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Towards circular public procurement: let’s learn together

16 October 2018

It is tricky to transform the enthusiasm about a sustainable concept such as the circular economy into governmental regulation and legislation, finds a new article by Jo-Anne St. Godard. Institutional inertia and administrative fragmentation do not necessarily blow new wind for the sail.

From a Canadian perspective, the article highlights that the structural and sectoral fragmentation in public bodies increases the lack of awareness on topics that need non-siloed thinking to realize a transition to the circular economy.

The article emphasizes that an approach to the rescue would be to learn from other existing cases, especially from the European examples. Organisations such as ICLEI provide knowledge transfer, capacity building through collaboration, and guidance that can help implement new paradigms such as Circular Public Procurement (CPP). In 2017, a guiding report was published - read it here.

Despite being a powerful tool in and of itself, integrative institutional structures and regulations need to enable CPP. Policymakers, therefore, must provide suitable conditions for circular procurement to expand.

To learn more about the work of ICLEI click here and to read the full article click here.

 

Helsinki region cities set joint criteria for 'greener' heavy vehicles

10 October 2018

Public authorities in the Helsinki region have joined forces to set joint tender criteria for greener heavy vehicles. In an interview the Procurement Manager at Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), Kristiina Bailey, said that heavy vehicles are responsible for carbon emissions and other air pollution, and are therefore an important area of focus to meet the region's CO2 reduction and other emission targets.

Air quality is an increasingly pressing issue in many European cities, with cities frequently failing to meet EU air quality targets. To tackle this issue, an initiative has been formed by the Urban Environment Division of Helsinki City, Helsinki City Construction Services Stara, Helsinki City Transport, Helen Ltd (energy), City of EspooCity of Vantaa and HSY to define joint tender criteria for heavy vehicles.

Joint tender criteria offer a range of benefits. According to Ms Bailey, contractors feel more confident in improving their fleet and machinery accordingly, since multiple public bodies are implementing the same criteria. And, says Ms Bailey, “the initiative has shown us that cooperation between different public procurers, contractors and other organisations is possible!”

Read the full interview in the latest GPP News Alert

Procuring sustainable timber to combat deforestation

9 October 2018

Only  30% of tropical timber products in the EU market are sustainable - this is one of the key findings of a recent report commissioned  and  co-authored by  IDH - the Sustainable Trade Initiative and forest and timber  experts. The report identifies trends in the trade of tropical timber on the European market, and explores how a European commitment to 100% verified   sustainable tropical timber, can contribute to deforestation-free supply chains and help meet climate change mitigation targets.

It also highlights the successes of Sustainable Timber Procurement Policies (STPPs) which have been implemented in 19 EU countries. However, for these policies to affect the market they need to be backed by strong political commitment and enforcement. Certification is mentioned as "a key component for an effective strategy to combat imported deforestation" and it can also support public procurers in defining criteria for their timber products. Procurers need be able to verify whether timber actually meets their procurement policies, a need to which certification schemes can respond.

"If the seven main consuming countries would source onlyverified sustainable primary tropical timberproducts, itwould have a positive impact on approximately 5.3 million ha of tropical forests", concludes the report.

Click here to access the full report.

Become a change agent in sustainable procurement

4 October 2018

Doing things differently - EcoProcura 2018 dares its participants to implement behaviour change in their own organisations. Recognizing Sustainable Procurement (SPP) as a strategic tool to achieve sustainability goals is just the first step. Often it is the people in the organisation that need to be on board to implement change.

Procurers can be change agents within their own organisations and empower their peers to take bold steps, says Dr. Jolien Grandia from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. A strong mission statement combined with ambitious and clear targets is crucial when implementing sustainable and innovative procurement, agree the speakers of the second day of the conference.

Change can also be achieved by finding simple solutions to complex problems - this is Reyes Tirado’s message from Greenpeace. Procurers have direct influence on the food supply in public organisations and reducing animal based products benefits both the environment and public health.

A more radical approach to behavioural change was proposed by Tilman Reinhardt suggesting that governments today already have a legal obligation to implement sustainable procurement. This is an option for strategic litigation in case public procurement does in fact not include certain sustainability criteria - holding public authorities accountable and creating jurisprudence.

For more information about the programme, latest updates, and the speakers at this year EcoProcura conference, click here.

 

 

 

Bertrand Piccard challenges procurers to buy better

3 October 2018

This year’s Ecoprocura conference in Nijmegen is exploring how governments can step up the game and do more to implement the solutions that are already available to environmental and social problems.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the Solar Impulse - the solar airplane which flew around the world - kicked off the day with a powerful call to action. We are living with past technologies - combustion engines, badly insulated homes, incandescent bulbs. But “the challenge is not technology, it’s psychology” - procurers need to change mindsets and become change makers!  

Dr. Piccard was followed by a number of speakers, from cities such as Nijmegen, Ghent, Barcelona, as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, who shared stories of their own bold actions to encourage greater sustainability and innovation through procurement. A range of actionable insights in specific sectors was also discussed through a range of breakout sessions.

