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Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

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4 March 2015

UN human rights reporting guidance for companies released

A new, comprehensive guide entitled United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework has been launched, detailing how companies should report their human rights performance. Issued in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), it is the first guidance on the subject of human rights reporting for companies and the first to align with the global standard on business and human rights.

The Reporting Framework sets out a series of ‘smart’ questions that helps companies to begin reporting on their human rights performance. The framework is designed to work for companies of all sizes, regardless of how far they have progressed in implementing their responsibility to respect human rights. Companies from five different industry sectors are already early adopters of the UNGP, including Unilever, Ericsson, H&M, Nestlé and Newmont.

The framework was developed over two years in a global, multi-stakeholder process led by Shift, an organisation that assists governments, businesses and their stakeholders put the UNGPs into practice, and international accountancy firm Mazars. Caroline Rees, President of Shift said: “The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework is a ground-breaking and vital tool for companies to know and show that they are managing risks to human rights effectively throughout their operations and value chain, with the potential for positive impact on millions of peoples’ lives”. In October 2014, the European Union adopted a directive requiring 6,000 companies to disclose non-financial information, including their human rights performance, by 2017.

For more information, visit the UNGP Reporting website.
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27 February 2015

Germany invites comment on how best to bring EU Public Procurement Directives into force

Germany is reforming its procurement laws to better reflect the regulations in the new EU Directives on Public Procurement. To ensure a smooth transition into national law, a draft document has been produced detailing how this will be carried out, with stakeholders invited to review the document and comment on the proposed measures. The new rules aim to simplify public procurement, making it more efficient and more flexible in the awarding of contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises. The revised rules also ensure that governments can use procurement as a tool to meet strategic objectives, such as enhancing innovation and furthering sustainability.

The requirements for a company to prove its qualifications in relation to the tender have been significantly simplified, reducing the level of bureaucracy within the procurement process. Additionally, the new rules are designed to provide municipalities with greater legal certainty when procuring innovative products and services.

Grounds by which businesses can be excluded from participating in the procurement procedure have been expanded under the new rules to include participation in a criminal organisation, corruption, fraud and money laundering, as well as the abuse of labour rights and unfair working conditions. The EU Public Procurement Directives will be enacted into German law by 18 April 2016.

For more information, download the PDF [in German].
 

24 February 2015

EU Ecolabel expands to include absorbent hygiene products

New EU Ecolabel criteria have been adopted for the product group "absorbent hygiene products" (AHP), which includes baby diapers, feminine care pads, tampons and nursing pads. With over €8.6 billion in sales within the product group last year, the EU expects the new Ecolabel to have a far-reaching impact on consumers.

The label will be applied to hygiene products that reduce their environmental impact throughout their life cycle by eschewing unsustainable materials or hazardous substances at the manufacturing stage. The EU Ecolabel schemes also takes into account social issues, such as safety conditions in manufacturing plants and labour rights.

Unlike some product groups, 90 percent of the AHP products manufactured in Europe are consumed in the continent. The EU Ecolabel scheme is designed to help consumers identify products and services that are manufactured with the environment in mind. The criteria that each product group must meet to avail of the label have been developed and agreed upon by scientists, NGOs and relevant stakeholders.

For more information, read the EU Ecolabel News Alert.
 

19 February 2015

Helsinki and Turin strive to lower catering service emissions based on CO2 analysis

Helsinki (Finland) and Turin (Italy) are looking at ways to improve the sustainability of their procurement of catering services following findings from a measurement of the services’ CO2 emissions. Data on the climate impact of Helsinki’s food services has come from three key areas: food procurement; direct energy consumption of food production; and internal logistics of the catering service.

Results indicate that through the ingredients chosen, food purchasing is responsible for 58 percent (the largest proportion) of the total carbon footprint. 41 percent of the carbon produced comes from energy consumption, while transport logistics accounts for only 1 percent. This information will be used to inform the city’s carbon reduction strategy. Similarly, INNOCAT partner Turin found that transportation within the city accounted for just 1 percent of the overall carbon footprint, while production processes for the product groups measured amounted to between 75 and 95 percent of the total.

Turin’s current catering contract, which has been in place since 2013, includes a number of sustainable procurement criteria. These include the purchase of energy efficient appliances, the use of low carbon vehicles for transportation, using tap water instead of bottled, decreased packaging levels and a switch to packaging with a lower environmental impact. The Italian city is considering expanding the measurement criteria to take in other environmental factors.

For more information, read the GPP case study on Helsinki, and the GPP case study on Turin.
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18 February 2015

Comments invited on proposed Ecolabel criteria for furniture

As part of the wide-spread revision of Ecolabel criteria for various product groups, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is inviting stakeholders to provide comments on the newly proposed criteria for furniture. The criteria takes into account the life-cycle costs of materials used in the production of furniture, specifying what is required for a product to be deemed Ecolabel worthy.

A written consultation period is now open, in which stakeholders can voice suggestions and concerns regarding the proposed criteria. To provide stakeholders with further background information, the JRC have published a technical report, explaining a summary of recent changes and the rationale for the proposal.

To structure the feedback, the JRC has also published a list of questions for stakeholders regarding their purchasing of indoor and outdoor furniture. In addition to collecting stakeholder thoughts, the document aims to provide a better insight into the type of furniture procurement carried out in Europe. Any written comments should be sent to the JRC by close of business on 25 February 2015.

