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Rwandan school launches procurement programme to achieve sustainable development

13 March 2012

The management of the Rwandan School of Finance and Banking (SFB) in collaboration with the International Training Centre (ITC) of the International Labour Organisation launched a Procurement Management Programme on 1 March 2012.

The Rector of SFB, Professor Reid E. Whitlock, said the programme aims to promote the procurement sector in both the public and private sectors. He went on to say, "Procurement is a key ingredient in achieving sustainable development in any country, and it's in this regard that SFB in partnership with ITC came up with an agreement of launching a procurement management program in the country".

Hisham Labadi, Resident coordinator of ITC/ILO, and an international expert in procurement, particularly in procurement contract management and administration, said ITC has been mandated to carry out capacity building across the world in various developmental areas including the procurement sector. He said that procurement is also crucial in controlling financial resources and to effectively promote decision making in any nation.

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EcoProcura 2012 registration and call for contributions now open

12 March 2012

The online registration and call for contributions period are now open for EcoProcura 2012: New opportunities to deliver sustainable procurement and innovation. The event will take place in Malmö (Sweden) from 19-21 September 2012. Experts interested in presenting their ideas and experiences in sustainable public procurement and public procurement of innovation encouraged to submit their contributions by 27 April 2012.

EcoProcura 2012 will give participants the opportunity to learn about the latest legislation, strategies, guidance and practical solutions. The conference will also promote promote exchange and dialogue amongst representatives from the European Commission and European Parliament, procurers from all levels of government, policy-makers, as well as suppliers, manufacturers, and multipliers. To avoid missing out, register online today.

The conference programme will showcase inspirational success stories from both European and international cities, allowing more than 250 participants from countries across the globe to network and share their ideas and experiences.

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Reference to green public procurement in Commission’s 7EAP toned down

9 March 2012

The European Commission should propose an environmental inspection law, increase its waste ambitions and drive sustainable land use through targets and impact assessments, according to the European Parliament's environment committee. MEPs were voting on a draft, non-legislative resolution on the seventh Environmental Action Programme (7EAP), which will set the EU's environmental agenda to 2020 and beyond. The commission’s proposals are due in autumn.

While Environment committee MEPs backed Rapporteur Jo Leinen, a German Socialist MEP’s call for a more ambitious waste policy, calls for a binding energy efficiency target and a reference to green public procurement were softened. The most contentious issue for MEPs was sustainable land use. Socialists, Liberals and Greens narrowly passed an amendment asking the commission to start a debate on targets in this area.

The full parliament will vote on the resolution in April. EU environment ministers are due to hold their first debate on 7EAP in the same month. They also want the EU executive to ensure that Europe’s environmental impact assessment law contributes to sustainable land use. The scope of assessments should be tightened and extended beyond big projects, and should take a life-cycle approach, MEPs agreed. The commission has proposed a "light” EIA review this summer.

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Can procurement managers look beyond ISO14001?

7 March 2012

Chris Large of the Guardian Newspaper explores the question of how do you tell if a business is environmentally responsible? For many procurement teams this boils down to one question – does the business have ISO14001 (the International Organisation for Standarisation's environmental management standard)? However, just asking this question is not only too simplistic, it is actually counterproductive.

Using ISO14001, or any accreditation, as the test of environmental good health has two main problems. It forces a particular approach to environmental management upon a small business which may not suit it. It also focuses the supplier upon getting a certificate, rather than becoming environmentally responsible and sustainable. By specifying ISO14001 certification to any keen SME that wants to be green, the procurement manager is crushing their spirit, not helping them to learn and improve. The real test of environmental responsibility is whether the SME has a live, working Environmental Management System (EMS) that actually changes how the business operates. This EMS then leads to annual reductions in impact.

Any accreditation is only testing the existence of this system, just like ISO 9001 tests the Quality Management System. An SME's environmental management can be tested by asking three questions: How is responsibility for environmental management shared across all functions of your business? How do you monitor environmental performance? What improvements have you made to environmental performance over the last year and what are your priorities for the coming year? When this sort of dialogue is opened with suppliers, the process becomes much more collaborative. These qualitative answers allow excellent SMEs to be recognised above those that do the minimum to achieve the accreditation.

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Public procurement to benefit youth in Kenya

1 March 2012

The Kenyan Government has committed to ensuring that 10 percent of all Government procurement be allocated to the youth to further empower them. President Mwai Kibaki also directed the Attorney General and the Minister for Finance to remove the legal bottlenecks that hinder the youth from accessing Government contracts.

Noting that the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports cannot deal with all youth issues single-handedly, President Kibaki expressed the need for concerted efforts from all Government departments and the private sector. Consequently, the President asked all ministries to ensure they include youth focused targets in the performance contracts of all their departments.

