Sustainable procurement resource centre - Information, news & exchange

Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

Latest news


17 October 2014

Guidance document on supplying timber to the public sector now available in Spanish

The now-ended Sustainable Timber Action (STA) project’s guide Supplying timber to the public sector has been made available in Spanish, providing Hispanophone timber companies with useful advice on meeting public procurers’ demand for responsibly purchased forest products. The guide was originally published in English.

The document is aimed at small and medium-sized or large enterprises, wholesalers, and retailers who supply timber products (such as furniture, office paper, etc.) to public procurers, or who supply construction companies which carry out work for the public sector. The guide outlines the various ways in which timber companies can demonstrate compliance with legal and sustainability requirements that could potentially be included in tenders published by European public authorities.

The STA project assisted European public authorities in ensuring that the timber products they buy are produced and traded in a sustainable and fair way. In addition to the guide, the project produced the STA Toolkit which includes a guide for public authorities on how to procure sustainable timber products. Its efforts to increase the share of sustainable timber on the European market are continued through the European Sustainable Timber Coalition.

To view the document, click here.
to top

15 October 2014

‘Healthy ageing’ solutions sought in tender published by European health care providers

Six health care purchasing bodies from five European countries have published a competitive tender, inviting companies to propose products and services that will aid the elderly. The solutions sought include a fall detection and alert system; a treadmill for rehabilitation and analysis of walking disorders; a walking course for preventing falls and maintaining independence; a bed thermoregulation system; and a chair enabling users to maintain independence, reducing effort for aides.

Notice of the competitive tender was published in the European Union Official Journal on 30 September 2014 by the organisation RESAH, coordinator of the HAPPI project (Healthy Ageing - Public Procurement of Innovation). The specifications are available in three languages: English, Italian and French. Bids can be addressed in any of these three languages, however the application documents must be provided in French only.

A Helpdesk in English and Italian has been created to support bidders with the application process, especially small and medium enterprises. The helpdesk provides information on how to create an account and download the HAPPI tender documents, how to ask a question on the FAQ page, as well as information on how to upload an offer to the platform.

For more information on the call for tender, visit the HAPPI website.

10 October 2014

Experts invited to provide input to new Procura+ Manual

Experts and practitioners in the field of sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) are invited to comment on the latest edition of the Procura+ Manual. The authors are particularly looking for input regarding the document's interpretation of the current legal framework in Europe. Additionally, feedback on specific sector reviews, such as construction, ICT, catering, etc., is also welcome. The deadline for commenting is 24 October 2014.

Aimed at public authorities, the manual provides clear guidance on how to implement sustainable procurement in practice, regardless of size or experience. It contains general information on management, cost and legal factors as well as key criteria product groups with high sustainability impact. The revised edition aims to provide a practical interpretation of new procurement rules, in this way supporting procurers to undertake and advance SPP and PPI.

Those who provide comments will be included in the Acknowledgements section of the publication. It should be noted that the current draft suffers from formatting issues – those who wish to comment are directed to ignore these problems, as the finalised version will undergo a design quality check. All comments should be provided to

For more information, visit the Procura+ website.

6 October 2014

Clean Fleets project invites comments on new tools

The Clean Fleets project is inviting interested parties to comment on the draft 'Guide to procuring clean, energy efficient vehicles’ and the new Life-Cycle Costing (LCC) Tool ahead of finalisation. The guide is designed to assist public authorities and public transport operators in purchasing clean and energy efficient vehicles in full compliance with European legislation, in particular the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD). The LCC Tool has been developed to calculate the life-cycle cost of vehicle fleets.

The European Commission funded guide is primarily targeted at procurers and fleet managers, but is also of relevance to policy makers and others involved in the transport sector. It presents how environmental criteria can be introduced into the different stages of procurement procedures, together with information on relevant topics. The LCC tool has been developed to be of use to public procurers specifically.

To shape the comments, those interested are asked to respond to four short questions on each of the two project outputs, relating to issues such as how useful the tool is and whether any pertinent information is missing. Respondents can do so by contacting by 3 November 2014. Both products will be provided free-of-charge.

To view the questions, visit the Clean Fleets website.
to top

2 October 2014

Cost and environmental savings highlighted by WRAP project case studies

Ten new case studies highlighting potential cost and environmental savings made by Facilities Management (FM) clients (those tasked with the management of services that relate to the functioning of a building such as security, maintenance and cleaning) through greater procurement efficiencies have been published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) project.

About 70 individual procurements were supported by WRAP with an estimated lifetime contract value of £5.3 billion. The savings over the lifetime of the contracts will be in the region of £39 million, preventing 125 kilo tonnes of waste, and saving 13.5 million kWh of energy and 15,000 m3 of water.

The case studies feature organisations from the public and private sectors, including Oxfam International, Sunderland City Council (UK), Senator International Ltd, and more. The case studies cover a range of areas, such as furniture, catering, uniforms and laundry, ICT services, waste management and textiles.

For more information, visit the WRAP case studies page.

30 September 2014

EcoProcura highlights strategic potential of sustainable and innovation procurement

After three days of exciting exchange, delegates at the EcoProcura conference in Ghent (Belgium) concluded that for Europe to gain maximum benefit from procurement practices, sustainable and innovation procurement must be placed at the heart of strategic decision making. The European Commission’s revised Public Procurement Directives will play a significant role in harnessing the capacity of the public sector to foster sustainable and innovative solutions, and move procurement from being seen as an administrative to a strategic concern.