For more information, visit the EU Ecolabel website.
 

12 February 2015

SPP workshop focuses on using purchasing power to drive sustainability

While sustainable public procurement (SPP) has the capacity to bring about significant environmental and social benefits, many governments do not feel comfortable incorporating it into their procurement policy. A training workshop set to take place at the ICLEI World Congress 2015 aims to make the process less intimidating, showing how some straight-forward changes can lead to substantial savings and a better public image.

Hosted by experienced SPP trainer Philipp Tepper, the course is tailored for those who purchase or lease goods or services, and those who work at a municipal or metropolitan government. Held in small groups of no more than 10 participants, the training will use advanced learning techniques in a friendly and informal atmosphere. The course is based on ICLEI’s successful SPP training programme, which has trained more than 1,200 people in the past five years.

The training costs €100 (130,000 Korean Won) and is payable via bank transfer or directly at the site in cash. The ICLEI World Congress 2015 runs from 8 – 12 April 2015 in Seoul (Republic of Korea), and will see representatives of local governments from around the world gather to discuss sustainability progress, exchange experiences and profile their achievements.

For more information, visit the ICLEI World Congress website.
 

10 February 2015

Procurement platform helps reduce CO2 by over 70,000 tonnes

Public tenders published through the GPP 2020 project have saved the equivalent of over 72,300 tonnes of CO2 since the project began, more than the CO2 produced by 12,000 average European households each year. The project, co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Commission, is an online resource where low-carbon tenders are accessible to procurers and public authorities across a wide variety of topics, from the purchase of white goods to the leasing of green vehicles.

The savings are based on a comparison between emissions of previous, or standard, tenders and those of the new tenders that have been implemented by the purchasing partners of GPP 2020. To date, 18 tender models have been uploaded to the GPP 2020 website, outlining exactly how different councils across Europe have implemented low-carbon tenders. These models include procurement approaches and award criteria that can be implemented by other public authorities.

The project is working to support the European Union’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, increasing the market share of renewable energy by 20 percent, and increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. To achieve these goals, GPP 2020 will implement more than 100 low-carbon tenders and host capacity building trainings.

For more information, visit the GPP 2020 page.
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6 February 2015

EC invites consultation on green public procurement criteria

The European Commission (EC) is in the process of revising Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria for the following product groups: road construction, office buildings, textiles, and cleaning services. The new criteria proposals have been developed at the request of the Directorate General of the Environment, by the EC’s Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS).

Stakeholders are invited to register their interest to take part in both the technical and public procurement aspects of the consultations. The proposals for road construction are open for consultation until 22 February, office buildings and textiles until 27 February, and cleaning services until 13 March.

The revised proposals for office buildings are developed from initial studies and proposals published during 2011 – 2012. They incorporate new technical evidence and are accompanied by new draft guidance on procurement best practice. Importantly, the proposals also seek to reflect the priorities set out in the EU's recent communications Towards a Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the Building Sector which outline future policy initiatives to address resource efficiency. The aim of the textiles consultation is to determine if the existing criteria are still relevant and to what extent they should be revised, restructured or even removed in light of leading procurement practices and the revised European Union Ecolabel criteria published in June 2014.

For more information, visit the EC Green Public Procurement website.
 

3 February 2015

ICLEI Secretary General praises global sustainable procurement programme

ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin has called the 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Public Procurement (10YFP on SPP) a "key initiative" in ICLEI's mission of improving global sustainability, noting that it can play a significant role in bringing about "a resource efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible society". Mr Van Begin’s comments are part of a welcome address included in the first edition of the 10YFP on SPP newsletter.

Mr. Van Begin is joined by Ligia Noronha, Director of the Technology, Industry and Economics division of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Yongjoo Kim, President of the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) in welcoming readers to the newsletter. Ms. Noronha outlines her expectation that the newsletter will aid in building a "community of practice and an impetus for action on SPP", while Mr Kim says that the newsletter will be a "valuable information and networking tool on the 10YFP SPP Programme".

The 10YFP is a global programme that aims to harness the power of the trillions of Euros that governments spend on public procurement each year, focusing this money on building a more resource-efficient world. The SPP Programme is the first action to get underway as part of the 10YFP, and will assist governments with redirecting public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits.

For more information, view the e-newsletter.
 

29 January 2015

Circular economy in Sweden boosted by new ecolabel

Business in Sweden that extend the life of products will be able to avail of a new ecolabel aimed at encouraging Swedes to think about repairing or reusing old goods. Second hand shops, shoe-repair businesses and more will be eligible for the ecolabel, which is thought to be the first such scheme in Europe.

The campaign is intended to reduce waste and support a shift to a circular economy, furthering European and national environmental objectives. Organised by the Swedish Waste Management association, a membership organisation representing public and private actors within the waste management and recycling sector, the scheme will be funded by participating municipalities. It is hoped that within two years around 70 percent of municipalities in Sweden will take part in the scheme.

Those behind the ecolabel are taking a two step approach to its implementation; the first involves raising awareness of the objectives behind the ecolabel and building interest among the public and private sectors, and the second is the actual awarding of the label, based on an evaluation of applying businesses.

For more information, visit ENDS Europe.
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