"As a government we will continue supporting the youth because they are our nation's best hope," President Kibaki said. The Head of State was speaking during celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

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US Presidential memorandum calls for increased federal procurement of bio-based products

28 February 2012

On 21 February US President Barack Obama signed a memorandum entitled 'Driving Innovation and Creating Jobs in Rural America through Biobased and Sustainable Product Procurement.' The BioPreferred Program, is intended to increase federal procurement of biobased products, which will promote rural economic development, create new jobs, and provide new markets for farm commodities.

According to the memorandum, the federal government, with leadership from the United States Department of Agriculture, has made significant strides in implementing the Program. The goal of the memorandum is to ensure that agencies effectively execute federal procurement requirements for biobased products. The memorandum directs agencies to take a number of steps intended to increase federal procurement of biobased and other sustainable products.

These include ensuring that 95 percent of applicable new contract actions for products and services advance sustainable acquisition, including biobased acquisition, where such products and services meet agency performance requirements. 64 categories of biobased products for preferred federal procurement, representing an estimated 9,000 individual products have already been designated and there are efforts to increase this by 50 percent within one year of the date of the memorandum.

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Western Cape Province sees sustainable procurement as key to becoming green economic hub

24 February 2012

The Western Cape Province (South Africa) has announced its plans to become the “green economic hub” of South Africa by encouraging renewable energy. The comments were made Premier of the province, Helen Zille. “Our government is finalising the draft Green Procurement White Paper, which will provide general principles and guidelines for integrating environmental criteria into supply chain management,” she said.

One of the objectives is to reduce energy and water use by 10 percent in provincial offices and other buildings, such as hospitals. The province is also preparing to build wind and solar energy farms. Zille also promised a game-changing infrastructure plan in 2012, stating that "The most powerful economic lever in the hands of a provincial government is the ability to build growth-creating infrastructure".

There are plans for three regeneration projects in Cape Town, namely the Founders' Garden/Artscape precinct, the development of a government precinct and the development of the Somerset Hospital precinct. The Cape Town convention centre would also be doubled in capacity and there are plans for a project to provide broadband internet access to every citizen, school and government facility in the province.

For more information, click here.[In Spanish]

Greater London Authority releases procurement report

21 February 2012

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has released a report entitled, Delivering Responsible Procurement, which documents the impressive progress made by the Authority in the past three and a half years. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, says, “The GLA group’s responsible approach to procurement has made a significant positive impact on those who work, live in and visit our world-class city. This includes supporting local businesses, providing jobs and skills for Londoners, and improving their quality of life.”

The GLA has had a number of success stories and is keen to share its experience. These include making significant steps in using its procurement activity to open up employment opportunities to Londoners including; more than 1,200 long-term unemployed Londoners into work (2009-2011) and more than 1,900 new apprenticeships (2009-2011). The GLA group has also helped improve the cash flow of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) through the prompt payment of their invoices and enabled businesses with access to more contract and sub-contract opportunities.

From an environmental point of view the report explains how the Transport for London (TfL), London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police Service have reduced their annual carbon emissions by 7,000 tonnes, saving £1m from their annual energy bills through the RE:FIT programme. While the introduction of five hydrogen fuel cell buses, an electric vehicle procurement framework and structure for the supply of charging points and a five percent increase in TfL’s Head Office energy efficiency initiatives.

To download the report, click here.

Commission unveils plan to boost bio-based economy

15 February 2012

Developing standards and labels for bio-based products are among 12 actions proposed by the European Commission as part of its bio-economy plan published on 13 February 2012. The strategy closely follows recommendations made by an ad-hoc advisory group at the end of 2011. Labels for products such as bio-plastics would help boost market uptake through, for example, green public procurement.

"It is currently impossible to differentiate bio-based products from traditional ones", explains Joanna Dupont of trade association Europabio. "Product standards should also help provide a market framework for this emerging sector and prove that it is a sustainable one," she continues. For example, the standards could be used to verify claims about the bio-degradability of these products.

No new EU legislation will be proposed as the commission believes existing instruments in the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the Horizon 2020 R&D plan are sufficient to achieve the strategy's ambitions. According to the commission, Horizon 2020, which allocates €4.5bn to food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy, could create 130,000 jobs in this area. The plan does not propose setting indicative or binding targets for certain bio-based product categories as recommended by the ad-hoc advisory group. A spokesman said this could be further debated through stakeholder platforms.

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Stakeholders invited to participate in EU GPP criteria revision for road signs

14 February 2012

A study to inform the revision process of the existing EU GPP criteria for the product group of road construction and traffic signs is currently being launched by the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS). To ensure the review is comprehensive, all concerned parties are invited to contribute, such as manufacturers, trade bodies, the supply chain industry, consumer organisations and NGOs.

Similar to other product groups worked on by JRC-IPTS, participating stakeholders will be regularly informed about the progress of the study, will have access to preliminary results and draft documents and will be invited to respond to questionnaires and participate at stakeholder meetings.

The purpose of the revision is to have updated, clear and ambitious environmental criteria, based on a life-cycle approach and scientific evidence base. Environmental, safety, technical and functional aspects will also be considered during the process. All background information, as well as announcements of ad-hoc working group meetings will be available soon on the project’s official website.

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