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Smart Bulletin No. 015

GSA SmartPay- Going Green

This Smart Bulletin was Archived on August 16, 2023


DateVersion History Action Log - Summary of Action/Changes
July 6, 2011Implementation of Smart Bulletin #15
August 16, 2023Archived
March 22, 2024Revised for administrative updates

Effective Date

From Issuance through August 16, 2023

Business Line(s) Affected

All Business Lines


On October 5, 2009, President Obama set sustainability goals for Federal agencies through Executive Order (EO) 13514. The GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, set a Zero Environmental Footprint (ZEF) goal for the agency. When Administrator Johnson announced this “unbelievable, wild, magnificent, over the top goal” at the 2010 GSA Expo, she highlighted the need for a strong partnership between GSA and the agencies it services. “Greening” Federal agencies may be considered a challenging task, but GSA SmartPay is making it easier for Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/ OPCs) to contribute to the sustainability effort at their agencies.


The GSA SmartPay program allows A/OPCs to improve the environment by potentially implementing the following best practices:

  1. Save a Tree (and consequently save energy, improve water quality, and clean the air):

    1. Encourage travel cardholders to contact your bank to sign up for electronic statements, payments, and reporting
    2. Avoid convenience checks! Ask cardholders to seek out vendors who accept the purchase card. Use the GSA SmartPay purchase card or cardless accounts to pay vendors who do not typically accept card-based transactions. Note: Effective January 1, 2013, convenience checks of $10,000 or more will be subject to a three percent withholding pursuant to Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA).
  2. “Find it. Fuel it. Go.” Help cardholders find fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator ( Utilize the locator APP for smartphones to find fueling stations on the go. Some locations can’t be precisely located by the mapping application, so the U.S. Department of Energy recommends first calling the station to verify location, hours of operation, access, and whether the government fleet card is accepted. In order to meet President Obama’s May 24, 2011 Memorandum on Federal Fleet Performance, agencies will be leasing or purchasing only alternative fuel vehicles.

  3. Utilize GSA’s Travel Management Information Service (MIS). MIS provides travel spending data that can be used for meeting regulatory requirements, better managing spend, and more effectively procuring travel at better prices from suppliers. It includes the most accurate and transparent CO2 emissions calculator available for airline travel. The Department of Energy recommends this tool to all Federal agencies for measuring CO2 emissions for business air travel.

  4. Telepresence Centers: GSA’s Telepresence, an immersive virtual meeting experience, enables federal employees to save time and money and be sustainable. Use a local telepresence room, instead of boarding a plane, to interact with colleagues or vendors anywhere in the world via high-definition video, high-fidelity sound, and advanced collaboration tools. GSA will have a 15- site network including its 11 regional headquarters buildings and four locations in the Washington, D.C. area. By the Fall of 2011, we expect agencies will be able to reserve the telepresence center with the GSA SmartPay purchase card.

  5. Buy Green: Agencies are required to purchase green products in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create markets, improve the environment, increase building and fleet energy efficiency, increase water efficiency, and improve the indoor air environment and worker safety. There is a green alternative for many products/services that we commonly buy. Go to for the product list. Also, review Part 23 of the FAR.

    1. “Green” products include EPA-designated recycled content products, Energy Star qualified products and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated energy-efficient products, WaterSense water-efficient products, alternative fuel vehicles, biobased products, environmentally preferable products, and products with no or low toxic and hazardous material content.
    2. Encourage your cardholders to use the GSAAdvantage! Environmental Aisle to procure green products and services with the GSA SmartPay purchase card. (
    3. Use the GSAAdvantage! Spend Analysis Program (ASAP) reports to monitor and track total and improved spend on green products. (https://
    4. When purchasing from DOD EMALL, ask cardholders to be sure to utilize the “Green Purchases” reports that detail items with environmentally friendly attribute codes that have been purchased by various customers on DOD EMALL. Also, select “yes” when asked if you would like to search for items in the “Green Corridor” only.
  6. Talk to the Banks: Find out what they do! Contact your bank POC or check out their website to find out about paperless billing and e-payments. As an A/ OPC, ask about other options, such as the use of recycled plastic for cards. U.S. Bancorp not only offers paperless billing and e-payments but also the use of recycled plastic for cards. Citibank is committed to the United Nations Environment Programme Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign and has funded the planting of over 13,300 saplings. JPMorgan Chase has eliminated enough paper from their business processes to save over 49,000 trees or an area roughly four times the size of New York City!

  7. Attend the annual GSA SmartPay Conference or bi-annual Beyond Plastics Virtual Conference! While attending one or both of these conferences, physically or virtually attend one or more of the green-specific courses or “moderated chats” being offered. Learn new and innovative solutions offered through the GSA SmartPay program and how to use the card in the most environmentally responsible way. Note: These conferences are not open to cardholders.


Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) are encouraged to work with their agency to increase the use of green purchasing options. Read the SmartBlog to stay current on what the GSA SmartPay program is doing to make it easier for A/OPCs and cardholders to contribute to the sustainability goals set forth in EO 13514. Email to share success stories and new ideas for how the GSA SmartPay program can contribute even more to the Federal Government’s sustainability effort.

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