Navigation path

Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement

What does Green Public Procurement stand for?

Green Public Procurement (GPP) is 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.

How Can Ecolabels be Used in GPP?

Under the EU Procurement Directives (2004/18/EC and Directive 2004/17/EC), ecolabels may be used in public procurement, providing a number of conditions are met:

  • Procurers are not allowed to demand that a product carries an ecolabel, but may only indicate that the criteria underpinning a certain ecolabel must be met and that the ecolabel may be used as one form of proof of compliance.
  • Procurers may only use ecolabel criteria that refer to characteristics of the product or service itself or production processes, not those relating to the general management of the company.
  • Procurers may only refer to ecolabels that meet a number of requirements (the Type I or ISO 14024 ecolabels, such as the EU Ecolabel, meet these requirements).
  • The requirements for the label are based on scientific evidence.
  • The ecolabels are adopted with the participation of all stakeholders, such as government bodies, consumers, manufacturers, distributors and environmental organisations.
  • They are accessible to all interested parties.

To find a list of existing labels that can be used for GPP and to get practical examples of what can and cannot be done, please consult the Green Public Procurement and the European Ecolabel factsheet, which is part of the GPP Training Toolkit.

The EU Ecolabel Makes Green Procurement Easy:

Under the conditions set out above, procurers can make reference to the requirements underlying the EU Ecolabel in order to specify their needs. This makes it easier for public authorities to buy green.

No Expert Knowledge Required:

The EU Ecolabel criteria take the main environmental impacts of a product into account, as well as the technically possible improvements. These criteria are established at the European level through a transparent, multi-stakeholder process.

Fully Compatible With the Principles of the Internal Market: 

The EU Ecolabel scheme is public, transparent and non-discriminatory. It is valid and identical throughout the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

Easy Identification: 

On the E-catalogue, information is available on the products and services awarded the EU Ecolabel. A potential purchaser can thus easily know the minimum number of companies capable of meeting the purchasing requirements.

Read more on the GPP website.