For more on the EcoProcura conference, visit the conference news corner here.

 

An action agenda for the circular city

27 September 2018

A new report published by Circl Economy, TNO and the City of Amsterdam, presents ‘a vision and action agenda for the circular city’ taking the city of Amsterdam as example.

The report zooms in on two key areas in which the city has direct impact on circularity: The construction value chain and organic waste. It presents a set of action points for both of these areas that help to establish a circular production and consumption model on the city level.

The report highlights the importance of innovation in the soil, road, and construction sector – a sector that thus far has not achieved much attention in terms of circular development but which bears great potential due to large volumes as well the direct influence that many local governments can exert in this regard – through regulation as well as circular procurement. Innovation procurement processes challenging the market to for example redesign existing buildings or develop new products from used materials are a key tool for public authorities in this regard. 

Further information on circular procurement can also be found in this guide, published by the European Commission and authored by ICLEI. For more information about Circular Amsterdam click here.

Sustainable procurement for climate neutrality

25 September 2018

The Paris Agreement which was adopted by the United Nations (UN) member states in 2015 aims for global climate neutrality in the second half of this century – and it is widely recognized that national governments alone cannot achieve this objective. This past June, at the ICLEI World Congress in Montréal, ICLEI issued a call to action targeting local and regional governments. The ICLEI Montréal Commitment calls on local and regional governments to aim for 100 percent renewable energy and divest from fossil fuels to achieve climate neutral government operations and infrastructure. The commitment stresses local and regional governments' leadership role in deploying ambitious policies, concepts, actions and technologies to achieve neutrality.

To assist local authorities in achieving this goal, ICLEI developed a simple 4 step path toward climate neutrality. Starting with government operations and infrasturcture, public bodies can procure 100% renewable energy as well as sustainable goods and services. As a second step, public funds can be divested from fossil intensive industries and other unsustainable practices and as a third step reinvested in ambitious mitigation and adaptation activities which include innovative and strategic procurement. And finally, emissions that cannot be reduced with these measures can be offset using UN recognized carbon offsetting mechanisms.

Ways in which local governments can achieve climate neutrality were also an important result of the SPP regions project, supporting public authorities in using sustainable procurement (SPP) strategically to achieve climate targets. More resources on SPP stretgies that reduce CO2 emissions can be found in the resource centre and the SPP regions website.

Transformative Action Award recognises sustainable procurement

20 September 2018

The City of Ghent (Belgium) was recently announced as a shortlisted candidate for the 2018 Transformative Action Award.

The award, which is co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, The Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark), rewards current or concluded Transformative Actions that address the pathways of the Basque Declaration related to three categories: socio-cultural, socio-economic and, technological transformation.

From a strong field of 40 applications, Ghent was shortlisted for seeking to transform the city’s local food system. Through participative governance models, including a food policy council, Ghent’s food policy has moved from launching small-scale initiatives to bringing structural change to the food system. It is decreasing food waste, making food procurement more sustainable, scaling up short food supply chains and improving access to food.

For more information about the shortlisted candidates, click here.  To learn more about Ghent's Sustainable Procurement work and goals, click here.

Tshwane announced as new chair of GLCN on Sustainable Procurement

14 September 2018

Executive Mayor of Tshwane, South Africa, Solly Msimanga has been announced as the new chair of ICLEI’s  Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN) at the Global Climate Action Summit.

As an early leader in sustainable procurement in Africa, the City of Tshwane was an obvious choice to lead in the next phase of the GLCN. Tshwane’s long term strategic vision commits itself to a path of sustainable economic growth decoupled from environmental impacts, and Tshwane has recently set targets to make 40% of the city bus fleet green by 2030, 10% of overall purchases sustainable by 2021, and reach 20% renewable energy at community-scale by 2030.

The GLCN is a group of 14 cities from around the globe committed to the implementation of sustainable and innovation procurement. Their goal is to support the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and socially responsible society.

For more information on the GLCN, please click here.

EcoProcura 2018 to collaborate with TCO Certified

14 September 2018

EcoProcura 2018 is proud to announce that it will collaborate with TCO Certified on its 2018 conference on sustainable, circular and innovation procurement, which is taking place 3-5 October in Nijmegen (The Netherlands).

TCO Certified is a global sustainability certification for IT products, founded over 25 years ago. It sets criteria on such things as socially responsible manufacturing, environment, user health, safety and ergonomic design.

During the conference, TCO Certified will host the Breakout Session, High risk category procurement — increase supply chain sustainability through purchasing. This session will look at current environmental and social supply chain responsibility challenges and how these can be addressed through sustainable procurement. Attendees will gain unique insights into all stages of the product life and supply chain journey, and receive guidance and tools for driving a more circular, responsible approach when purchasing products.

EcoProcura participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about and speak directly to TCO Certified staff at their market lounge table and stand in the EcoProcura exhibition area.

For more information about EcoProcura and to register before the late fee comes into effect on September 21, click here.