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Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre

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30 July 2015

Award programme promoting the circular economy invites applications

Entries are now open for the Circulars award programme 2016, an award scheme that recognises individuals and organisations that have made a notable contribution to pushing forward circular economy principles across seven categories. The category "Award for Circular Economy Government, Cities & Regions" invites applications from local, regional and national government bodies, and rewards public procurement programmes or public policy initiatives that enabled the circular economy to develop.

Other awards include recognising the leader, either in business or the public sector, who has done the most to inspire a shift towards the circular economy, and the small to medium sized organisation (SME) which is transforming its operations to embrace the circular economy. Further prizes are available for circular economy entrepreneurs and the investment body that has helped the circular economy to become mainstream.

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos (Switzerland) in January 2016. A jury comprised of leading experts from business and civil society will examine the applications through a series of desk-based reviews and discussions. The finalists in each category will be announced before the end of 2015.

For more information, visit the Circulars 2016 website.
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28 July 2015

UK sustainability certification encourages businesses to reduce CO2 emissions annually

A UK sustainability certification developed by two environmental organisations has been designed to recognise companies and other organisations that cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 2.5 percent per year. The certification is the brainchild of Planet First, a sustainability consultancy focused on the private sector, and the Eden project, an educational organisation that aims to raise awareness about human impact on the natural world.

The certification provides third-party assistance to help companies calculate their emissions and put in place measures to reduce them. Emissions from procured goods and services also play a role in the overall analysis. Businesses usually find that the cost of certification is usually covered by the savings made through greater efficiency. Most companies who go for certification surpass the 2.5 percent mark, achieving a CO2 reduction of between seven and eight percent.

The majority of businesses requesting the certification have been small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), a fact that Steve Malkin, the CEO of Planet First, welcomes. “It is gratifying that most Planet Mark certified businesses come from the SME community, who are not mandated to report carbon emissions or reduce them,” he said. A new certification for developments including commercial buildings has also been launched, titled the Planet Mark for Buildings.

For more information, visit ec.europa.eu.
 

23 July 2015

Cape Town to look at how SPP can reduce costs and increase sustainability

The City of Cape Town will be undertaking a review of its spending to assess where the greatest environmental impact can be achieved, including the role that sustainable public procurement (SPP) can play. The review will form part of the city’s commitment to increasingly include green procurement criteria into its bid specifications and evaluation for key products and services to improve resource efficiency and environmental sustainability and to unlock the potential of the green economy.

Cape Town is taking an international leadership role in the field of green procurement having joined the Global Lead Cities Network on SPP, which was established during the ICLEI World Congress held in Seoul (Korea) in April 2015. “Given its significant purchasing power, the public sector has a key role to play in driving the market for environmentally sustainable products and, consequently, promoting more sustainable consumption and production for a better future,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

“Green procurement means amending our procurement system with the intent to optimise the city’s resource efficiency and to promote environmental sustainability while using our public market power to bring about environmental and social benefits locally. It focuses on achieving value for money across the entire value chain and promotes growth in the green economy in Cape Town,” he added. As a result of the city’s green procurement efforts, a total saving of approximately R120 million is expected by 2018.

For more information, visit CapeTown.gov.za.
 

21 July 2015

EU project uses PPI to achieve sustainable management of municipal waste

Innovative public procurement is being used to tackle Europe's growing waste problem, with the EU-funded PPI4Waste project promoting eco-innovative solutions to tackle sustainable waste management issues. The project is also supporting the implementation of European policies and national strategies on waste, and aims to improve resource efficiency and sustainable consumption throughout Europe. The project brings together eight partners from five European countries.

As well as establishing a list of purchasers who may potentially be interested in buying innovative waste solutions, the project is attempting to define public authorities’ needs. Interviews with 14 contracting authorities across the EU have already been conducted, resulting in the identification of almost 100 needs covering the whole waste management chain. Examples include pre-treatment of bulky waste, reducing the noise caused by street sweeping and washing systems, and the sealing of landfill and gas removal.

Project partners will agree on at least three priority areas, and work with contracting authorities to address them through innovative procurement. The results of the project’s needs assesment will be presented during an international procurement foresight workshop in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October 2015.

For more information, contact contact@ppi4waste.eu.
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16 July 2015

New book provides practical public procurement guidance

The many facets of public procurement are explored and made accessible in Abby Semple’s new book “A Practical Guide to Public Procurement”. Published by Oxford University Press, the book delves into the EU legal framework and the impact of the 2014 EU procurement directives. Rather than presenting a theoretical analysis, the book incorporates the reality of how public authorities and companies act when bidding for public contracts, taking into account the unavoidable constraints on their time, capacity and budget.

A detailed overview of the legal obligations and opportunities afforded by the procurement directives is given, including an outline of the court’s interpretation of the directives through case law. The increased comprehensiveness (and complexity) of the most recent directives in comparison to the 2004 iteration is highlighted, particularly where the changes in the law give rise to potential confusion. The reinterpretation of public procurement as a means to meet diverse policy objectives is also discussed.

A consideration of the various ways of applying the term “value for money” leads into discussion on sustainability, and the economic and legislative imperative behind purchasing green. Bringing a knack for explanation coupled with a legal precision that gets to the heart of European procurement legislation, Ms. Semple has written a text book that is destined to become a vital resource for procurers across Europe.

For more information, visit Oxford University Press.
 

15 July 2015

EcoProcura conference series calls for host city

Cities, regional governments and national governments are invited to express their interest in hosting the 10th EcoProcura conference on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and innovation procurement (IP), which is planned for 2017. The long-running EcoProcura series provides a platform for exchange and dialogue amongst purchasers from all levels of government, suppliers and policy-makers on strategies and the latest practical solutions for implementing SPP and IP.

