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Did you know: We have only one Planet Earth

15 November 2018

“We are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and the enormous impact we have on it. We may also be the last that can act to reverse this trend. From now until 2020 will be a decisive moment in history” – concludes the Living Planet Report 2018, recently published by WWF. The report shows the devastating environmental consequences of our way of production and consumption for biodiversity. For instance, almost 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.

The report emphasizes that biodiversity loss is not only unfortunate in and of its own, but it risks the very foundation of human prosperity: “As we better understand our reliance on natural systems it’s clear that nature is not just a ‘nice to have’.” Healthy ecosystems offer services worth about US$125 trillion a year that enable us as human species to thrive.

The report highlights that “Consumption is the driving force behind the unprecedented planetary change we are witnessing, through the increased demand for energy, land and water”. Thus, procuring products, goods and services sustainably across sectors and along supply chains is a significant part of the solution to re-design how humans can thrive within capacities of the Earth’s ecosystems.

For a shift in processes, practices and structures, concepts such as circular procurement or sustainable public procurement (SPP) are necessary and already applied by forward thinking public authorities. To learn how your procurement department can make a change have a look at our Resource Centre.

If you want to get involved in this important transition, consider becoming a Procura+ member, joining a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement.

Read the full report, the summary and get to know more on how to take action.

Global North-South Knowledge Exchange Event on Sustainable Public Procurement

13 November 2018

Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is growing in importance globally as a tool to achieve sustainable development and take climate action, particularly with the global commitment to SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production. The project ‘Municipalities Promoting and Shaping Sustainable Value Creation (MUPASS) – Public Procurement For Fair and Sustainable Production’, which ICLEI Africa is supporting, is a project of the German Development Institute (DIE), that analyses potentials and challenges in this policy field.

As part of this project, from 17 – 19 October 2018, eight representatives from Sub-Saharan Africa attended the MUPASS Global North-South Knowledge Exchange in Bremen (Germany) along with European city governments and other stakeholders working in SPP. This intensive three-day learning engagement gave representatives a chance to share their practice and learn from one another how to advance SPP.  Main challenges addressed during the event included the management of supply chains and broader change management principles needed to address climate change and sustainability challenges.

Mutual and equal learning is an important aspect of the project, as was underlined during the event. Attendants also had the chance to learn more about the ICLEIs work in this field, in particular the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Public Procurement and the Procura+ Networks, giving examples of good practice and shared challenges between the regions.

ICLEI Africa has been working with the German Development Institute to undertake research in to SPP in Sub-Saharan Africa and supported and participated in this event as part of this work.

Learn more about ICLEI Africa and their Sustainable Public Procurement work here.

Learn more about the MUPASS programme here.

 

European parliament adopts regulation banning single use plastics

9 November 2018

The EU Parliament approved an EU wide ban of several single-use plastic items by 2021 and adopted strict recycling regulation over other plastics such as beverage bottles, food containers at rates of up to 90% by 2025. This ban is a significant contribution tackling plastic pollution in the environment. Single-use items included in the ban such as cutlery, straws or cotton buds make up over 70% of marine litter. The intention behind banning the items is “…to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.” says Frédérique Ries (MEP ALDE, Belgium).

The single use plastic items covered by this regulation were selected since there are sustainable alternative readily available. However, this ban could have implications on how public procurement is handling catering and event management as these often rely heavily on reusable cutlery. Procurement will need to consider alternatives such as reusable cutlery and dishes, which come with a different set of service requirements. 

As part of the ICLEI project InnProBio the Swedish region Skane has set a cutting-edge example for how public procurement can tackle the issue of plastic pollution. Through innovation procurement the region has managed to introduce a new product in all regional hospitals: Their disposable aprons are now made from a newly developed biobased material that meets high performance and sustainability criteria. Learn more about the procurement procedure, results and lessons learned, here.  

For more information on the EU single use plastic ban go here
 

 

Suwon – recycled asphalt unlocks major benefits of GPP

6 November 2018

Green Public Procurement enabled recycling of 33,617 tons of asphalt concrete in total and created environmental and economic benefits worth more than 800 million KRW in Suwon, South Korea.

