2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan - U.S. General Services Administration

U.S. General Services Administration
Posted on: 12/21/2021 - Updated on: 7/01/2022

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The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is a leading provider of workplaces, acquisition solutions and policies for the Federal Government. The agency supplies centralized procurement for the Federal Government, offering billions of dollars worth of products, services and facilities that federal agencies need to serve the public.

This Climate Change Risk Management Plan describes steps GSA will take to develop a robust and resilient capacity to manage climate change risks and secure federal real property and supply chain investments. By addressing these risks, GSA can create innovative economic opportunities, create jobs, save money, and develop healthy, just and prosperous communities.

Climate Vulnerabilities

By applying the best available climate data, GSA implements a mission-tailored, risk-informed process to identify its vulnerability to climate disruptions. The vulnerability assessment captures mission, operational and programmatic effects GSA-wide. GSA’s most recent comprehensive internal vulnerability assessment was completed in 2015. The assessment found the following top five vulnerabilities that pose the most significant risk to GSA’s mission:

  1. GSA Real Property (including culturally and historically significant properties)
  2. Information and Communications Technology Supply Chain
  3. Water and Wastewater Utilities
  4. Transportation and Transit Access
  5. Global Supply Chains and Infrastructure

Section 2 outlines the specifics of these vulnerabilities and the actions that GSA will take to address them. In the future, with the availability of adequate resources, GSA will update the assessment and create a plan to address any new vulnerabilities to the agency.

Climate Change Adaptation Actions

Through a collaborative process across the agency, GSA selected its top five priority actions to advance climate adaptation efforts:

  1. Formulate environmental and climate justice criteria, requirements and metrics to inform decisions for real property, services and supply
  2. Improve requirements planning and management processes with GSA customers using climate information
  3. Develop portfolio-wide vertical datum and integrate it into portfolio management information systems and asset business planning
  4. Integrate considerations for the financial effects of the physical and transition risks of climate change into formal agency decision-making processes
  5. Integrate methods to monitor and evaluate changing conditions in the Building Assessment Tool to inform prudent capital investment and asset management.

Section 3 describes specific goals, time frames, implementation methods, and performance metrics for each of the five actions.

Enhancing Climate Literacy

Climate science must be translated into decision-useful information to communicate climate-related risks effectively across the agency. Promoting general climate literacy across GSA and integrating consistent and accurate climate information to promote informed decision-making will require developing new material and updates to agency-wide training programs and resources. Using the five priority actions and the offices principally responsible for their implementation, GSA will prioritize climate literacy efforts with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of Customer and Stakeholder Engagement, the Public Buildings Service (PBS) Office of Portfolio Management and Customer Engagement, the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of Administrative Services, the Office of Government-wide Policy’s (OGP) Office of Acquisition Policy, Integrity and Workforce and the OGP Office of Asset Management and Transportation Policy. Section 4 contains a timeline and measures to monitor progress.

Climate-Ready Sites, Facilities, Products, and Services

The Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service, PBS-P100, includes design standards and criteria so that sites and facilities are climate-ready. Studies during the project formulation phase include climate risk factors. Through conversations with customers, PBS plans to improve processes to protect vulnerable mission critical sites, develop portfolio-wide data to better understand sensitivity and exposure to flooding risks and continue piloting occupancy sensors to improve safety from climate-driven hazards. The PBS Urban Development/Good Neighbor Program is considering revisions to federal facility location policies to include climate risks in siting buildings and procuring leases.

Considering agency demand, projected exposure and sensitivity to climate risks, the top five critical supplies and services the Federal Acquisition Service procures are telecommunications, motor vehicles and fleet, professional services, information technology (IT) hardware, and IT services. Process improvements to manage climate risks to these critical supplies and services will be implemented through acquisition policy; the Disaster Purchasing, Global Supply and Retail Operations programs; category management; and fleet. In addition, the agency will consider utilizing responsibility determinations to explore how contractors address environmental justice issues. Section 5 describes specific goals, time frames, implementation methods, and performance metrics for climate-ready sites, facilities, products, and services.

Future Activities

The Plan is a living document that will be updated within one year of the publication of each National Climate Assessment report or at least every four years, whichever is earlier, and progress with Plan implementation will be reported as required under Executive Order 14008. GSA’s Senior Climate Change Adaptation Official, in coordination with the Executive Climate Action Council, Strategic Sustainability Advisory Group and Chief Sustainability Officer, will review and update this Plan. GSA will make this Plan available to the public, as directed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget.


Climate Change Risk Management Plan. September 2021. U.S. General Services Administration. https://www.sustainability.gov/pdfs/gsa-2021-cap.pdf

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