The Buying Power of Government

Government employees can’t make a lasting difference in the world.  In fact they’re lucky if they can even make a lasting difference in their own agency. 

Really?  Consider…

Back in the day, recycled paper was a joke.  It jammed the copiers and the fax machines and nobody but nobody wanted to use it.  But then a few dedicated government executives in the Clinton Administration decided to make a difference.  Government uses so much paper that they decided to only buy recycled paper industry responded.  Recycled paper went from a joke to the ubiquitous responsible choice for government, industry, and consumers.  

It’s the story of the power of $535 billion in annual contract spending impacting corporate behavior and spurring private sector innovation.

What if this story wasn’t just about recycled paper?  What if this story grew when the best and the brightest leaders from across government, industry, and academia came together to imagine the possibility of how the government and the government contractor community could make a positive and lasting impact across the United States and around the world, not just in recycled paper but in corporate governance, ethics, sustainability, community relations, human rights, employee relations, and economic development?

Markets need data to function. Without readily accessible, relevant, and timely data buyers, suppliers, investors, and employees suffer: they lack the information they need to make decisions. Some disclosures, like SEC filings, are mandatory. Others, like organic food declarations, are voluntary. All need third-party verification to make them meaningful.  When it comes to markets, there are really two governments:  there's government the regulator and there's government to buyer.  We've heard a lot lately about government the regulator.  What about government the buyer?  That's where you come in.

For the last 10 years CR Magazine and the CROA have made it our job to encourage, measure, and publish information on corporate transparency. We haven't always gotten it right, but we've always adovacated for putting more data -- and therefore more choice -- in the hands of people that have to make decisions.  That's why we've embarked on an effort to measure and rank corporate accountability and transparency in different industry segments and why we will, on June 30th, publish a ranking of Corporate Citizenship among Government Contractors.  With the release of this ranking, we turn our attention to one of the most vital, most far-reaching sets of decisions anyone has to make: the decisions that impact the ability of our government at every level to function and deliver on its mission to serve the American people.

This is not a journey we embark on lightly, nor is it one that we want to embark on alone.  On this journey we will write the next chapter in the story of government and industry working together to improve the business of government.  We need your help.  If you're in government, we need you to tell us what data and information you'd like to know to make better purchasing decisions.  If you're in industry, we need to know what's practical and what will motivate the right behaviors.  If you're in academia or a non-profit, we need you to lend your voice and your ability to look across multiple industries to tell us what's working and needed across the spectrum of corporate responsibility and the industries serving government.

What if this story included you?  What difference could you make if you contributed your time and talents to creating a vision and making recommendations to help foster and evolve corporate excellence for government?  Now’s your moment.  Join me in kicking off the Corporate Excellence for Government Roundtable at this interactive working session:

 Corporate Responsibility in the Public Interest: 

Wednesday, June 30th from 8:00-10:00am

Duques Hall, George Washington University

2201 G St., NW, Room 650, Washington, DC 20052


Keynote Speaker:  Ms. Martha Johnson, Administrator, General Services Administration


Discussion Leaders Include:

Ms. Julie Basile, Chief Acquisition Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Wendy Hallgren,  Vice President, Corporate Compliance, Fluor

Mr. Kevin Landy, Majority Counsel, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate

Mr. Charles Prow, Managing Partner, Public Sector, IBM



Please click  here to register


All attendees will be asked to participate and contribute their thoughts and ideas in this inaugural meeting.  I look forward to your active participation.

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