This was achieved through the “SPP Tender Implementa­tion and Impact Monitoring” that is being conducted in Asia under the UN 10 Year Framework Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Pro­duction (10 YFP) since March 2017. In addition, Suwon reached their targets for increasing the ratios of the annual GPP to over 40% and that of Recycled Asphalt Concrete (RAC) to more than 20% through this project.

During the project, the city of Suwon determined to recycle of asphalt concrete as its core influence area and pledged to make its utmost efforts to promote green public procurement in cooperation with ICLEI Korea Office (KO) and Korea Environ­mental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI). The step-by-step process was guided by the Procura+ Manual, resulting in a strategy of five phases. More detail is available in the case study published by ICLEI KO as part of the UN10YFP SPP working group No.1a.

In the future, the city of Suwon wants to build on this successful practice with the aim of becoming a leading city in terms of green public procurement by sharing their experience across the world.

Read the full case study here

Launch of TCO Certified, generation 8

2 November 2018

How far away is a future where all IT products have a circular and sustainable life cycle?

It might come closer when there are specific criteria for helping suppliers and buyers to contribute to a more sustainable future toward the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. TCO did exactly so, launching a wide range of updated and new criteria, designed to promote a circular approach to IT products along with transparency and responsibility in the supply chain.

Want to learn more about the criteria? Then, join the launch event 14.00-17.30 on December 4, 2018, in Brussels.

The event is moderated by human rights lawyer and author Parul Sharma, who has led the Swedish Government’s delegation for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The keynote speaker is the sustainability expert and award-winning designer Leyla Acaroglu. Challenging the audience with thought-provoking ideas, she will talk about how innovation can help drive positive environmental and social change and how disruptive design solutions can help promote the circular economy.

Register here.

The Circular Revolution – Remanufacturing, Repair and Reuse

30 October 2018

In the 20th century, we dug up, chopped down, drilled for or harvested 34 times more construction materials, 27 times more ore and minerals, 12 times more fossil fuels and 3.6 times more biomass than in all years before. Today, two-thirds of us live in cities, draining nature of materials to build homes, schools, hospitals, roads, transport systems and factories. Urbanization, together with a growing middle-class, has increased demand for consumer goods.  

Hence, re-thinking how we manufacture industrial products and deal with them at the end of their useful life could provide breakthrough environmental, social and economic benefits, according to a new report by the International Resource Panel and UN Environment, released at the World Circular Economy Forum, in October 2018.

The report highlights that if products were re-manufactured, comprehensively refurbished, repaired and directly re-used, the amount of new material needed could be significantly reduced – by 80-98%for re-manufacturing, 82-99 %for comprehensive refurbishing, and 94-99 per cent for repair.

The implementation of value-retention processes (VRP) can be steered by governments through public procurement strategies with a leading-by-example approach. For instance, through policies, which provide a level playing-field for VRP product options in order to establish new markets for early-stage product innovations or low rates of adoption for innovative processes.

As one example, the project Circular PP aims to address the societal challenge of resource efficiency through procurement. It demonstrates how public authorities can exploit synergies between public and private stakeholders in their procurement, with the goal of creating innovative circular processes and products.

If you like to know more about how to integrate circularity into public procurement, consult our guide.

The full report mentioned above is available here.

Make ICT Fair: Live Market Engagement connects buyers and suppliers for fair ICT

25 October 2018

Universities, hospitals, cities, and other public bodies in the European Union (EU) together procured electronic devices such as desktop or laptop computers, servers or smartphones for about €50.3 billion in 2011 – this spending power can be put to good use. Working together, public buyers can shape the market by requiring corporations to implement social and environmental standards and monitoring their progress.

To achieve this, a live market engagement event, which took place this October in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), back to back the EcoProcura conference, brought together suppliers and public procurers to discuss social responsibility in ICT supply-chains.
Public authorities from across Europe took the chance to inform suppliers of information and communication technology (ICT) of their socially responsible procurement needs and intentions, possibly for upcoming tenders. For suppliers the event offered the chance to present available solutions and to demonstrate their capacity to meet the requirements.

The event was held as part of the MakeICTFair project, a collaboration between 11 partners from public bodies and the civil society, which leverages public procurement’s power to create change and improve lives in electronics industry supply chains. The project conducts research, runs awareness campaigns and develops guidelines and criteria for public authorities to use in their ICT tender processes.