The conference, organised by ICLEI and the City of Ghent, demonstrated the consensus that the pressing issues facing Europe today require public authorities to work with the market to develop sustainable and innovative solutions, rather than viewing the market as unchangeable. These outcomes will inform policy processes, and will be fed into the Procura+ Campaign, a movement of public authorities at the forefront of sustainable and innovation procurement in Europe. At the close of the event, the City of Ghent demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by signing a strategy on sustainable procurement and a Charter that obliges the city to spend 10 percent of its ICT budget on innovative solutions.

“Sustainability and innovation are moving from secondary considerations to central elements of procurement as highlighted by the recently revised European Union Public Procurement Directives. ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Campaign, Procura+, is playing a crucial role in this movement. This year it celebrates its 10th anniversary of supporting public authorities in implementing sustainable procurement. I urge all public authorities to rethink the importance of procurement in making the shift towards sustainable patterns of production and consumption to the benefit of our society, the environment and future generations.” said Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland) and Procura+ Chair.

For more information, read the full EcoProcura outcomes article.

26 September 2014

Winner of the Public Procurement of Innovation Award announced

Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam (the Netherlands) was announced as the winner of the Public Procurement of Innovation Award at a ceremony held during the EcoProcura conference, in Ghent (Belgium) yesterday. The Dutch hospital, which overcame competition from five other finalists, was praised by the jury for its innovative robotic bed washing facility. The award was presented by Bonifacio Garcia Porras of DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission.

The Erasmus University Medical Centre asked the bidders to design a more cost and environmentally efficient solution to disinfect the hospital's 70,000 beds and mattresses. The contract was won by IMS Medical, who proposed a creative approach - high precision cleaning robots that disinfect the beds in a conveyor belt format, similar to the set-up employed by car manufacturers. Through the facility, the cleaning costs per bed were lowered by 35 percent compared with the existing solution, and the CO2 footprint reduced by 65 percent. The City of Oslo (Norway), Région Rhône Alpes (France), and A Coruna City Council (Spain) were given honourable mentions during the ceremony. A more in-depth profile of each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, is available here.

The jury also praised the private companies who supplied the innovative solutions, with each company involved in the procurement processes commended for contributing to a more efficient and competitive Europe. "Public procurement has a significant role to play in stimulating innovation to ensure that Europe successfully meets future economic, social and environmental challenges. Procurement requirements that demand innovative solutions can stimulate new sources of jobs and growth in Europe. I warmly congratulate the winner of the PPI Award and I hope that the procurement practices of the winner and the nominees will act as an inspiration to others." said European Commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci.

For more information, read the press release.
to top

23 September 2014

ENIGMA study visit looks at the inspiring qualities of public lighting

A study visit focusing on the inspiring qualities of light and the potential economic and social benefits that interactive light displays and light festivals can have will take place in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) from November 12 – 13 as part of the ENIGMA project. Led by the City of Eindhoven, the project aims to implement a transnational pre-commercial procurement (PCP) procedure in the field of public lighting together with partner cities Malmö (Sweden), Stavanger (Norway), Espoo (Finland) and Bassana del Grappa (Italy).

The study visit will take in the acclaimed GLOW festival, and will provide an opportunity for public procurers to discuss the topic of innovative public lighting with other interested stakeholders. Following the study visit, select participants will have the chance to take part in a one and a half day “work shadowing” event within the City of Eindhoven, providing a unique opportunity to gain insight into the inner workings of a pioneer city and to exchange with a range of professionals.

A maximum of two representatives from public authorities will be able to take part in this work shadowing. An agenda is available for the event, and registration is possible online. A limited number of travel and accommodation grants are available, with registrants required to mention if they wish to apply for one and their motivation for taking part.

For more information, visit the ENIGMA website.

18 September 2014

Conditions faced by manufacturers in the IT Industry explored in new report

The demand on the computer industry to consistently develop updated products has led to a number of negative consequences, such as poor working conditions in IT equipment manufacturing plants. Long working hours, low wages, and inadequate safety measures are just some of the issues faced by employees. To help buyers choose sustainably made products, a new report on the ‘State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry’ has been produced by TCO Development.

The report found that progress has been made among several brands in regards to responsibility, structure and transparency. Many have taken greater responsibility for working conditions in manufacturing facilities, while others have increased training in socially responsible manufacturing for their suppliers.

Despite progress, however, the analysis also reveals that major violations in working conditions, such as the contravening of labour laws, persist. Criteria regarding socially responsible manufacturing processes were introduced by TCO in 2009, with the aim to provide a path to TCO certification. Through the certification, the organisation hopes to create a more transparent dialogue with the industry.

For more information, visit the TCO Development website.

16 September 2014

UN initiative helps Panama to green purchasing

Selected as a pilot country for a UN project on sustainable public procurement (SPP), the nation of Panama has adjusted their procurement processes to incorporate sustainability. Ten state institutions have adjusted their catalogues to encompass products and services that meet high sustainability criteria, as proposed by the United Nations Program for the Environment (UNEP).

The Panamanian government procures services worth $3 billion per year. UNEP intends to upscale the plans in the region, pending a review of their efficacy. The UN body has held discussions with public authorities regarding the current SPP methodology in place, with the aim to enhance implementation.

At its core, SPP is about taking sustainability considerations into account in procurement actions, such as buying only what is needed, purchasing products and services with high environmental performance, and considering the social and economic impacts of a purchasing decision. With such a large market share, public buyers can have a big influence in driving the market towards sustainable solutions.

For more information, read this short news article.
to top