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Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

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19 November 2014

PROBIS calls for members to join Buyers Group

The Procuring Building Innovative Solutions (PROBIS) project, which aims to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of European public buildings, is calling for public authorities and and companies to get involved. PROBIS is seeking members to join the project Buyers Group, and to potentially participate in project activities.

Led by Environment Park in Turin (Italy), the project is supported by ICLEI with targeted dissemination and networking activities linked to the Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) Platform. Four PPI tenders will be launched within the project in three different European Union Member States. The tenders will focus on building innovative solutions in the following areas: envelope components (ENV); energy generation and distribution systems (EGD); and energy management systems (EMS). The selected solutions will be implemented and tested inside four pilot buildings in Miskolc (Hungary), Torino (Italy), Börlange (Sweden) and the Lombardy Region (Italy). Different building typologies will be covered, including office buildings and social housing of different ages, to provide scope for replication of solutions at EU level.

Members of the Buyers Group will receive periodic updates of the project’s progress, have the opportunity to visit a PROBIS pilot project, and be involved in shaping the legal framework for PPI. Importantly, members are invited to attend dedicated technical seminars and dissemination events, and join the discussions on sustainable construction and shaping the project outcomes.

For more information, visit the PROBIS project website, and to join the Buyers Group contact
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18 November 2014

Providing hands-on support for public purchasing organisations in Green Public Procurement

PRIMES is a new Intelligent Energy Europe-funded project working across six countries in Europe: Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Croatia, France and Italy. It seeks to help municipalities overcome barriers in the green public procurement (GPP) process. As many small and medium sized municipalities lack knowledge in this area, PRIMES aims to demonstrate how even the smallest purchasing organisations, by sharing and co-operating, or by working with regional energy agencies, cluster organisations or regional authorities, can achieve GPP.

Employing a 'learning by doing' process, task forces of experts will work with purchasing organisations on specific contracts to draw up tender specifications and evaluation criteria which will deliver better outcomes, such as more energy efficient products and services. The task forces will also provide expert advice on specific product groups, legal issues, and life-cycle costing. The overall aim is to build capacity and political will in similar small and medium sized purchasing organisations across Europe, creating a follow-on effect of GPP good practices, and encouraging mainstreaming of GPP into all public sector tenders.

Expert partner ICLEI will provide a package of GPP capacity building material for the task forces to deliver to their purchasing organisations. The trainings will be provided to several organisations at the same time, giving participants the chance to share knowledge and experience, while achieving a fundamental understanding of the environmental and economic benefits of GPP.

For more information, visit the PRIMES website.

13 November 2014

Invitation issued to host Procura+ Seminar 2015

ICLEI is inviting interested parties to host the 2015 edition of the Procura+ seminar series. This exciting opportunity will present a host partner – whether city, municipality, organisation or government – with access to leading experts in sustainable public procurement and the chance to help build an engaging, diverse seminar which responds to their needs and interests.

The 2015 installment of the Procura+ seminar will see ICLEI's Procura+ Campaign combine forces with the GPP 2020 project to provide a platform for exchange. Purchasers from all levels of government, suppliers, manufacturers, policy-makers and multipliers on specific topics related to sustainable public procurement will come together to identify strategies for mainstreaming low-carbon and innovation procurement in European public authorities.

Cities interested in hosting the event are asked to provide a venue and additional logistics, along with their individual know-how and experience to help define the direction of the seminar. A contribution to cover staff costs, travel and accommodation for speakers, materials and other support logistics is also requested. The amount, in terms of financial and in-kind donations, can be discussed with the Procura+ team.

For more information, download the call for hosts.

11 November 2014

Call for contributions: Procurers to influence textile labour conditions

Fair Wear Foundation, the independent, non-profit organisation that works with companies to improve labour conditions for textile workers, is currently seeking input from procurement officers for their new WellMade apparel research project. Procurers are asked to complete an online survey to assist in the formation of free sessions that will be conducted at a wide range of trade fairs and events across Europe. The sessions are designed to assist European clothing companies in recognising and overcoming major labour issues, and achieving better working conditions. Parallel to the sessions is a growing collection of online resources, tools and case studies that can be accessed via the WellMade website.

Launched in July 2013, Wellmade is a three year educational programme aimed at European textile manufacturing companies. As brands develop Corporate Social Responsibility departments, and adapt Codes of Conduct, many still face challenges in making sustainable improvements to working conditions in their supply chains. With these thoughts in mind, an additional section of the WellMade project, focusing on procurement professionals and their role in influencing labour conditions, has been developed.

The Fair Wear Foundation consists of 80 member companies, represents over 120 brands, and is located in seven European countries. Member products are sold in over 20,000 retail outlets in more than 80 countries around the world.

To take part, access the online survey.
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5 November 2014

Role of sustainable and innovative public procurement captured in Cities Today

The importance and potential of procurement of innovation and sustainable procurement is outlined in the latest edition of Cities Today magazine, in an article written by Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director and Global Director of the Sustainable Procurement Capacity Centre at ICLEI. The article emphasises the need to move away from the mindset that lowest-price represents the lowest cost in the long run, and introduces the key factors of procuring innovation.