This first live market engagement event was one of many more to come, answering to interest from both suppliers and procurers to engage in dialogue to affect change. If you are interested in the topic of fair ICT supply chains and procurement, there are many opportunities to get involved: be part of the discussion online using the #MakeICTFair, read more about social sustainability in ICT here and stay tuned for upcoming events as part of this project. In case you’d like to participate consider joining the SRPP Procura+ Interest Group.

Follow-up with the event:

Agenda

Presentations:

Introductions - ICLEI | Electronics Watch

From Public Authorities - Aalborg | Advanced Procurement of Universities and Colleges Scottland | Barcelona | Haarlem | Partnership for IT-Procurement in French-speaking SwitzerlandShared Service Organisation Noord & DUO

From Suppliers - Circular Computing | Dell | HP

 

Advancing Bioeconomy – the new strategic pathway for the EU

23 October 2018

This month, the EU Commission put forward a new bioeconomy strategy including 14 specific steps towards implementation. The underlying aim of the strategy is to help address global challenges such as climate change by providing innovative solutions that deliver on targets around circular resource management and local economies.

"It has become evident that we need to make a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and discard goods. By developing our bioeconomy – the renewable segment of the circular economy – we can find new and innovative ways of providing food, products and energy, without exhausting our planet's limited biological resources. Moreover, rethinking our economy and modernising our production models is not just about our environment and climate. There is also great potential here for new green jobs, particularly in rural and coastal areas.” - Jyrki Katainen (Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness)

Public procurement can play an important role in the transition to a biobased economy. InnProBio, a European project that finished earlier this year, focused on bio-based innovation in public procurement. The results aim to assist European public entities in their purchasing decisions and actions when it comes to bio-based products and services. Click here to see all available resources published by the project.

The full bioeconomy strategy can be accessed here.

Trailblazer Ghent – procuring traffic management as a service

18 October 2018

Being stuck in traffic or experiencing delays is very common. In Belgium, for instance, the average driver typically spends up to 39 hours in congested traffic. Clearly there is a huge need for traffic management solutions which engage with all the complexities of mobility - and this is exactly what the City of Ghent has devised with its TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service, which recently won the Civitas ‘Bold Measure Award’.

The ICLEI member used innovation procurement to purchase a traffic management platform which could revolutionise mobility in Ghent. How is this going to change traffic more specifically? If everything rolls-out as planned, users can be informed about issues around their mode of transport, and City of Ghent employees will be able to use the information to adjust traffic lights, inform residents, evaluate and prepare mobility measures when needed.

The traffic platform provides governments and citizens with a wealth of traffic information in real time aimed to optimise urban mobility. It combines mobility information from data and transport companies and other players and communicates them automatically to citizens. As a cloud-based platform, no major hardware investments are required. It is directed at public procurers working for small- and medium-sized cities.

This procurement was conducted as part of the TMaaS project. If you want to learn more, read these 10 Steps to Implement TMaaS and find out how to become a Replicator City here.

For more information on Ghent's wider activities in sustainable and innovation procurement, you can visit its profile on Procura+ or the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Development.

Towards circular public procurement: let’s learn together

16 October 2018

It is tricky to transform the enthusiasm about a sustainable concept such as the circular economy into governmental regulation and legislation, finds a new article by Jo-Anne St. Godard. Institutional inertia and administrative fragmentation do not necessarily blow new wind for the sail.

From a Canadian perspective, the article highlights that the structural and sectoral fragmentation in public bodies increases the lack of awareness on topics that need non-siloed thinking to realize a transition to the circular economy.

The article emphasizes that an approach to the rescue would be to learn from other existing cases, especially from the European examples. Organisations such as ICLEI provide knowledge transfer, capacity building through collaboration, and guidance that can help implement new paradigms such as Circular Public Procurement (CPP). In 2017, a guiding report was published - read it here.

Despite being a powerful tool in and of itself, integrative institutional structures and regulations need to enable CPP. Policymakers, therefore, must provide suitable conditions for circular procurement to expand.

To learn more about the work of ICLEI click here and to read the full article click here.