Sustainable procurement resource centre - Information, news & exchange

Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre


The RELIEF project provided quantified figures on the potential environmental benefits of green public procurement (GPP) in Europe for the first time. The project, which ran from 2001 to 2003, was supported under the 5th Framework Programme of DG Research (European Commission). The results of the project have been widely quoted by the European Commission and other international institutions. These are available as follows:

  • The Results leaflet, which provides a summarised overview of the findings [pdf file]

  • An extract from the book Buying into the Environment, available through the Greenleaf publishing house, which provides more detail on how the figures were calculated [pdf file]


The project also led to the development of the Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign, and the accompanying Procura+ Manual: A guide to cost-effective sustainable public procurement. The Manual is now in its 2nd edition, and can be downloaded here.


The project was carried out by a consortium of research partners, coordinated by ICLEI, from five countries, and supported by the cities of Kolding, Hamburg, Malmö, Miskolc and Zürich. The research partners (apart from ICLEI) involved were the following:

IFIP - Institut für Finanzwissenschaft und Infrastrukturpolitik, Technische Universität Wien (Austria)

IVM - Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

dk-t - dk-TEKNIK ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT (now known as Force Technology), København (Denmark)

IFZ - Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit und Kultur (IFZ), Graz (Austria)

CES - Centre for Environmental Studies (CES), Budapest (Hungary)

TUD - Lehrstuhl für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, insb. betriebliche Umweltökonomie, Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)

- Institute for Applied Ecology e.V., Darmstadt (Germany)


Status Reports on current green purchasing activities were produced for all the city partners in 2001, and can be downloaded here as pdf files:




Further publications from RELIEF

  • Background reports on the procurement of IT equipment [pdf file], cleaning services [pdf file] and buildings [pdf file]. These had served as the discussion basis for the Procura+ Criteria and Manual, and now have been published as seperate documents
  • RELIEF policy recommdations. Download a summary [pdf file] or the full versions on European local environmental policy support [pdf file], Internal Market Policy [pdf file] and Integrated Product Policy [pdf file]
  • Case studies on innovation-oriented procurement:
    • UBS Bank, Switzerland: Demand of a big supplier for computer monitors triggers new development [pdf file]
    • City of Göteborg, Sweden: Procurement of Public Urban Transport Services [pdf file]
  • Results of a legal survey on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement and green purchasing [pdf file] as well a a survey on joint purchasing and enforcement through company complaints [pdf file]
  • Report Three Scenarios on Green Public Procurement, prepared by IVM [pdf file]
  • The World Buys Green, an international survey on national green procurement practices [pdf file]
  • Scientific Background and Workplan of the project [pdf file]