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28 August 2014

Waikato council works with businesses to enhance sustainable procurement

Over 160 businesses from across New Zealand attended an event held by Waikato City Council to discuss ways of integrating sustainability concerns when tendering for public contracts. Experts offered advice and support to the assembled business leaders on meeting sustainability requirements. In 2011, the council adopted a policy whereby contracts worth more than NZ$50,000 must have a 10-15 percent sustainability weighting.

"[Waikato Regional Council] spends about $83 million annually, with over 1400 suppliers and contractors. This means that we have the scale and opportunity to make real, positive differences to our environment, our economy and our communities through purchasing. We have a duty to spend our ratepayers’ money responsibly. That means not just financially responsible spending, but also socially and environmentally responsible spending." said Council chief Vaughan Payne.

Dr Eva Collins, the concluding speaker at the event, praised the Council's initiative, saying: "Businesses are inextricably linked by the supply chain. When one influential organisation demands a greater level of sustainability, it raises the bar for everyone. Organisations discover they can conserve resources, save money, increase productivity and promote their values all at the same time."

For more information, click here.
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26 August 2014

EU Public Procurement Directive broadens grounds for exclusion of suppliers

Publication of the new EU Public Procurement Directives in February 2014 brought with them a number of changes and greater flexibility in how public procurements can be carried out. One of the main areas of change is that of exclusion criteria, which oblige or allow public authorities to prevent an operator from taking part in a public procurement process.

These criteria are dealt with in Article 57 of the Public Sector Directive (2014/24/EC) and see significant additions both to mandatory and discretionary grounds for exclusion of suppliers. New offences have been added to the existing mandatory grounds for exclusion, which include participation in a criminal organisation, corruption, fraud and money laundering. The expanded list now includes terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, terrorist financing and child labour or other forms of human trafficking offences.

Discretionary grounds for exclusion have been significantly broadened, giving public procurers greater freedom to exclude suppliers on the grounds of violation of environmental, social or labour law, grave professional misconduct, conflict of interest, collusion or poor prior performance of a public contract. Grounds for exclusion are, however, tempered by two key principles: proportionality, which requires that decisions be proportionate to the authority's aims; and ‘self-cleaning’, which means that an operator cannot be excluded if it can prove that it is working to remedy its previous wrong.

For more information, click here.
 

21 August 2014

Sustainable procurement improving among Canadian municipalities, report finds

2013 saw Canadian municipalities reach new levels of procurement professionalism in terms of setting goals and measuring progress, interacting with suppliers, and working within budgetary constraints, according to a new report on municipal sustainable procurement in Canada. The report notes that “green” procurement is now mainstream in the North American country, while “local” and “ethical” procurement is on the rise.

The authors argue that although progress was incremental rather than rapid in 2013, this does not diminish the gains made throughout the year. For example, many Canadian municipalities have started to develop key performance indicators to set targets and evaluate the progress of their sustainable purchasing programs and activities. Additionally, communication towards staff has improved, as has purchasing processes and tools used to evaluate supplier and product information.

Barriers to procurement progress included resource constraints (including funding and staff capacity), a high turnover in procurement staff leading to a loss of knowledge and lower morale, and a lack of strategic goals attributable primarily to the habit of goal setting not being fully formed. The report is the fourth in an annual series published by Reeve Consulting, co-authored with the representatives from the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP).

For more information, click here.
 

19 August 2014

EU Directive requires large companies to report on human rights

The new EU Directive on the disclosure of non-financial information has been ratified by the European Parliament and is due to go before the Council before being officially adopted in September or October 2014. The new Directive marks a significant step forward in the recognition of corporations’ responsibilities to protect human rights and the environment.

According to Jerome Chaplier, from the European Coalition for Corporate Justice: “This legislation is the first step in embedding into EU law the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the environment as it is expressed in the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.” The Directive requires listed companies with over 500 employees to report annually on principal risks to human rights, the environmental and social impacts linked to their operations, relationships, products and services. Bribery and diversity are also included in the risk reporting requirements.

Companies are expected to explain and describe their due diligence procedures for identifying, preventing and mitigating these risks. Reporting is mandatory, but there is some wiggle room in the form of a “comply or explain” approach, which requires them to give a clear and reasoned explanation for not following any policies.

For more information, click here.
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14 August 2014

British Government issues new food procurement plan, emphasises importance of local food

The UK government has recently published a new plan for public procurement of food, broadening the focus of procurement to include criteria such as seasonality, nutrition and sustainability. The framework includes a scorecard and procurement toolkit, aiming to help public sector agencies make better informed purchasing decisions when buying catering surfaces. An online procurement portal will allow suppliers to register their services or products and check them against the procurement scorecard.

The Government Buying Standard (GBS) has also been revised to increase minimum standards of production and to ensure that procurers or catering companies have systems in place to check on the authenticity of food. The British public sector spends about £2.4bn per annum procuring food and catering services, which represents approximately 5.5% of UK food service sector sales. It is hoped that increased transparency and consistency in food purchasing will enable farmers and SMEs to enter the market and bid for public contracts.

Although the Plan claims to be in compliance with EU procurement law, the focus on 'buying British' within the document could lead to legal challenges over the principle of non-discrimination within the single European market. This ensures that bidders from all EU member states have equal opportunity to apply for a public contract. Although supporting local producers can have positive sustainability effects, European legislation needs to be considered.

