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To City and Urban Leaders: Seize this moment!

11 December 2018

If global CO2 emissions reach zero in thirty years, there is a one-in two chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. If the world fails to meet the 1,5°C target, human and ecological systems will reach the limits of their adaptive capacity, triggering the disruption of basic economic activity. This was found in the recently published IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° (SR1.5) highlighting the significance of the 1.5° threshold. Accomplishing the complex task of emission reduction requires tremendous changes in energy production and use, land use and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure, and industry.

The IPCC published a special Summary report for Urban Policy makers, because urban areas are a key player in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The summary calls for engaged officials and stakeholders who can influence urban economies, urban form and infrastructure, the connectivity between urban and rural areas, and behavioural choices in support of the sustainable urban transition. This transition is also enabled by sharing knowledge, adapt and replicate experience of successful implementation through membership in international city networks such as ICLEI, Procura+, and GLCN.

Examples for solution approaches are also listed in the summary and range from:

·         Energy efficiency in buildings through for example design of zero carbon homes;

·         Further uptake of green infrastructure through nature-based solutions;

·         Sustainable urban design such as the compact city model and pedestrianisation of centres;

·         Industrial-urban symbiosis towards material recycling and reuse at the city-regional level;

·         Decentralized energy grid i.e. micro grids.

Projects like the EU project SPP regions have demonstrated that powerful tools such as innovation procurement of sustainable, low carbon solutions can reduce CO2 emissions significantly. It takes forward thinking officials to implement these practices in their cities and reach a zero carbon world.

Read the full Summary report for Urban Policy Makers here.

Catalan Regional Tender Results in Low Emission Vehicle Fleet

6 December 2018

“Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement could save about a million lives a year worldwide by 2050 through reductions in air pollution alone.” This is the main finding of a WHO report released this week at the occasion of the COP24 currently taking place in Katowice (Poland). One of the most dangerous and costly public health threats, air pollution in urban areas is one of the top policy priorities in the EU and worldwide.

Cities themselves can be part of the solution by purchasing low emission vehicles. Only a year ago the fleet for service and police vehicles of the Catalan Association of Towns and Counties consisted of 95% diesel vehicles, which contribute significantly to poor air quality. Thanks to a new framework agreement awarded in 2018, 308 new vehicles were purchased, over 80% of which are low or zero emission vehicles.

The call for tender for the new framework contract was developed as part of the European project SPP regions, which promoted the creation and expansion of European regional networks of municipalities working together on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and procurement of innovation. Collaboration among the public bodies sends a stronger signal of demand for sustainability and innovation to suppliers and help local authorities achieve ambitious sustainability targets.

Read the full case study here.

More inspiring examples of how public procurement can promote health and air quality can be found in our Resource Centre.

At the cross-roads: take the right turn towards electric buses

4 December 2018

This week, all eyes are on Katowice (Poland) and the Climate Change Conference COP24, where countries have to agree on how they will achieve the the goal of minimizing climate change to less than 2°C warming, decided three years earlier at COP21 in Paris. In his opening address Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary-General) highlights which steps need to be taken immediately to get closer to reaching this goal – one of them is the electrification of transport, which accounts for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to dangerously poor air quality in cities.

A new report titled “Electric buses arrive on time“ (Transport & Environment), examines the transition towards sustainable, low carbon transport through public procurement. It maps out the shift from diesel powered to electric busses in Europe. “In 2017, the number of electric bus orders more than doubled - from 400 in 2016 to more than 1,000. In 2018, the market share is estimated to be around 9%, marking the transition from niche to mainstream and the beginning of a steep and necessary uptake curve.”

Electric buses already offer a better total cost of ownership (TCO) than diesel buses when external (public health) costs are included. Beyond costs, electric buses offer many additional benefits compared to their fossil fueled counterparts: superior image and comfort, no stranded assets from investing in gas infrastructure, using locally produced (renewable) energy and ensuring energy sovereignty by replacing oil consumption.

The earlier cities transition to a zero emission bus fleet, the better.

