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Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

SPP facts & figures

  • 1 out of 4 jobs in the private sector in the European Union is in manufacturing industry, and at least another one out of four in  associated services that depend on industry as a supplier or as a client (source: European Commission).
  • CO2 emissions would be cut by 15 million tonnes per year if the whole EU adopted the same environmental criteria for lighting and office equipment as the City of Turku, Finland, reducing electricity consumption by 50% (source: Nordic Council).
  • In Brazil, the Foundation for Education Development succeeded in saving 8,800 m3 of water, 1,750 tons of waste and 250 kg of organohalogen compounds, providing the equivalent of one month economic activity of 454 waste pickers, through its decision to replace regular notebooks with others made from recycled paper in 2010 (UNEP)
  • The city of Vienna saved €44.4 million and more than 100,000 tons of CO2 between 2001 and 2007 through its EcoBuy programme (source: City of Vienna).
  • Japan’s Green Purchasing Policy, has contributed to the growth of the country’s eco-industries, estimated to be worth about €430 billion in 2010 (source: UNEP).
  • In 2010, Ihobe, a support agency for the Basque environmental department, introduced SPP criteria in 100 percent of their tenders, representing a value of 8.7 million Euros and saving approx. 8.5 tonnes CO₂. Initiatives included the procurement of recycled paper, publications printed on recycled paper, the purchase of energy efficient computers and the use of energy-efficient vehicles (source: Procura+).

  • In Ireland government consumption accounts for a sizeable part of economic activity and demand. The annual public sector procurement budget accounts for 10% to 12% of Ireland’s GDP. In monetary terms, this equated to about €14 billion in 2011 (source: Friends of the Earth Ireland).

  • The public sector is the largest consumer in the economy. In 2009, the public sector spent over €2 trillion (or €2,100 billion) on goods, services and works – equating to about 19% of the EU's gross domestic product (GDP) (source: DG Internal Market and European Commission).

  • Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have prioritised close to 50 products used for GPP. Construction and transport are among the most common product groups. These, together with Office IT equipment, make up a considerable proportion of the total value of contracts awarded above the thresholds amounting to more than €100 billion (source: DG Internal Market).

  • A recent European Commission study of seven leading EU countries found that 45% of the total value and 55% of the total number of contracts in 2006/07 were "green" for ten product groups (source: DG Environment).

  • If all IT purchases in Europe followed the example of Copenhagen city council and the Swedish Administrative Development Agency, energy consumption would be cut by about 30 terrawatt hours - roughly equivalent to the output of four nuclear reactors (source: Nordic Council of Ministers).

  • The health and energy sectors in Mexico represent 40% of all public sector procurement, approximately USD 15 billion. According to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, the Mexican Institute for Social Security saved €20 million in procurement spending on medicines in 2011 as the result of reviewing its procurement procedures (source: OECD).

  • Europe could save up to 64% of the energy used for street lighting – 38 TWh of electricity per year – by replacing or upgrading today's street lights with intelligent, adaptive solutions (source: E-Street project).

  • The UK National Health Service estimates that procurement is responsible for 60% of its carbon footprint (source: UK National Health Service).

  • The City of Vienna saved €44.4 million and over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 between 2004 and 2007 through its EcoBuy programme, which covers a large range of the goods and services purchased by the City (source: City of Vienna). 

  • The City of Barcelona spent €43 million in 2010 on green products and services, and €92 million on “greened” services (e.g. lighting or fountain maintenance). In 2009 and 2010 it spent €11 million in products and services from social enterprises (Source: City of Barcelona).

  • If all public authorities across the EU demanded green electricity, this would save the equivalent of 60 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to the emissions of 6.5 million Europeans). Nearly the same saving could be achieved if public authorities opted for buildings of high environmental quality (source: RELIEF project).

  • If all public authorities across the EU were to require more energy-efficient computers, and this led the whole market to move in that direction, this would result in 830,000 tonnes of CO2 savings (equivalent to the emissions of 90,000 Europeans) (source: RELIEF project).

  • If all European public authorities opted for efficient toilets and taps in their buildings, this would reduce water consumption by 200 million tonnes (equivalent to 0.6% of total household consumption in the EU) (source: RELIEF project).

  • The purchase of organic food by all EU public authorities could offset the eutrophication impacts of over 3.5 million people and reduce green house gas emissions by an amount equivalent to the emissions of 600,000 people (source: RELIEF project)

  • SMEs win only 31-38% of public procurement contracts by value which is substantially less than their overall share in the economy (52% of combined turnover) suggests they should. (source: European Parliament).

  • Analysis suggests that for consumer goods makers, high-tech players, and other manufacturers, 40-60% of a company’s carbon footprint resides upstream in its supply chain from raw materials, transport, and packaging to the energy consumed in manufacturing processes. For retailers, the figure can be 80% (source: European Commission)

  • Improving the eco-design of products can both decrease the consumption of energy and raw materials and improve the sustainability and recyclability of the products. Compared to the business-as-usual scenario, by 2020 the eleven eco-design regulations which have already been adopted will give an annual energy saving equivalent to 7-8% of the EU's electricity consumption in 2007 (source: European Commission).

  • As a result of the policy on Green Purchasing and the Green Purchasing Network (GPN) the market share of environmental business in Japan is rapidly increasing, expected to reach €430 billion in 2010. The target is to have 30% of private companies applying green purchasing principles (source: European Commission).

  • In the tertiary sector, office equipment is responsible for up to 40% of the electricity consumed in every building (source: European Commission).