Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined in the Communication (COM (2008) 400) “Public procurement for a better environment” as "a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.”
GPP is a voluntary instrument, which means that Member States and public authorities can determine the extent to which they implement it.
Public authorities are major consumers in Europe: they spend approximately 2 trillion euros annually, equivalent to some 19% of the EU’s gross domestic product. By using their purchasing power to choose goods and services with lower impacts on the environment, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production.
Green purchasing is also about influencing the market. By promoting and using GPP, public authorities can provide industry with real incentives for developing green technologies and products. In some sectors, public purchasers command a large share of the market (e.g. public transport and construction, health services and education) and so their decisions have considerable impact.