However, there are challenges to implementation, for instance coping with the higher capital costs of zero-emissions buses. Lucien Mathieu, author of the report and transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E, has a solution for that, too: “a grant could be made available through the new EU budget from 2020. This should be complemented by a Europe-wide zero emission sales target for new buses.”(Euroactiv)

For inspirational examples of zero emission public procurement, visits the website of ICLEI led European project BuyZET, in which cities use procurement of innovative solutions for zero emission urban delivery of goods and services.

For more case studies on the topic of clean urban transport, head over to our resource centre.

New EU GPP Criteria – focusing on indoor cleaning services

29 November 2018

The European Commission's DG Environment has released new Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria for indoor cleaning services, which aim to make it easier for public authorities to purchase cleaning goods and services with reduced environmental impacts.

By focusing on cleaning services, the new EU GPP Criteria recognise that the key life cycle impacts of cleaning services relate to the energy consumed in providing the service, and the frequency and quality of the service, in addition to the chemical and production impacts linked to cleaning products.

The criteria are designed to be easily integrated in part or fully into any public authority's tender documents with minimal editing, and are closely aligned to the requirements of the EU Ecolabel, therefore making verification easier for procurers.

A webinar introducing the new criteria will be held on the 18 December 14.00 - 15.30. To register, visit the ICLEI registration page.

Circular Procurement - taking a bold step for sustainability

26 November 2018

A recently published report titled ‘Building circularity into our economies through sustainable procurement’, (UNEP) explores how to integrate circular economy in public procurement. The report highlights the power of institutional purchasing and advocates for circular procurement as a tool that advances the sustainability goals.

The report outlines two pillars of implementing circular public procurement and provides guidance for public authorities on how to put them into action: 

Pillar 1 - Promoting circular supply chains by procuring more circular products, materials and services - such as using circular procurement criteria in tender specifications.

Pillar 2 - Promoting new business models based on innovative and resource-efficient solutions - such as adopting supplier take-back systems

These strategies need to be enabled by cooperating with other organizations or new legal instruments that favour circularity in value-chains. For purchasing units wishing to get started, the report provides lessons such as ‘start with easy wins’ or ‘engage suppliers at an early stage’.

Additional powerful drivers to advance the inclusion of circularity in procurement practices are setting ambitious targets - as cities around the world did as part of the Global Leads City Network on Sustainable Public Procurement (GLCN), as well as knowledge sharing and actively contributing to international initiatives such as Procura+.

The report draws from previous work by, among others, the EU and ICLEI, showing that circular public procurement is already applied by forward thinking public bodies. There are many good practice cases to learn from, which you can explore in our Resource Centre

Read the full report here.

UrbanWINS CityMatch activity to focus on sustainable procurement

22 November 2018

Applications to the 3rd exchange of the UrbanWINS CityMatch Programme are now open. The activity will be hosted by the City of Malmö (Sweden) from 6-8 March 2019 and will focus on contract management for strategic and sustainable public procurement. Participants in this exchange will discuss, together with contract managers from Malmö purchasing cleaning and transport services, about market analysis before tender and will go through the criteria for the evaluation of tenders.

The UrbanWINS City Match Exchange Programme is open to politicians, policymakers, procurement officials, environmental and utilities service providers, and waste managers, amongst others. The goal of the programme is to bring people together to share knowledge, experience and working methods on sustainable and innovation procurement on the waste and resources sector. Participants in the first UrbanWINS CityMatch had the opportunity to convene in Rome (Italy) to discover how furniture circular procurement and Green Public Procurement monitoring work in practice. The second edition – applications are already closed – will take place next January in Zürich (Switzerland) and will shed light on the reuse of recycled concrete.

UrbanWINS is a three-year EU-funded project that aims at developing and testing methods for designing and implementing eco-innovative strategic plans for waste prevention and management in eight pilot cities: Cremona, Albano Laziale, Pomezia and Torino (Italy); Leiria (Portugal); Bucharest (Romania), and Manresa and Sabadell (Spain).

To apply to the 3rd UrbanWINS CityMatch Exchange Programme, visit here.

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