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EU Strategic Policy

Europe 2020 (2010)

On 3 March 2010, the European Commission launched the Europe 2020 strategy: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The EU's new strategy for sustainable growth and jobs in some of its flagship initiatives mentions also GPP.

For more information: EU 2020 strategy website.

  • Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe

The Resource-efficient Europe flagship initiative is part of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe (published in 2011) is one of the main building blocks of this flagship initiative setting the framework for the design and implementation of future actions. It outlines the structural and technological changes needed by 2050, including milestones to be reached by 2020. The Roadmap mentions the need for encouraging wider use of GPP.

Source: DG ENV

  • Energy 2020

The Communication "Energy 2020 - A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy" defines the energy priorities for the next ten years and sets the actions to be taken in order to tackle the energy-related challenges.

The Communication also insists on the key role of public procurement, calling for public authorities to lead by example. Among other it says public procurement rules should insist on efficiency conditions to increase energy savings and spread innovative solutions, notably in buildings and transport.

  • Innovation Union

The Innovation Union is key to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020. It aims to improve conditions and access to finance for research and innovation in Europe, to ensure that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growth and jobs. It identifies key areas where greater investment in innovation and policy cohesion can achieve gains in terms of competitiveness and sustainability. The initiative addresses the role of public procurement and GPP as one of the means of reaching these goals.

Public procurement practices foster market uptake of innovative products and services and raise the quality of public services in markets where the public sector is a significant purchaser. Public authorities can promote the use of innovation-friendly procurement practices and stimulate innovation on the supplier side. This can either be through pre-commercial procurement or through regular procurement, specifying user needs in such a way that suppliers are stimulated to come forward with innovative products and/or services.

More information about innovation in public procurement:

Seventh Environment Action Programme (7th EAP)

The new general Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 - Living well, within the limits of our planet

Since the mid-1970s, EU environment policy has been guided by action programmes defining priority objectives to be achieved over a period of years. The current programme, the seventh of its kind, was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in November 2013 and covers the period up to 2020.

Through this Environment Action Programme (EAP), the EU has agreed to step up its efforts to protect our natural capital, stimulate resource-efficient, low-carbon growth and innovation, and safeguard people's health and wellbeing – while respecting the Earth's natural limits.

It's a common strategy that should guide future action by the EU institutions and the Member States, who share responsibility for its implementation and the achievement of its priority objectives.

For more information: 7th EAP website.

Eco-innovation Action Plan - Ecoap

The Eco-innovation Action Plan (Ecoap) aims to address the barriers – such as the complexity of switching from traditional to new technologies and insufficient access to capital – that hinder the development of environmental technologies.

The Action Plan refers to the role of GPP in improving market conditions to promote eco-innovation.

For more information: Ecoap website.

Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production - SCP/SIP (2008)

The European Commission’s Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan was launched on 16 July 2008. This document presents the EC strategy for an integrated approach to further sustainable consumption and production and promote its sustainable industrial policy. The core of the Action Plan is to improve the energy and environmental performance of products, foster their uptake by consumers and make production cleaner and leaner.

The Plan draws on the EcoDesign Directive (Directive 2005/32/EC) and a number of related schemes in the area of product policy:

  • Proposal for the extension of the Ecodesign Directive;
  • Proposal for the revision of the EU Ecolabel Regulation;
  • Proposal for the revision of the EMAS Regulation;
  • Proposal for the revision of the Energy Labelling Directive;

The Action Plan states “the energy efficiency and environmental criteria under the above schemes will be used to establish a harmonised base for public procurement and incentives provided by the EU and its Member States.”

To date each of the above legislative documents has been revised or extended to help meet the objectives of the SCP/SIP Action Plan.

The Retail Forum established under the Action Plan is also gaining in importance as retailers and producers are increasingly recognising sustainability as a considerable opportunity for their businesses to grow, compete and innovate.

For more information: SCP Action Plan.

Lead Market Initiative (LMI) (2007)

The Lead Market Initiative was the European policy to lower barriers to bring new products or services onto the market in 6 important sectors. The European Commission, Member States and industry worked together to carry out the action plans for the 6 Lead Markets: eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies.

As the public sector is a significant purchaser in each of these Lead Markets, specific resources were funded under this Initiative to assist in the procurement of innovative and/or more sustainable solutions from these markets.

For more information: Lead Market Initiative.

Integrated Product Policy - IPP (2003)

On 18 June 2003, the European Commission adopted a Communication on “Integrated Product Policy: Building on Environmental Life-Cycle Thinking.”

On the public consumer side, the IPP Communication underlines the importance of GPP and initiates several actions to stimulate this:

  • Determination of the state of play of GPP and its potential impact on the environment and on the markets (please see studies section).
  • Encouragement of Member States to develop by the end of 2006 publicly available action plans for greening their public procurement (National Action Plans).
  • Elaboration of information measures for public authorities: a practical handbook for public authorities (Handbook on Green Public Procurement), a Product Group Database, a GPP website.

For more information: IPP website.

EU Sustainable Development Strategy - SDS (2001 -2011)

The SDS is an overarching strategy for all EU policies which focuses on seven key challenges: climate change and clean energy; sustainable transport; sustainable consumption and production; conservation and management of natural resources; public health; social inclusion, demography and migration; global poverty.

In June 2006 the European Council adopted an ambitious and comprehensive renewed SDS for the enlarged European Union. The Commission completed a review of this strategy in 2009 which assessed the progress in respect of the seven key challenges and made recommendations for the further implementation and monitoring of the SDS, and co-ordination with other policies.

To promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, one of the objectives set out in the SDS is “to achieve by 2010 an EU average level of Green Public Procurement (GPP) equal to that currently achieved by the best performing Member States”.

For more information: SDS website.