For the public sector, Green Public Procurement (GPP) is an important tool to fulfil environmental policy goals relating to climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production. By using their purchasing power to choose goods and services with a reduced environmental impact, public bodies can make an important contribution towards local, national and international sustainability goals. Especially in sectors where public purchasers represent a large share of the market, GPP can provide industries with strong incentives to develop green products and services.
As a tool designed to reduce organisations' environmental impacts and increase their sustainability, EMAS can most directly contribute to achieving Goal 12. EMAS improves sustainable consumption and production patterns through, for example, an efficient use of resources (target 12.2), a substantial reduction (12.5) and sound management of waste (12.4). Most clearly, EMAS links up with the SDG goals by encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices and requiring a high-quality reporting cycle (12.6).
With “Buying Green! - A Handbook on green public procurement” the European Commission provides guidance on how environmental considerations can be included at each stage of the procurement process - from implementing a GPP policy to tendering, to awarding a contract. The handbook includes interesting practical examples from contracting authorities across EU Member States and outlines speciﬁc GPP approaches in high-impact sectors, such as buildings, food and catering, vehicles and energy-using products.
Although the handbook has been developed with public authorities in mind, it is also a very useful reference for corporate purchasers. Besides, it will help suppliers and service providers responding to green tenders – particularly smaller companies– to better fulfil the environmental requirements which they encounter.
In 2004 the first edition of the handbook was published which also detailed how public authorities can use EMAS to evaluate and select suppliers and service providers. Likewise, the recently published third edition explains how organisations can use their EMAS registration as a proof for their ability to perform required environmental management measures associated with a green contract. As such, EMAS remains one of the most relevant selection criteria for GPP purposes.
“Buying Green! - A Handbook on green public procurement” is available for downloaded here.