European Commission publishes innovation procurement guidance

17 May 2018

New guidance has been published by the European Commission's DG GROW, addressing the fundamental aspects of innovation procurement - why it is important, who should be interested, and most importantly, how it can be done.

The guidance is based around good practice examples, and aims to help public procurers with a range of practical issues, including reducing administrative burdens, using selection criteria effectively, mobilising innovation brokers, and implementing SME-friendly payment schemes. It covers a range of alternative public procurement procedures - such as competitive dialogue, design contests and innovation partnerships - providing inspiration and advice for implementing these.

In addition to practical examples, the guidance also highlights wider innovation procurement initiatives, such as the Procure2Innovate project on establishing and expanding innovation competence centres in 10 EU Member States, and draws attention to important points for sharing and learning about international experiences in innovation procurement, including the Procurement of Innovation Platform and the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.

This guidance is released as part of the Renewed Agenda for Research and Innovation, and is available here.

EcoProcura 2018: Four days left to submit to call for contributions

15 May 2018

With only four days left until the call for contributions closes, don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your work to attendees from across Europe and other world regions at EcoProcura 2018 – a three day conference on sustainable, circular, and innovation procurement, taking place from 3-5 October in Nijmegen (Netherlands).

The deadline for the call for contributions for the Market Lounge, Speed Presentation, Disruptors and Game Changers, and Supplier Engagement conference sessions is Friday 18 May.

Procurement practitioners, public authorities, policy makers, suppliers and legal experts are invited to submit proposals online via the EcoProcura 2018 website.

Organisations, projects and businesses, which offer sustainable procurement services and expertise, are also invited to apply for a space at the EcoProcura 2018 Exhibition zone.  The Exhibition zone will serve as a key meeting and networking spot, featuring procurement- related initiatives and organisations. For more information about costs and layout and to secure your spot today, contact us at

For all the latest conference updates and information, from information on breakout sessions, practical information on Nijmegen and how to get to the city, and information about our speakers, visit the conference website.

Credibility of ecolabels challenged by new report

11 May 2018

Ecolabels have come to play an important role in how many consumers - and procurers - reassure themselves about the environmental and ethical implications of the things that they buy. But the credibility of many prominent ecolabels has been challenged by a recent report from the Changing Markets Foundation, which raises questions about the role that ecolabels should play in sustainable public procurement.

The False Promise of Certification focuses on three areas - palm oil, fisheries and textiles. Growing consumption and unsustainable sourcing in each of these has been the source of major environmental problems, and they are also now the subject of some of the largest and best known ecolabel schemes. The vast majority of these ecolabels, however, have been found to be ineffective: they lack transparency, they fail to set adequate standards, and ultimately, they have been certifying unsustainable practices and have failed to halt environmental destruction.

Ecolabel criteria are often drawn on by procurers to set their sustainability specifications, and certification under a relevant ecolabel scheme is often accepted as proof that a product meets the desired standards. This report suggests that, at the very least, procurers need to consider carefully the governance of schemes and how and why criteria have been set when drawing from ecolabels. Moving forward, this may signal a need for wider change in procurement practices.

The full report on "The False Promise of Certification" can be read here.

Webinar on employment conditions in the electronics sector

8 May 2018

A webinar organised by Electronics Watch will take place on Tuesday the 29th of May 11am - 12pm, looking at the specific links between employee suicides and employment conditions.

Titled "The Missing Link: Suicide & Employment Conditions in the Chinese Electronics Sector", the webinar is based on a forthcoming report by the Economic Rights Institute and Electronics Watch. Webinar participants will be guided through the impacts on human health of particular employment conditions, including income, shift work, the speed and intensity of work, overtime, time-off, respect, discipline and violence, and will provide recommendations on what industry, the Chinese government, and public buyers can and should do to mitigate these risk.

Electronics Watch is also currently working with ICLEI and other partners on the Make ICT Fair project, which aims to improve the lives of workers impacted in ICT supply chains. This project began in November 2017 and will run for three years.

To find out more about the webinar and to register, please click visit the Electronics Watch webpage.

More ambition encouraged for the new Clean Vehicles Directive

4 May 2018

The Clean Vehicles Directive was first introduced by the European Commission in 2009 in order to promote innovation and help accelerate the transition to low- and zero emission vehicles by requiring public authorities to take energy consumption and emissions into account when purchasing vehicles.

Almost ten years on, the Commission is continuing to encourage innovation by proposing new targets and a reform the Clean Vehicles Directive to make it easier for public procurers to use.

The European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) has now produced a draft opinion on these proposals which calls for greater ambition, arguing that requiring the procurement of "ultra-low emission vehicles" is an essential opportunity to deepen and broaden innovation in the European vehicle manufacturing sector, pushing it to regain the lead in the global market for these technologies.

The present formulation of the Clean Vehicles Directive remains in force. For more information on how to comply with this regulation and implement green vehicle procurement, the Clean Fleets project - coordinated by ICLEI - developed a range of resources including guidance, training and a LCC tool, all avialable online.