The conferences seek to generate greater awareness, motivate and encourage people, both from a practical and policy perspective, to move forward on the issue of SPP and IP at the local, national, European and international level. The event, which usually lasts for up to two and a half days, presents an ideal opportunity for the host to promote its own SPP and IP activities to a wide audience. It can be combined with national initiatives, projects, and product exhibitions and trade fairs related to SPP and IP.

ICLEI has been working on event organisation for 25 years and will lead the development of the 10th EcoProcura conference in close cooperation with the host organisation. Responsibilities will be shared between ICLEI, the host and potential further partners, based on an agreed share of tasks. Each edition of the conference series is expected to attract between 250 and 350 participants. English will be the main language during the conference.

For more information, consult the call for submission of bids. [PDF]
 

9 July 2015

G7 leaders declare support for greater sustainability in global supply chains

The seven leaders of the world's most industrialised nations, the G7 group, pledged to promote "labour rights, decent working conditions and environmental protection in global supply chains" following the G7 Summit in Germany. The leaders also stated that they recognise “the joint responsibility of governments and business to foster sustainable supply chains and encourage best practices”. The comments are contained in the Leaders' Declaration, a document summarising the summit's outcomes.

“Unsafe and poor working conditions lead to significant social and economic losses and are linked to environmental damage. Given our prominent share in the globalisation process, G7 countries have an important role to play,” states the declaration. The G7 group also confirms their support for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and for a “Vision Zero Fund” to be established in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will help to prevent and reduce workplace-related deaths and serious injuries by strengthening public frameworks and establishing sustainable business practices.

The leaders “encourage enterprises active or headquartered in our countries to implement due diligence procedures regarding their supply chains", and go on to say that they "will take action to promote better working conditions by increasing transparency, promoting identification and prevention of risks and strengthening complaint mechanisms". The document also states that the G7 group will offer greater support to SMEs to “develop a common understanding of due diligence and responsible supply chain management” and that they will “strengthen multi-stakeholder initiatives in our countries and in partner countries, including in the textile and ready-made garment sector, building upon good practices learned from the Rana Plaza aftermath.”

For more information, visit Supply Chain Management.
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7 July 2015

Public consultation opens on moving Europe towards a Circular Economy

The European Commission has opened a public consultation to collect views on the main policy options for developing an ambitious new approach to the Circular Economy. Stakeholders' input will help feed the preparation of the new action plan, to be presented by the end of 2015. Moving towards a more circular economy can promote competitiveness and innovation by stimulating new business models and technologies as well as facilitating social innovation. The consultation is open until 20 August 2015.

First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said: "Europe's future economic development must be part of a sustainable long-term agenda. We need to use our resources more intelligently, design our products with a view to their re-use and recycling, and set ambitious targets for waste reduction and recycling. Today we are asking people across Europe for their input on how to design our policies in a way that stimulates a competitive green economy in Europe and protects the environment for future generations."

The policy options will include actions on intelligent product design, reuse and repair of products, recycling, sustainable consumption, waste policy, recycling levels, smart use of raw materials, stronger markets for secondary raw materials and specific sectorial measures. Citizens, public authorities, businesses and all other interested governmental and non-governmental parties are invited to take part in the consultation.

For more information, visit the consultation webpage.
 

3 July 2015

Italian Region of Lombardy releases PIN for refurbishment of buildings

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) has been released by the Region of Lombardy (Italy), alerting suppliers to the planned public procurement of innovative solutions for the refurbishment of two buildings used as social housing. Built in the 1980s, the buildings are poorly insulated resulting in uncomfortable conditions for occupants. The procurement is part of the Region’s collaboration with the EU-funded PROBIS project, which helps public authorities to procure innovative solutions for European buildings.

The region’s main aim is to increase the thermal comfort and improve air quality in the buildings. The region also wishes to lessen the environmental impact of the buildings, reducing the use of fossil fuel and lowering energy usage by around 40 percent and 24 percent in the buildings respectively. User-friendly regulation, metering and billing of heating is also expected. The value of the contract is between €800,000 and €1 million.

The city also stipulates that changes should present a minimum interference and disturbance to tenants, with occupants able to stay in their homes during renovation. The procurement procedure is being carried out by Lombardy Social Housing Company for the Province of Bergamo, Lecco and Sondrio (ALER), a public body that purchases, constructs and recovers homes and properties to rent and sell to medium and low income families. The Italian City of Turin also recently published a PIN for similar refurbishment needs.

For more information, visit the PROBIS website.
 

1 July 2015

EcoProcura China 2015 sees announcement of GPP partnership initiative

Around 80 participants attended the ICLEI-organised sub-forum EcoProcura China 2015: International Dialogue on Green Public Procurement, held on 28 June 2015 during the Eco-Forum Global Annual Conference in Guiyang (China). The event saw the announcement of the ICLEI-supported Initiative on Green Public Procurement (GPP) China Partnership, which invites the participation of any Chinese local government, company or organisation interested in the implementation of GPP at the local level.

“We believe this partnership will provide a platform for facilitating international exchange on GPP solutions between Chinese local governments and relevant stakeholders, as well as promoting the implementation of GPP at the local level,” said Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI East Asia Secretariat. Attendees at the event included government officials in charge of public procurement, experts, and business representatives from China, Korea, Japan, Germany and Finland. Through a series of lectures and workshops, participants explored and discussed current GPP challenges and solutions.

A pioneer in promoting GPP among local governments, ICLEI started the Europe-wide conference series EcoProcura in 1998 to provide a forum for knowledge and experience exchange. Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre outlined ICLEI’s expertise in this area, including its resources, activities and projects. Mr. Hidson also expressed his wish to further cooperate with Chinese local governments in the future.

For more information, visit ICLEI East Asia.
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