
Governor Shumlin:  “Here we go.  Done. Signed, sealed, delivered. Executive order is in place.”

Small Dog Electronics CEO Don Mayer:  “All across Vermont there are hundreds of businesses that see protecting our planet, protecting the environment, as an essential part of how they measure success. Businesses must lead the fight for climate change and reducing the carbon footprint is an important part of our mission.”

UVM Professor of Ecological Economics Jon Erickson says state government policies such as the governor’s executive order often drive business practices.  “Government as a purchaser can really be the first big change in a marketplace and then everyone else jumps on board. When government said you know what we're going to start purchasing recycled paper that created a market for recycled paper. Today we take it for granted that you can go to the store and buy recycled paper. The government has a big budget that can nudge the system in that direction. That's huge. That's huge. So what seems like a really small step we're going to see years down the road tracing back to this moment that this drove innovation.”

The executive order will remain in effect unless a future governor repeals it. Shumlin, a Democrat, is not seeking another term.


[Climate Change Considerations in State Procurements]  
WHEREAS, climate change is the most urgent environmental issue of our time;

WHEREAS, cultivating a “green economy” in Vermont has led to the creation of over 1,400 new clean energy jobs in the past year and Vermont now has the highest number of per capita clean energy jobs of any U.S. state;

WHEREAS, the State has the duty to lead by example and encourage companies to promote and utilize best practices that are consistent with our efforts to reduce emissions and move to clean energy in Vermont;

WHEREAS, the legislature has expressed a strong policy in support of combatting climate change by: (a) setting goals of producing 25 percent of energy consumed in Vermont through the use of renewable energy sources by 2025, 10 V.S.A. § 580(a), and of reducing by 75 percent greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont from the 1990 levels by 2050, 10 V.S.A. § 578(a); and (b) adopting an innovative renewable energy standard with Act 56 of 2015 that sets utility renewable targets and implements solutions to address carbon emissions from the transportation and heating sectors, which account for more than two-thirds of Vermont’s carbon emissions;

WHEREAS, Vermont’s 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for a reduction in per capita energy use of 15 percent by 2025, and calls for 90 percent renewables by 2050; and

WHEREAS, Vermont can encourage additional action on climate change through the state procurement process.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Peter Shumlin, by virtue of the authority vested in me as the Governor of the State of Vermont, do hereby order and direct the Secretary of Administration, in consultation with the Climate Cabinet, to include processes in the State’s acquisition policies that ensure the favorable consideration of vendor business practices that promote clean energy and take action to address climate change. The Secretary may set a minimum financial threshold for application of these policies, and the policies shall include consideration of practices such as:
(1)             Use of thermal and electric efficiency and conservation measures;
(2)             Use of renewable energy sources for its operations;
(3)             Efforts to reduce and track carbon emissions;
(4)             Use of and encouragement of employee use of electric and zero emissions vehicles including providing workplace charging stations;
(5)             Offering employees an option for a fossil fuel divested retirement account;
(6)             Whether the supplies or services offered promote waste, energy and water efficiency; and
(7)             Other factors deemed relevant by the Secretary relating to environmentally responsible practices.

After consideration of all relevant factors, a bidder that adheres to the above best practices shall be given favorable consideration in the competitive bidding process.  Favorable consideration shall be consistent with and not supersede any Secretary of Administration guidance that, all other considerations being equal, preference will be given to resident bidders of the State and/or products raised or manufactured in the State.  

This Executive Order shall take effect upon signing.


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