URBACT Procure promotes making change through public procurement

2 May 2018

Launched in September 2015, the URBACT Procure project was created to provide a space for 11 European cities to exchange and develop solutions to major urban challenges and promote sustainable urban development using public procurement.

Over the past two years, the project partners have met to explore a number of social, economic and environmental topics, including a masterclass delivered by ICLEI on social and green public procurement.

Now drawing to a close, the URBACT Procure project has released a range of resources to help introduce the potential of public procurement and changed spending culture to a wider audience. A video titled "How we spend money can make a difference" and an accompanying infographic on "How to add value in public procurement" provide an easy overview of public procurement, including tips and recommendations which came out of the networks findings. Versions of the video are also available with translated subtitles in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian and Polish on Procure’s YouTube channel.

For more information on URBACT Procure visit the URBACT website.

EcoProcura 2018 launches registration and extends call for contributions

26 April 2018

Registration is now open for the EcoProcura 2018 conference on sustainable, circular, and innovation procurement, taking place from 3-5 October in Nijmegen (Netherlands). EcoProcura 2018, marking 20 years of the conference series, will bring together over 400 procurers, policy makers, businesses, researchers and international organisations.

The interactive programme will present, discuss and identify ways of using procurement as an effective tool in the strategic decision making process of a public authority. It will focus on important policy areas for sustainable, innovative and circular future, such as sustainable mobility, renewable energy and low carbon infrastructure. Approaches to organisational culture and behaviour change to achieve sustainable, innovation and circular procurement will also be explored.  In addition, participants will have the chance to learn more about topics such as, life-cycle costing, design of specifications and monitoring of contracts.

Confirmed speakers for the conference include Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Chairman, Solar Impulse Foundation, Hubert Bruls, Mayor of Nijmegen, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö (Sweden) and Mark Hidson, Global Director, ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre, with further speakers to be announced soon.

The deadline for call for contributions for the Market Lounge, Speed Presentation, Disruptors and Game Changers, and Supplier Engagement conference sessions has been extended to 18 May 2018. Procurement practitioners, public authorities, policy makers, suppliers and legal experts are invited to submit proposals online via the EcoProcura 2018 website.

For more information and to register, or submit a proposal to the call for contributions, visit the EcoProcura 2018 website.

BuyZET transport procurement cities publish priority reports

24 April 2018

The BuyZET project has released Priority Analysis reports for its three core cities of Oslo, Copenhagen and Rotterdam. The transport procurement project, coordinated by ICLEI, seeks to boost demand for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and other zero emission urban delivery solutions on the European market, and to develop procurement plans to achieve zero emission urban delivery of goods and services to the public sector, and thereby improve quality of life in European cities.

Each city partner, in an earlier phase, has carried out a mapping exercise to identify a shortlist of procurement areas which have the biggest impact on transport emissions within the city. Following the mapping exercise, each city has prepared an Initial Analysis Report. These reports explore potential pathways to zero emission delivery for those shortlisted areas identified in the mapping reports, through discussion with internal stakeholders, and dialogue with other European cities and projects.

The reports are intended to act as the basis for in-depth market engagement activities to identify innovative solutions, and will inform future project actions, and are available to download the Oslo, Copenhagen and Rotterdam pages of the project website.

For more information, visit the BuyZET website.

European Parliament endorses Circular Economy Package

19 April 2018

The European Parliament endorsed the EU Circular Economy Package at its plenary session on 18 April, aiming not only at waste targets but "profoundly innovating our system of production" and implementing sustainability measures impacting on industry, consumers and public procurers.

The Package, expected to be endorsed by the European Council in the coming months, will see at least 55% of municipal waste (from households and businesses) being recycled by 2025, rising to 60% by 2030, and 65% by 2035. The draft law also limits the share of municipal waste being landfilled to a maximum of 10% by 2035.

Public authorities are at the forefront of waste management, and these new targets will impact how municipalities procure and provide waste collection services to their citizens. ICLEI, as partner in the UrbanWINS project, is currently linking the field of waste and resource management with GPP through its CityMatch programme, which is currently recruiting participants and hosts for staff exchange on sustainable and innovation procurement on waste topics.

For more information on the Circular Economy Package, visit the European Parliament's news website.

EU Ethical Trade Award open to social and innovative procurements

12 April 2018

The European Commission's DG Trade has extended the deadline for the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award until 20 April, and entrants with sustainable and social procurement success stories are invited to apply. The award is open to EU Cities of more than 20,000 inhabitants promoting or implementing initiatives (e.g. on fair trade or working rights, economic viability, environmental protection) which can improve living and working conditions in EU and non-EU supply chains.

The new award aims to recognise and celebrate cities’ achievements and positive impact in the area of social, economic and environmental sustainability in international trade. A particular emphasis is given to fair and ethical trade schemes as well as other non-governmental sustainability schemes that may bring more sustainable opportunities to small producers in third countries.

A video featuring the EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström sets out the award concept and benefits for cities considering applying. The awards ceremony will be held on 27 June in Brussels.

For more information on the award and to submit an application, visit the Trade City Award website.