review: Biopreferred Workshop

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A review of the two-day BioPreferred workshop held at UC Riverside on February 23-24, 2010.

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review: Biopreferred Workshop

  1. 1. biopreferred workshop 1 review: BioPreferred workshop On October 8 2009 President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 - Federal leadership In Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The order sets new policy for the United States which requires all Federal agencies to “increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; conserve and protect water resources through efficiency, reuse, and storm water management; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution; leverage agency acquisitions to foster markets for sustainable technologies and environmentally preferable materials, products, and services; design, construct, maintain, and operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations; strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which Federal facilities are located; and inform Federal employees about and involve them in the achievement of these goals.” U.S. Federal government agencies combined represent the largest procurement operation in the world. To reduce the environmental impact of that by even a fraction of a percent would achieve dramatic effect. EO 13514 was intended to move agency purchasing habits toward more sustainable alternatives. One such program contributing to that effort is BioPreferred. It is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. It came into existence with the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and was expanded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Its intent is to create a preferred procurement program for Federal agencies along with a voluntary labeling system to assist agency personnel in locating and securing products and services that meet the new procurement requirements. Although not necessarily part of the program mandate, for the government to increase their percentage of purchases which meet biobased requirements, they need to seek out new products and encourage manufacturers of environmentally favorable products to become part of their procurement system. Last week, the University of California Riverside hosted a two day workshop intended to educate the public about the BioPreferred program and provide useful advice. Day one was focused on learning how to best sell to the U.S. government. Topics covered included: • BioPreferred Value Added Proposition by David Bogaczyk of Iowa State University. • GSA Advantage by Brennan Conaway of the General Services Administration. www.threadcollaborative.com ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  2. 2. biopreferred workshop 2 • Department of Defense Opportunities and Defense Logistics Agency by Ron Fields of the Defense Logistics Agency. • Private Sector Lessons Learned by Sam Jeffries of OSM, Inc. • Selling to the Federal Government - Tools, Templates, and Resources by Ron Buckhald of the USDA - BioPreferred. Since it’s unlikely that we would ever be a product manufacturer or service provider for the U.S. government, day one for us was primarily general information and research, but not directly applicable to our work. The standout session was BioPreferred Value Added Proposition by David Bogaczyk. Although his presentation was geared directly to selling to the government, it would have worked just as well at any business development and marketing training seminar. The best way to make you or your company attractive to the government are the same ways you make your company attractive to any prospective client. Mr. Bogaczyk identifies four key parts of any value proposition - the value has to be real in the mind of your prospect, it has to be relevant to them, it has to be specific to them, and it has to be marketable. Making marketing claims that cannot be measured or proven, or that are too general or broad, will not attract government procurement potential. Or any potential for that matter. It’s good advice no matter your target market. Day two showcased a few case studies and dove deeper into the complexity of biobased products, methods for evaluation, and systems for identification. Topics covered included: • BioPreferred and Complex Assemblies by Jeff Goodman of the USDA. • ASTM Committee Effort to Develop Standard Method for Determining Complex Assemblies Biobased Content by Dr. Ramani Narayan of Michigan State University. • Comprehensive Procurement Guideline and Complex Product Categories by Jim Darr and Marlene Regelski-Reddoor of the EPA. • Auto Industry and Complex Assemblies by Lora Herron of General Motors. • Case studies by Clinton Boyd of the Business International Furniture Manufacturers Association, Richard Diamonstein of Paramount Industrial Companies, and Ryan Trainer of International Sleep Products Association. • Environmental Analysis of Complex Assemblies by Jim Pollack of Omni Tech International. www.threadcollaborative.com ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  3. 3. biopreferred workshop 3 Day two covered more issues related to our work, but I have to admit that some of the complexity associated with biobased materials was surprising. In particular differences between products composed of complex assemblies and intermediates. Complex assemblies are those composed of many parts or components. Not all of them have to be biobased in order to garner a BioPreferred label. And that’s where it got complicated. Intermediates are raw materials used by other manufacturers to make complex assemblies. It was fairly heavy in science and difficult to follow, but worth it. All in all I came away with a much better understanding of US Federal agency procurement issues and the government’s desire to encourage increased production of biobased products. I was hoping for a bit more state of the union information. There was some brief mention of how many companies are part of the program and how the program is progressing, but too little. The two day workshop felt like it was intended for those already familiar with USDA initiatives and the BioPreferred program. I was looking for examples of leading products already part of the program and success stories to be inspired by. There were a few case studies, but it’s difficult to make a direct link between efforts being made in the auto industry and architecture, or most other industries. The slide shows presented will be available for viewing on the BioPreferred web site soon (click on the link above). And there will be another key event at Iowa State University on April 1 broadcast live via a webinar platform. I plan to watch and post about it again. I’ll also keep my eye open for any building materials with a BioPreferred label. Let me know if you know of any. www.threadcollaborative.com ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601

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