Strategy #3: Reduce Demand or Carbon Intensity of Contract Deliverables

The primary contract deliverable for many professional service contracts will be a document, plan, report, or other paper-based document. For certain service contract, such as contractors providing food services or hunger-relief services, the provision of food can also be a significant source of supply chain GHG emissions. Purchasers can directly influence the emissions related to these types of contract deliverables through contract strategies listed here.

These strategies will be applicable for other types of service providers that have a significant operational component, like office supply service vendors and janitorial service providers. However, specifications for the consumable products used to complete this types of service related work (e.g. recycled content paper products and green cleaning chemicals), are beyond the scope of this document.

While the proportion of total supply chain GHG emissions generated from these types of activities are typically smaller than those generated from a vendor’s facility and fleet operations, purchasers have more ability to directly influence these emissions sources through their contracting strategies.

Purchasers role in reducing demand

Institutional purchasers have an important role to play in enabling their vendors to reduce GHG emissions resulting from paper-based contract deliverables. Governments must invest in technologies and infrastructure that allow for their vendors to transition away from traditional ways of doing business that can be emissions-intensive.

The purchasing organization can invest in online document management systems, cloud-based document storage solutions, electronic signature capabilities, or other electronic business strategies to reduce the need for paper deliverables. This is particularly important for contracts where paper deliverables, packaging and shipping are a significant source of emissions in their professional services supply chain GHG emissions profile.

These initiatives can have amplified impacts by supporting capacity-building of services vendors, especially small firms and community based organizations. Once these firms have adopted the technologies to service government contracts, they can use them with their other clients.