Fed Agencies Lack Resources, Leadership to Go ‘Green’

by | Sep 24, 2010

Federal agencies still face hurdles in making “green” government a reality, primarily due to a lack of resources and leadership, according to a survey from Deloitte on the Obama Administration’s emphasis on a greener and more sustainable federal government.

Deloitte says the most common challenge agencies face is a lack of funding, cited by 40 percent of respondents. In addition, 29 percent have outdated facilities or fleets, and about one in four believes that sustainability is not an agency priority, and reports a lack of coordination or a clear decision maker.

“The study provides some encouraging findings about workforce support for green government mixed with negative perceptions on the level of agency efforts and progress to date,” said Bryan Klopack, director of research for the Government Business Council (GBC), which helped develop the survey. “In sum, federal executives agree that sustainability is a critical goal, but feel they lack the tools necessary to fully achieve it.”

A key finding reveals support for green government initiatives is high with more than 95 percent of federal executives considering it important that their agency implements sustainable practices. However, they don’t believe sustainability is receiving the attention it deserves with 58 percent of respondents describing the level of effort and resources dedicated to sustainability as “inadequate,” says Deloitte.

Executives also are critical of the overall progress of the federal government on sustainability, with more than 50 percent of respondents categorizing progress to-date as “lacking” or “terrible,” according to the report.

The survey, “The Challenges of Implementing Sustainability in the Federal Government,” also finds that executives believe that better education and training, and more employee engagement, are key to achieving true sustainability. About half of respondents also identified the need for clearer goals and increased funding, says Deloitte.

The survey also finds that federal executives have taken few actions to promote sustainability. While nearly 40 percent say their agency has taken steps to reduce energy consumption or waste, only 22 percent have a designated sustainability leader to coordinate their efforts and only 14 percent have awarded contracts to green companies.

While a “sense of obligation” is the top reason for going green on a personal level, say 86 percent of survey respondents, motivators for going green in agencies include fulfilling a mandate or reducing costs.

In addition, 54 percent of respondents expect the level of effort put towards sustainability will remain constant, while 39 percent believe their agency will be more dedicated to sustainability in the future. Almost none expect that their agency will be less committed to it.

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