So yesterday at the GSA Expo, Administrator Martha Johnson was walking around in a black and white outfit, if I remember correctly. But by the time she arrived at the Coalition for Government Procurement dinner to announce GSA’s new goal of eliminating the government’s carbon footprint (good luck with that, by the way), she had changed into — you guessed it — a green jacket.
Johnson’s speech received what sounded like polite applause last night, from a crowd made up mostly of vendor representatives. And CGP president Larry Allen was fairly critical of Johnson today, even after he’d had a night to sleep on it. He sent me an e-mail that included the words “an arbitrary goal that makes for good press but has no basis in
reality,” although he later said he didn’t necessarily think Johnson had set such a goal, but simply that he hoped she wasn’t. It’ll be interesting to see whether setting this lofty goal spurs federal agencies and contractors to action as Johnson hopes it will, or if setting the bar so high will be counterproductive.
UPDATE: I should clarify that Allen’s group has pledged to work with Johnson on her initiative and wants to play a role in developing the specifics of her plan. I don’t mean to paint this as a GSA vs. industry fight; Johnson also stressed that the private sector should play a key role in reducing the government’s environmental impact, and the fact she delivered her message at an industry-sponsored event only underscores that.