The Role of Small Business in Greening the U.S. Military

The United States military’s global presence and its wide variety of responsibilities create a significant need for support from small businesses in achieving its initiatives. This increasingly includes support for a large number of eco-friendly initiatives, as the Armed Forces seeks ways to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint in efforts to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and improve the sustainability of its operations.

Does your business have a product or service that can offer greater energy efficiency to equipment or facilities? Can you help a large venture move toward zero-footprint goals by reducing packaging or other disposable materials? Here are just a few of the opportunities for your small business in helping to green the US military:

Meeting Energy Needs

The logistics of meeting energy demands is one of the military’s biggest challenges. Transporting fuel for vehicles, aircraft, and other equipment to remote sites throughout the world is costly, difficult, and often dangerous. Similarly, supplying reliable power to remote bases can also present complications that make sustainable energy an important objective.

From finding local or on-site solutions for powering overseas bases (like renewable energy alternatives), to implementing programs that reduce overall fuel demand (like more energy efficient equipment options), small business can play an important role in powering military missions more sustainably.

Meeting Supply Needs

The Armed Forces have a diverse range of supply needs to which they give considerable attention. As just one example, the U.S. military invests millions of dollars annually on the development, production, and delivery of field rations for overseas troops. This includes continuous efforts to reduce the expense of unnecessary packaging waste.

Feeding its soldiers with minimal cost and waste is just one supply need for which the military seeks the support of business. Finding new and innovative ways to fulfill supply needs easily and inexpensively helps to reduce the financial and ecological footprint of the military, and also offers a great opportunity for small business involvement.

Reducing Operation Footprints

Beyond a more sustainable supply chain, the military is seeking other ways to reduce its footprint. The Army’s Net Zero program aims to have selected bases fully sustainable by 2020, meeting their own energy needs, meeting their own water needs, or fully capturing all waste generated by the base. As the Army and other military branches expand their green goals, your business can play a role in this evolution.

How to Get Your Small Business Involved

The military recognizes the strength of small business in offering unique, original solutions to small-scale and large-scale sustainability challenges. Agencies like the Army Office of Small Business Programs provide all the needed guidance for you to search, apply for, and fulfill contracts to meet existing U.S. military needs.

If your business offers green products or services, consider researching a role for your company in supporting U.S. military sustainability initiatives. As a long-term undertaking with considerable financial investment, a contract could be a rewarding project for your company, all while helping to bring the Armed Forces into a more sustainable future.

About Marcos Cordero

Marcos J. Cordero is the co-founder and CEO of the Green Business Bureau, a leading green business certification organization that helps small and mid-sized businesses implement sustainability practices.
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