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Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

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13 October 2015

New report looks at Flemish government's support for innovative and sustainable procurement

The Flemish government has enacted a number of policies to increase the uptake of procurement of innovation according to a new report produced by Foundation Innovation & Work, taking advantage of the new EU procurement directive’s more supportive language towards engaging in innovative and sustainable procurement. Within the Belgian region, public procurement of innovation (PPI) is promoted across all policy areas, with IWT – the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in charge of controlling and supporting the shift.

Currently Flanders is carrying out 15 PPI projects as part of its innovative procurement programme, including a partner role in the Procurement of Innovation Platform. The region also closely monitors other country’s national innovation procurement frameworks to gain examples of best practice. While no one country provides a role model across all areas, the United States, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are considered exemplary in their application of PPI.

To support sustainability in procurement processes, the Department of Administrative Affairs ensures that sustainability criteria are incorporated into all procurement Action Plans. A sustainable and innovation task force has also been set up to produce information sheets and to develop framework contracts that can be implemented by procurers. The government further aims to incorporate terms into their tenders that lower the barriers for SME participation.

For more information, download the report. [PDF]
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8 October 2015

Comments invited on EU cleaning services criteria

The EU is inviting public feedback on the development of the criterion for a new EU Ecolabel for cleaning services, as well as the revision of the existing EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria for cleaning services. Proposed mandatory criteria includes stipulations on using cleaning products with a lower environmental impact, ensuring that they are not toxic to aquatic life or hazardous to the ozone layer for example, whilst also ensuring that they do not harm human health, including causing damage to the unborn child or impacting breast feeding.

The criteria also states that cleaning staff shall have access to instructions on the correct dosage required for each cleaning product, and outlines the level of training each staff member must receive in terms of health and safety and mitigating environmental harm. The criteria also states that minimum sectorial wage standards must be met. The importance of an Environmental Management System being implemented is further outlined.

The optional criteria focus on such topics as the use of energy efficient vacuum cleaners, the vehicle fleet owned by the applicant, and the efficiency of washing machines owned by the applicant. To comment on the draft criteria, stakeholders must be signed up to the EU’s BATIS platform. Non-members can apply for access by contacting The deadline for commenting is 13 November 2015.

For more information, visit the JRC-IPTS website.

6 October 2015

French public procurement award recognises exemplary purchasing policies

The French Government is inviting applications for a public procurement award that recognises the best initiatives in the field of public procurement in France. Now in its eighth year, the award is separated into two categories: best procurement initiative, and most sustainable public procurement.

Each category has three sub-categories that indicate at which level the public procurement has been carried out: state public services, territorial public services, and public hospital. The deadline for applications is 20 October 2015, with the award ceremony set to take place in Porte de Versailles, Paris on 19 November. Each application will be examined by an esteemed panel of procurement experts, including former award winners.

Over €100 billion is spent each year in France by the government, meaning that public procurers have significant purchasing power to shift the market towards sustainable and socially beneficial ways of working. The French government aims to use the power of procurement to help meet its diverse policy objectives.

For more information and to apply, visit [in French]

1 October 2015

UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to increase sustainable procurement globally

The United Nations general assembly in New York (USA) adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015, a historic moment that brought into effect a range of global targets that aim to enhance development, prosperity, and equality across the globe. The goals include targets to improve the uptake of sustainable procurement, directed at both the public and private sectors.

Included within the 169 targets is the intention to reduce bribery and corruption in procurement processes, a practice that when combined with theft and tax evasion costs developing countries $1.26 trillion annually according to UN estimates. Other targets address modern slavery and human trafficking, and strengthen the ongoing struggle against child labour.

The UN also wishes to drastically reduce food wastage along production and supply chains, targeting retailers and consumers. A goal of 50 percent less waste has been set for 2030. In addition, the SDGs propose to grow the number of SMEs in operation by providing better market access and making financial support more affordable.

For more information, visit Supply Management.
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30 September 2015

World Bank overhauls its procurement processes

More than 5,000 people were consulted over three years to help finalise the World Bank’s new procurement strategy, a gargantuan task considering that the organisation has a budget of over $44 billion being spent in 178 countries. The new strategy, which was approved by the bank’s board in July, marks a complete break from the previous process established in the 1970s.

Whereas the previous procurement strategy was applied across the board in all project countries and focused on lowest cost only, the new strategy requires each project to develop its own strategy within the client country, allowing for rules that take into account factors such as value for money and sustainability. Bank staff will help in the creation of the strategies, which are intended to support the modernisation of public procurement around the world, particularly in developing countries.

Critics of the new plan assert that developing more complex procurement plans will lead to significantly increased costs. The World Bank has countered that the investment in the creation of individual procurement strategies will lead to a higher expense upfront, but will result in more efficient, and so lower cost, procurement in the future.

