Many different approaches to implementing SPP are taken by public authorities in Europe - in terms of organisation, scope, ambition, and a number of other areas.
The right approach for your authority will likely depend on a variety of factors:
However, SPP implementation is possible for any authority in any country. Some useful guides and tips are presented below.
Comprehensive guidance on the implementation of GPP under the EU Procurement Directives.
Advice on implementing sustainable procurement in any size of public authority.
A high level commitment to the implementation of SPP in the form of a policy or strategy document, naturally acts as a strong driver for implementation within an organisation, and helps to ensure the necessary co-operation between departments. A number of such policies and strategies can be found in the Resource Centre.
Many organisations set targets for SPP as an effective tool both for assessing performance and communicating intentions. These may include overall SPP targets, targets relating to specific product/service sectors, or operational targets relating to, for example, capacity building.
Most organisations will start SPP implementation by identifying certain key sectors. Decisive factors in determining priorities include significance in sustainability or budgetary terms, local political priorities, major upcoming contracts, ready availability of alternatives.
Typically SPP implementation would involve a number of different people and departments within an organisation - procurement, sustainability, finance, specialist departments such as construction or IT. Establishing a working group to co-operate can help find the most effective means of implementation.
Undertaking a baseline inventory is an important preparatory phase to implementing sustainable procurement. This could include a survey of organisational arrangements – which people and departments are involved and in what way. An inventory should also collect data on the quantities of a particular service or product currently purchased, the price paid, together with any environmental and social criteria used.
Developing sustainability requirements for tenders can be daunting for procurers with little knowledge of such issues. However, a variety of sources of ready-to-use criteria exist. The European Commission has criteria for a wide range of products and services, as do many national governments. Ecolabels also provide a valuable source of information for developing criteria.
To assess progress towards targets and policy commitments it is important to have an effective monitoring system in place. As sustainabililty aspects are not typically monitored in procurement this may require new procedures to be established.
Good market intelligence about potential sustainable solutions available is highly beneficial for public authorities in implementing SPP. Informing the market about your SPP intentions far enough in advance and engaging in open dialogue with potential suppliers (early market engagement) is an effective way to optimise your SPP results.
You are not alone in implementing SPP. Many others are engaged in the same activity, or have already been through this experience. Taking part in national and international networking activities helps to share good (and bad) SPP practices.
Join us in the Procura+ Network to learn from others and share your own experiences.