Cities should demand zero emission construction sites

14 June 2018

Diesel engines are major contributors to urban air pollution, carbon emissions and noise pollution, yet to date, little attention has been paid to their use in the building and construction activities and the risks that they pose to the health of construction workers and neighbouring residents.

A new report by Bellona argues that cities - as major purchasers of construction work - need to begin harnessing their procurement power to encourage greater innovation and a transformative shift to clean vehicles in the construction industry. At a European level, there is also an opportunity to include construction site vehicles in the ongoing reformulation of the EU's Clean Vehicles Directive.

Electrified machinery is cleaner, quieter, and has lower operational costs. It is also becoming increasingly available on the market, and some cities are already leading the way, such as the City of Oslo, which recently procured four kindergartens with a requirement for fossil free construction sites (a case study is available here).

The full report on 'Zero Emission Construction Sites' can be read here.

New tool developed to help green urban furniture purchasing

7 June 2018

The first version of a Green Urban Furniture (GUF) Tool has been developed by the LIFE FUTURE project, which aims to support public bodies to purchase more environmentally friendly urban furniture.

The manufacturing of urban furniture, as well as choices around which materials to use, can generate environmental impacts. But comparing these impacts can be difficult.  Some materials are durable, but require chemical coatings or more energy in manufacturing, while others might involve less impacts in production, but have a shorter lifespan.

The GUF Tool has been created to help this decision making. It allows environmental criteria to be easily generated and inserted into public procurement tender requirements. It also creates a checklist which helps to validate the offers that bidders provide for their products.

The GUF Tool - as well as more information on how it has been created - can be accessed here.

2018 TA award - Win €10,000 for your next procurement action

5 June 2018

The winner of the 2018 Transformative Action Award will receive a prize of €10,000 to help initiate further transformative actions in the winner’s city or region.

Innovative and sustainable procurement actions working towards socio-economic, socio-cultural or technological transformation are particularly welcomed, especially those which showcase the use of public procurement as an instrument to accelerate the market introduction of innovative and sustainable technologies.

The award, co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Country, and the City of Aalborg (Denmark), rewards ongoing or concluded Transformative Actions that use the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration to bring about the socio-cultural, socio-economic, and technological transformation of societies.

Current or concluded actions in the field of procurement can apply for the award by the closing date of 31 July 2018. Applicants will be shortlisted in September and the award ceremony will be held at the European Committee of the Regions, Brussels (Belgium) in November 2018.

For more information and to apply for the Transformative Action Award, visit the Sustainable Cities Platform.

Procura+ East Asia network for sustainable procurement launched

30 May 2018

ICLEI East Asia has launched the Procura+ East Asia network, the first network of its kind in the region, which will serve the interests of local governments and accelerate the uptake of green public procurement.

Green public procurement has received increasing attention of decision-makers from emerging economies in Asia as an effective mechanism to achieve emission reduction targets and sustainable development goals, and at EcoProcura China 2018, held in Beijing on 16-17 May, it was officially announced that a new network would be established the uptake of green public procurement across the region.

Participants of Procura+ East Asia will be brought together through regular events and exchange programs to collectively develop new policies and criteria on specific areas related to green procurement. The Procura+ East Asia will also showcase participants’ achievement on the global stage and celebrate their success through the Procura+ Awards.

Procura+ East Asia is an affiliated network of Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.

Reducing energy use of data centres through innovation procurement

29 May 2018

Data centres might be easy to forget about, but they have become central to our everyday lives, acting as the hubs of our increasingly digitally powered societies - and consuming an enormous amount of energy in the process.

Global demand for energy from internet-connected devices already consumes 3-5% of the worlds electricty, and the need for data centers is only expected to increase as our use of digital devices and collection of data continues to rise. Mitigating strategies such as powering centres through renewable energy and increasing their energy efficiency are therefore extremely important, and as demonstrated by the EURECA project, can achieve significant results.

Funded by the European Commission, the EURECA project used a public procurement of innovation approach to support new build and retrofit data centre projects. The resulting pilot projects saved over 131 GWh/year of primary energy. As well as creating training modules on innovation procurement for data centres, the project has also compiled a market directory, and a tool which helps procurers self-assess the efficiency of their data centre and find solutions.

For more information, visit the EURECA project website.

ICLEI World Congress to feature sustainable procurement

24 May 2018

In recent years, sustainable procurement has grown in both scope and depth, as the knowledge and techniques developed by frontrunners have been disseminated and standards raised.

The ICLEI World Congress 2018 on 19 - 22 June in Montreal will explore how sustainable procurement can address different sustainability agendas and call for ambitious and strategic sustainable procurement practices during the 4th High Level Event of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN).

The GLCN brings together 14 cities from across the globe - including Montreal - to drive a transition to sustainable consumption and production, by acting as ambassadors of sustainable procurement and championing a resource efficeint, low carbon and socially responsible society.

Have a look at the full sustainable procurement track and learn more about Ville de Montréal's ambitious sustainable procurement targets on the GLCN website.

Green Week showcases sustainable public procurement in cities

22 May 2018

This year's EU Green Week - taking place between the 21-25 May - will focus on "Green Cities for a Greener Future", and will celebrate the many ways in which cities can improve their environmental footprint while also becoming better places to live and work for citizens.

One key way cities can reduce their impact is through public procurement, which forms the focus of the "Greener cities through smart public procurement" session on Tuesday 22 May. During this session, the City of Budapest and City of Nijmegen will share practical experience on integrating sustainable public procurement into their overall procurement strategies, and Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, will provide an overview of how cities can utilise their procurement for the maximum social and environmental benefit, and the networks and initiatives which exist to support them in this.

Both DG Grow and DG Environment will also be present at the session, providing further information on the policies and tools developed at the EU level to facilitate the uptake of sustainable public procurement.

For more information on the details of this event, visit the EU Green Week website.

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.