For more information, visit

24 September 2015

Five innovative finalists selected for prestigious procurement award

Five finalists have been chosen for the Procurement of Innovation Award, representing the most innovative and impressive public procurement activities carried out in Europe. The Award aims to recognise successful public procurement procedures that have been used to purchase innovative, more effective and efficient products or services. The finalists and their suppliers will be invited to an award ceremony at the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement event in Paris (France), taking place from 27 – 28 October 2015. The event is organised by EAFIP.
The finalists are:

• Federal Procurement Agency, Austria
• Stockholm County Council (Karolinska University Hospital), Sweden
• Galician Public Health Service, Spain
• Consip - Central Purchasing Body, Italy
• Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands

A more in-depth profile on each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, will be made available on the Procurement of Innovation Platform website in the coming weeks. The winning entry will receive a trophy for innovation procurement excellence, together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”, and a case study published on the Procurement of Innovation Platform. The judging panel, which is made up of respected procurement experts from across Europe, was particularly impressed by this year’s entries.

“The potential for innovation procurement to build a better, more efficient Europe is exemplified in the actions of these five finalists. Each finalist has developed exciting new solutions to persistent problems using procurement of innovation," said jury member Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI and Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Capacity Centre.

For more information, visit the PPI Platform Award page.

23 September 2015

GrowSmarter website showcases market-ready solutions for future smart cities

A total of 12 innovative solutions geared towards increasing sustainability in the fields of energy, infrastructure, and transport will be rolled out in Stockholm (Sweden), Cologne (Germany), and Barcelona (Spain) as part of the Grow Smarter project. The EU-funded project has recently released its new website, showing how the 12 solutions will support the transition to a smart, sustainable Europe and improve the quality of life for local residents.

The three cities, named “lighthouse” cities by the project, will work closely with the private sector in applying the solutions, demonstrating their market-readiness and leading to wider market uptake. Progress in the lighthouse cities will be closely monitored by the project’s five “follower” cities – Valetta (Malta), Porto (Portugal), Cork (Ireland), Suceava (Romania), and Graz (Austria).

The newly launched website will also provide technical information on each of the 12 solutions, as well as blog updates from the worksites in the three Lighthouse Cities to give an insight into how they are progressing on the ground. Opportunities for other cities and interested parties to get involved are also featured. The project is funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

For more information, visit the Grow Smarter website.
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22 September 2015

Procura+ Seminar to look at the future of procurement in Europe

The challenge of designing procurement processes that will help to build a low carbon future will be discussed at the 2015 Procura+ Seminar, set to take place in Barcelona (Spain) on 11 November 2015. Primarily aimed at procurement practitioners, experts and policy-makers, the event will be highly interactive, encouraging discussion and debate among participants. Registration is available online until 16 October 2015.

The seminar will place a focus on practical issues facing procurers, exploring how sustainability can be better integrated into processes. Participants will be broken up into groups based on their professional roles, enabling them to delve in-depth into specific issues and to learn from others facing similar challenges. Following the Procura+ Seminar, the Procura+ Participants and National Partners' meeting will take place on 12 November from 9.00-14.30.

The event is organised by ICLEI together with Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, and Barcelona Provincial Council (Spain), in cooperation with the GPP 2020 project consortium. Places are limited so early registration is advised. Detailed information about the programme, the venue and hotel options are available on the Procura+ Seminar Series website.

For more information, contact

18 September 2015

Procurers invited to connect and exchange on waste management solutions

Procurers interested in improving waste management by using public procurement of innovation (PPI) to find new and efficient solutions are invited to join two groups set up by the PPI4Waste project. The EU-funded project aims to develop innovative approaches to waste collection and treatment. A Purchasing Community and an Interest Group will be established and officially launched at the project’s upcoming Procurement Foresight Workshop in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October 2015. The Interest Group is open to any stakeholder with an interest in the procurement of innovative waste management solutions, including public authority representatives such as municipal waste management experts, procurers and policy makers, as well as academics, suppliers and other experts in the field.

The Purchasing Community is open solely to public procurers directly involved in the procurement of waste management solutions. The Purchasing Community will see procurers exchange knowledge and expertise on how to deploy PPI for waste effectively. By joining the group, members will improve their knowledge of innovative solutions already available on the market and will enhance their capacity through taking part in phone conferences, webinars and face-to-face meetings with other procurers.

The Interest Group aims to foster innovation and exchange in the waste management sector, and will similarly give public procurers the chance to learn, connect, and exchange. Both groups will use the Procurement Forum to facilitate exchange, and will provide members with news on upcoming trainings and project updates. To join, get in touch with

For more information, visit the PPI4Waste website.

15 September 2015

Procurers invited to tour sustainably renovated building in Ludwigsburg

The iNSPiRe project is inviting public procurers to visit a sustainably renovated residential building in Ludwigsburg (Germany) to see the latest innovations on the market first hand and to gain an insight into the process of renovating publicly-owned residential buildings. The City of Ludwigsburg will outline their procurement approach while technical partners of the iNSPiRe project will explain the solutions used and how they can be implemented in other building types.

The renovation packages developed by iNSPiRe are capable of reducing the primary energy consumption of a building to lower than 50 kWh/m2/year, and can be installed without major interruption to the building’s occupants. The Ludwigsburg building has been converted into a nearly-zero energy building with minimal disruption to residents.

Participation in the event is free of charge, but early registration is required. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements. A limited amount of funding is available to support attendance.

To register for the study tour and to enquire about funding, contact
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