For more information, click here.
 

11 August 2014

Public Procurement of Innovation Award jury selects six finalists

The shortlist for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award has been narrowed to six finalists, representing the most innovative and impressive public procurement activities carried out in Europe. The Award is presented as part of the Procurement of Innovation Platform project, an online hub that helps public authorities, procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of innovation procurement.

An in-depth profile of each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, is available online. The finalists and their suppliers will be invited to an award ceremony at the EcoProcura conference, taking place in Ghent (Belgium) from 24 – 26 September 2014. “These finalists exemplify the best examples of procurement of innovation in Europe. Their dedication to finding new and creative solutions to everyday problems within the procurement process is highly impressive. Each of the six organisations are to be congratulated; selecting a final winner will not be an easy feat.” said jury member Wouter Stolwijk, Director of PIANOo.

The judging panel also comprises Bonifacio Garcia Porras of the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry; David Golding, Head of Strategy with the Technology Strategy Board; and Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe and Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre. The winning entry will receive a trophy for innovation procurement excellence, together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”.

For more information, click here.
 

7 August 2014

Solingen saves €1.2 million through Green Printing programme

The German town of Solingen has taken sustainable procurement principles to heart in its “printing green” programme, which is estimated to save around €1.2 million in printing costs over 5 years. The project was launched in 2011 to rationalise the procurement and use of desktop printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners, which had previously been bought in an ad hoc manner by individual offices.

An initial scoping exercise identified more than a thousand devices and over 150 different models bought from a range of manufacturers scattered through municipal offices. An invitation to tender was published for a centralised printing service which could be used by around 2,000 council employees. Printing services are now provided by 150 modern, multifunction machines which print in black and white and colour, as well as providing photocopying, scanning and fax services.

A central supply service was also created to ensure that the machines were kept well stocked with paper, toner and other necessary consumables. Small and large print runs can now be handled in-house. The new printing service has reduced the number of printers in use by 60 percent and operating costs by 40 percent. Air quality has also improved due to a reduction in particulate matter, with a positive effect on the health of city hall employees and associates.

For more information, click here [in German].
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5 August 2014

Public Procurement of Innovation to be celebrated at EcoProcura 2014

The winner of the first Public Procurement of Innovation Award will be announced next month at the 2014 EcoProcura Conference in Ghent (Belgium). The Award recognises and publicises successful public procurement practices that have been used to purchase innovative, more effective and efficient products or services.

EcoProcura 2014 will also feature a unique ‘Meet Your Buyer’ event, giving public procurers the chance to exchange information on sustainable goods and services with a range of suppliers and procurement experts from across Europe. Meet Your Buyer aims to demonstrate the commercial possibilities presented by a sustainable and innovative economy, providing an opportunity to meet and discuss topics including market dialogue, engagement and business models in a neutral setting.

Online registration is still open for the Conference, which will take place from 24-26 September 2014. The deadline for official registration is 15 August 2014. After this date a late fee will come into effect. A full programme is available on the website, providing an overview of plenary speakers, sessions, presentations, and social events.

For more information, click here.
 

31 July 2014

“Largest international public procurement conference” to take place in Dublin

The 6th International Public Procurement Conference (IPCC), the largest international public procurement conference dedicated to academic discussion and practitioner engagement, will take place between 14 - 16 August 2014 in Dublin (Ireland). IPPC is targeted at procurement professionals, academic and government researchers, industry, policy makers and regulators. It also welcomes the attendance of students, including graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

Hosted by the Irish Institute of Purchasing Management in cooperation with Dublin City University, speakers at the conference include Willem A. Janssen, lecturer in Public Procurement Law at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands), Pon Sivalingam, Deputy Chief Material manager of Indian Railways, and Joanne Meehan, lecturer in Strategic Purchasing at the University of Liverpool (United Kingdom).

Over 500 delegates from both the private and public sectors are expected to attend the event. In previous years, delegates representing over 60 countries attended: 25 percent from Europe, 15 percent from Africa, 15 percent from Asia, and 35 percent from the Americas. To encourage networking, the conference exhibition area will host a ‘Market Place’, enabling delegates to forge new professional relationships. Registration for the event is available online.

For more information, click here.
 

29 July 2014

Safety and efficacy of disinfectants revealed in new study

Despite their necessity in maintaining public health, disinfectants can trigger a host of adverse health reactions, such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses. They also have the capacity to cause damage to the environment, particularly aquatic life. With little information on the potential impact and efficacy of disinfectants, consumer choice often comes down to guesswork. To address this, SF Environment together with the Responsible Purchasing Network tested a range of disinfectants, and have released their findings.

The in-depth analysis looked at safety, germ-killing ability, compatibility with various surfaces, and environmental impacts. The active ingredients in disinfectants were tested, along with 33 disinfectant products and 24 surface sanitizers. Non-chemical options, such as microfiber mops and cloths, were also included in the study.

Recommendations stemming from the study include buying products as concentrates rather than pre-diluted forumlations to save on shipping fuel, cleaning surfaces well to reduce the frequency that disinfectants are required, and limiting the use of disinfectants to areas and objects where people are most likely to touch, such as door knobs. It was found that the highest scoring products contain hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, caprylic acid, or citric acid as active ingredients.

For more information, click here.
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