“The total value of public procurement in the EU is estimated at €2 trillion per year - or about 19 percent of European GDP,” writes Mr. Hidson. “Directed in the right way this figure represents tremendous fiscal power to shape societies for the better. Channelling this sum towards exclusively sustainable, ethical and innovative products and services will have a hugely significant impact on job creation and environmental and social welfare.”

The role of the revised Public Procurement Directives in fostering procurement of innovation and sustainable procurement is touched on, as is the work of ICLEI in promoting sustainable public procurement. "Undertaken correctly, sustainable procurement has the capacity to stimulate new technology, achieve more efficient public services, create jobs and provide solutions that reduce environmental impacts and are socially responsible," Mr. Hidson writes.

To read the article, visit the Cities Today web-edition.

4 November 2014

Public procurement can play major role in promoting sustainable forestry, states paper

Through leading by example and advocating best practices, governments can help decrease the levels of illegal logging while promoting sustainable forestry, according to the paper Promoting Legal and Sustainable Timber: Using Public Procurement Policy, produced by Chatham House. The paper examines governments’ efforts to use public procurement policy to promote the use of legal and sustainable timber.

At present, at least 26 countries, mostly in the European Union (EU), have outlined a timber procurement policy at central government level. The continued proliferation of the EU Green Procurement Policy programme, and the growing number of pledges by private companies to ensure their supply chains are sustainable, demonstrates an expanding global commitment to the procurement of sustainable timber.

The paper outlines evidence that suggests these timber procurement policies are having a broader impact on consumer markets. The paper also concludes that timber procurement can provide valuable lessons to governments for developing other sustainable procurement policies, specifically in relation to palm oil, a major force behind deforestation.

For more information, and to download the report, visit the SPRC resource centre.

29 October 2014

Dutch tender increases energy savings and cuts costs in sewage treatment

Water Board Limburg (WBL) is responsible for the transport and treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater and the treatment of sludge in Limburg province (The Netherlands). In 2011, WBL tendered for a new sludge hydrolysis plant at their waste water treatment plant (WWTP) in Venlo. The goals of the plant included increasing biogas production, reducing sludge generation and speeding up the process – resulting in both energy savings and cost reductions.

The board published a tender for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a new sludge hydrolysis plant. Following a pre-qualification, a competitive dialogue was used to improve the tender specifications and provide space for innovative proposals to be developed. The use of functional specifications also gave bidders more freedom to design novel solutions.

The winning bidder developed a technology to significantly improve the efficiency of sludge treatment. Not only does the new plant match all the goals WBL set out, it also reduces the anaerobic digestion time. Through the procurement process, an affordable thermal hydrolysis sludge treatment technology that lowers the costs and the CO2 emissions of sludge treatment was achieved. The new technology is cheap enough to be used in smaller waste treatment plants. This process saw WBL nominated for the Procurement of Innovation Award 2014.

For more information, visit the European Commission case study.
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27 October 2014

Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan for the Mediterranean calls for contributions

A consultation platform that aims to make consumption and production in the Mediterranean region more sustainable is seeking ideas and suggestions. All input will feed into the newly developed Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Action Plan, which charts a path to a “prosperous Mediterranean region” by 2030 with “socially inclusive economies based on sustainable consumption and production patterns”. Developed with the support of the SWITCH-Med project, the plan will also contribute to cleaner and healthier ecosystems.

A wide-range of stakeholders are encouraged to provide input, including business intermediaries, organisations supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, civil society organisations, research institutions, educational bodies, local governments, and development agencies.

Food and agriculture, tourism, goods manufacturing, and housing and construction have been identified as key economic sectors for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean and will form the four main axis of the SCP action plan. A suggested first list of measures for each sector has been compiled and is available in the action plan background document. Contributors are asked to read the outline before participating in the online consultation process.The platform is open until 29 October and can be accessed via the SWITCH-Med Consultation Phase website.

For more information, contact

23 October 2014

Survey commissioned to answer EC questions on GPP networking

The European Commission’s directorate general (DG) for Environment has commissioned a study to examine the feasibility of supporting a European green public procurement (GPP) network to exchange good practice. The study will identify and evaluate existing GPP networking activities and propose ideas for how these can be built upon at European level.

The development of such a network is one of the actions called for under the European Resource Efficiency Platform, a high-level group set up to guide European policymakers in transitioning to a resource-efficient economy. The initial step of the study, which is being carried out by Public Procurement Analysis, is a short survey.

The survey has been designed to take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes, and comprises ten questions. It will be followed up with targeted interviews and a webinar to present and discuss findings. Responses are requested by Monday 3 November 2014.

To take part in the survey, click here.

21 October 2014

Eight new case studies published by GPP2020 project

GPP 2020 aims to mainstream low-carbon procurement across Europe in support of the EU’s goal to achieve a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20 percent increase in the share of renewable energy, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020.

A core aim within the GPP 2020 project is to tender and contract low carbon products, works and services. Through these tenders CO2 emissions are reduced and a more energy efficient economy is encouraged. To achieve long term sustainability, the tenders need to be replicable for other local authorities interested in making their procurement greener.

In line with this, each tender issued by one of the GPP 2020 partners is documented as a ‘tender model’, using a case study format. These tender models are easily accessible through the project’s searchable tender database. Eight new tenders have been published, with more to come.

To view the tenders, read the first article in the GPP2020 newsletter.
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