Europe's public authorities are major consumers. By using their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production - what we call Green Public Procurement (GPP) or green purchasing.
Although GPP is a voluntary instrument, it has a key role to play in the EU's efforts to become a more resource-efficient economy. It can help stimulate a critical mass of demand for more sustainable goods and services which otherwise would be difficult to get onto the market. GPP is therefore a strong stimulus for eco-innovation.
To be effective, GPP requires the inclusion of clear and verifiable environmental criteria for products and services in the public procurement process. The European Commission and a number of European countries have developed guidance in this area, in the form of national GPP criteria. The challenge of furthering take- up by more public sector bodies so that GPP becomes common practice still remains. As does the challenge of ensuring that green purchasing requirements are somewhat compatible between Member States - thus helping create a level playing field that will accelerate and help drive the single market for environmentally sound goods and services.
EU GPP Helpdesk Webinar – Sustainable Procurement of Food and Catering Services
The first EU GPP Helpdesk webinar of the year took place on Thursday 23 June 2016 and focussed on Sustainable Procurement in the Food and Catering sector. The status of the revised European GPP criteria on food and catering were in the spotlight.
More specifically, the webinar included presentations on:
The presentations and a recording of the webinar are available here.
New Criteria for Green Office Building Procurement and for Road Design, Construction and Maintenance
The Commission has now published two new voluntary construction-related criteria sets, the EU GPP criteria for Office Building Design, Construction and Management and the EU GPP criteria for Road Design, Construction and Maintenance.
The construction and use of buildings in the EU accounts for a large share of environmental impacts: approx. 50% of energy use and total extracted materials, and a third of water use and waste generated.
Public authorities are responsible for about 30% of expenditure in the construction sector. Therefore, reducing the impact of public construction can have substantial benefits for the circular economy.
The newly published EU GPP criteria aim at helping public authorities willing to procure greener construction or renovation works in a cost-effective way. In addition to criteria ensuring high energy efficiency for buildings, the criteria promote a number of circular economy aspects such as the inclusion of recycled construction materials and the reduction of demolition waste. The criteria are accompanied by a Procurement practice guidance document aimed at facilitating the use of the criteria in the different stages of procuring a building or a road.
The new criteria are available in English; the other official languages will follow soon.
New Buying Green! Handbook now available
The new edition of the European Commission’s Buying Green! Handbook has now been published. The third edition of the Handbook has been fully revised to detail the possibilities of how contracting bodies can put their green public procurement (GPP) policies into practice under the 2014 Procurement Directives.
Buying Green! is the European Commission’s leading publication for assisting public sector entities to purchase goods and services that have a lower impact on the environment. Given the importance of public sector spending in Europe, GPP is an important tool to help achieve environmental policy goals relating to climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production.
Engaging the market was the topic of the EU GPP Helpdesk’s most recent webinar. The event took place on 24 November 2015 and consisted of a series of presentations from across Europe. The webinar looked at how market engagement is a tool increasingly used in green public procurement (GPP), helping procurers to purchase more sustainable goods and services.
Market engagement allows procurers to engage the market before launching a public tender, and develop a better understanding of what sustainable solutions are currently available. The webinar looked at a number of key legal issues which need to be considered before, during, and after a market engagement process, including a presentation from a public authority on how market engagement enabled them to purchase a particularly sustainable service, and how market engagement can help suppliers to foresee the future needs of public authorities, and meet these needs with more sustainable solutions.
Presentations and the webinar recording are available here.