In 2014 the European Resource Efficiency Platform published its Manifesto and Policy Recommendations, a high-level guidance document for the European Commission, Members States and private actors on the transition to a more resource-efficient economy. On the topic of Green Public Procurement (GPP) the Manifesto calls for a stronger and more coherent implementation of GPP recommending the establishment of a European network to exchange good practice in this field.
In the same year the Commission commissioned a study with the aim of evaluating structure and content options for such a European GPP network and how to ensure added value. To fulfil this objective, the consultant, Public Procurement Analysis, first conducted a survey in order to gain an overview of existing network activities, and identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as 'gaps' where value could potentially be added at EU level. Based on the survey results, the consultant developed different scenarios for EU support of GPP networking, which were then discussed in follow-up interviews and a webinar. Such discussions provided insights about the advantages and challenges associated with each of the proposed scenarios. The results of this study can be found here.
Many of the networking activities identified in the study form part of the EU-funded SPP Regions p roject (2015-18), funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. SPP Regions aims to promote stronger networking and collaboration at both the European and sub-national regional level on sustainable and innovative procurement (SPP/PPI), to help promote and embed capacity building and knowledge transfer.
In the 2008 Communication “Public Procurement for a Better Environment”, the European Commission set an indicative target that, by 2010, 50% of all public tendering procedures should be green in the EU, where “green” means compliant with endorsed common core EU GPP criteria for ten priority product/service groups such as construction, transport, cleaning products and services.
In 2011, the Commission commissioned a study with the aim of measuring if this target has been met. Since there are no systematic statistics on GPP in the Member States, the Centre for European Policy Studies and the College of Europe conducted a survey in which over 850 public authorities from 26 Member States participated. The respondents provided detailed answers regarding the use of core G PP criteria in the last contract they had signed for one of the ten product/service groups and gave more general information on the "greenness" of their overall procurement in the period 2009/2010. For this general part, the study collected information on more than 230,000 contracts signed by public authorities in 2009-2010, for a value of approx. 117.5 billion Euros. The detailed results of this survey can be found in the report and the annex.
The main findings of the report are:
The results of this study will be taken into account when deciding on future GPP policy developments.
In the course of 2012, the European Commission is reviewing its policy in this field with the aim of increasing the use of green criteria in public procurement throughout the EU in the future.
A recent survey of purchasing managers in Italy has identified that influence the adoption of GPP strategies, and suggests that a broad knowledge of GPP is key to its implementation. The full study can be found here.
The results of a study entitled Assessment and Comparison of National GPP/SPP Criteria and Underlying Schemes in 10 countries are now available. The study has been conducted by AEA.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has undertaken some research studies related to GPP.
In 2009 the EEA published the results of its study GPP and Product Performance Requirements: Case Study on Selected Energy Using and Non-energy Using Products. Drawing upon experience in Austria, Denmark, Germany and the UK in relation to three building / construction-related product groups (water heaters, windows and recycled mineral construction and demolition waste), the study:
In 2008 EEA published a technical report Time for action — towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe . Three sets of three top-priority recommendations towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe are included in the technical report that summarises main conclusions of the conference 'Time for action — Towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe', held in September 2007 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The study (conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Significant and Ecofys) aimed to develop and implement a methodology for measuring GPP in Europe, to assist Member States and the Commission when monitoring compliance with the targets set forth. This includes:
In order to gain more insight into the real situation regarding the costs and benefits of GPP, a study was undertaken on behalf of the Commission by Öko-Institut e.V. and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The study comprised 3 tasks:
Task 1: Comparison of costs / market research: collection of information on the costs of green public purchasing as compared to non-green purchasing
Task 2: (Additional) costs for individual purchasing authorities of buying ‘green’ products (administrative and product costs)
Task 3: Potential of GPP for the spreading of new/recently developed environmental technologies
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the Commission has carried out two major studies examining the environmental impact of products and identifying ways in which their life-cycle environmental impacts can be reduced.
The first phase of the study (EIPRO) aimed to identify the products consumed in the EU having the greatest environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective. Environmental impact was assessed under a number of different headings (e.g. acidification, toxicity, global warming, ozone depletion) for almost three hundred product categories.
EIPRO Full Report
The second phase of the work (IMPRO) attempts to identify possible ways in which the life-cycle environmental impacts can be reduced for some of the products that are among those with the greatest impacts. The analysis first considers improvement potentials that are technically feasible.
Reports have been produced on the improvement potential for three of the product groups responsible for a high percentage of impacts from private consumption – passenger cars, residential buildings and meat and dairy products.
DG Enterprise commissioned Davis Langdon to analyse and evaluate the different national approaches to Life-cycle Costing (LCC). An EU-wide methodological framework for the estimation of life-cycle costs for buildings and constructed assets was developed. Part of the project was to elaborated guidance on how to make cost estimates at each stage of a construction project, from the initial appraisal to the completion and post-occupation phases, including the disposal of the asset. A number of concrete case studies were undertaken to illustrate the practical implementation of this EU-wide approach.
More information and the reports of the study can be found on the website of DG Enterprise.
The TAKE 5 project developed a measurement tool and measured the current level of green public procurement across the European Union., made available examples of environmental technical specifications for a series of product and service groups identified as most suitable for ‘greening’, and provided recommendations for the development of the national GPP action plans.
Final conclusions (Spring 2006)
Interim report (Oct 2005)
The RELIEF project ("Environmental Relief Potential of Urban Action On Avoidance And Detoxification of Waste Streams through Green Public Procurement") was carried out by a European research consortium led by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and supported by the EC research programme on Environment and Sustainable Development. It sought to analyse and quantify the environmental relief potential of an integrated GPP strategy for selected product groups, and produced policy recommendations to achieve this strategy.