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European Big Buyers advance procurement of zero emission vehicles

14 November 2019

The Big Buyers is a European Commission Initiative (BBI) for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement. As part of the platform, three working groups on circular construction, electric vehicles, and zero emission construction were established. The first meeting of the Big Buyers working group on electric vehicles took place on the 30 of October in Procura+ Participant and GLCN City Rotterdam. 25 participants from 11 cities and institutions discussed the procurement of (heavy-duty) electric vehicles, in particular for waste collection, street cleaning, and goods delivery.


The cities of Oslo (Procura+ Participant), Paris and Helsinki (Procura+ Participant) presented three best practice examples. Each participant also presented their current work, ambitions and challenges related to the procurement of electric vehicles.
Participants also had the chance to see Rotterdam’s electric fleet: 8 electric vehicles (light commercial vans, a garbage truck, an equipment carrier and sweeping machines) were presented in operation. During the site visit the participants gained valuable insights on what type of electric vehicles are already on the market and in daily use by the City of Rotterdam.
In the upcoming months, this cross-European working group decided to work on three main actions:

• Creating a platform for collaboration and sharing on technical specification for these type of vehicles, which are unique for the public sector
• Joint market dialogue and engagement
• Joint statement of demand

Additionally, a market engagement event is planned to take place in the spring of 2020. The next meeting of this group will be a BBI Procurement Training in Oslo, Norway on 28 & 29 November 2019. This will be an event for all three Big Buyers working groups, with cross-cutting capacity building sessions on how to build innovation in procurement.

MUPASS 2019 - our three take-aways

12 November 2019

The MUPASS Dialogue Forum 2019 took place in Bonn, Germany. The three-day Forum enabled a fruitful exchange on the topic of sustainable public procurement (SPP) with many interactive formats for senior officials from Europe, Africa and South America. The event was jointly organized by the German Development Institute, Engagement Global, Service Agency Communities in One World and the German Federal Ministry for Economy Cooperation and Development. Our colleague Philipp Tepper attended the event to share ICLEI’s work on enabling socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) through the Procura+ Network or the Global Lead Cities Network (GLCN) as well as the opportunity to submit good practice cases as part of the #WeBuySocialEU Project.

Back in 2018, the German Development Institute started organizing international dialogue on SPP, finding that despite regional differences, key challenges in implementing SPP are similar. Thus, mutual exchange and learning beyond borders appears extremely beneficial for public procurement experts.

Our three key take aways from this year:

1. SRPP benefits from a curated space and time for practitioners from different cultural contexts to exchange on its meaning and implications. This international exchange emphasized the spectrum of what social responsibility can entail e.g. tackling corruption across supply-chains, supporting local employment schemes, to fair working conditions and gender equality.

2. Social responsibility is a topic where public authorities hold leverage to makeshift. Procurement is a tool to act on the public responsibility of buying fair, just and for public benefit. GLCN cities such as Oslo, Ghent or Buenos Aires have put in place policies, strategies and processes that implement SRPP across sectors.

3. Lighthouse stories from cities such as Bonn, Freetown or the state of Sao Paulo inspire momentum and efforts towards replication. SPP is not yet mainstream. However, exchanging experiences and identifying common challenges strengthens the sense of direction and future collaboration.


Looking beyond the MUPASS Forum, the Procura+ Network offers thematic City Matches for a select group of procurers to connect and foster exchange.

Watch a recap of the MUPASS Forum 2019.

Local governments for climate conference calls on procurment to combat climate change

7 November 2019

There is great potential for local governments to use public procurement to strengthen their work on climate change and sustainability. Green and socially responsible public procurement are key tools laid out in the German governments’ Sustainability Agenda to achieve its climate targets.

How can local governments incorporate climate targets and resource efficiency in their procurement practices? Which criteria need to be considered?

At 12th annual “Kommunale Kilmakonferenz” (Local Governments for Climate Conference) in ICLEI Member Berlin (Germany), local governments and climate leaders got together to discuss these topics.

In his keynote address, Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Europe Regional Director, encouraged local governments to pick up public procurement as a key area of focus in combatting climate change. He highlighted that 13% of GDP in Germany results from public procurement, and provided a range of examples from German and European cities that make use of this spending power to minimise carbon emissions and improve resource efficiency.

Cities such as ICLEI Member Hamburg (Germany) are constantly pushing for greener procurement criteria and leading the way in the implementation of sustainable procurement. Examples from sectors such as transport, mobility, and catering show that public procurement can incorporate climate change related goals and help to achieve them.

“It is good for cities to dare to move off the beaten path and try out new and different approaches,” concluded Mr Teubner.

At the conference, ICLEI Member Ludwigsburg (Germany) was honoured with an award for outstanding climate-friendly procurement for their work in using procurement strategically to achieve better public health, lower carbon emissions, and improve resource efficiency, all by introducing circular procurement approaches. The city has made strict sustainability criteria mandatory across all procuring departments.

To learn more about the conference, click here.

New Project encourages the transformation to a circular economy

6 November 2019

A new project supporting the transition to a circular economy in European cities has been kicked off. CityLoops, an EU-funded project coordinated by ICLEI Europe,  puts a strong emphasis on how public procurement can support this transition.

CityLoops focuses on two of the most significant urban material flows with remarkable environmental impacts in European cities: construction and demolition waste (CDW) – including soil – and organic waste (OW). Partners involved in this four-year initiative will develop 'circular city scan' methodology and indicators by adapting material flow analysis (MFA) and urban metabolism methods, as well as Circular Procurement Assessments to leverage the power of procurement. This will drive the transition to a circular economy.

Through this process, seven small- to medium-sized cities in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain will test a number of innovative tools and processes to support circular planning, procurement, and decision-making related to CDW and OW. Scale-up plans in each of the demonstration cities will be prepared, while collaborative learning networks will be established at the regional level. These activities will be underpinned by public procurement support, including several workshops and guidance material on circular procurement.

Political representatives from most of the cities involved in the project – Høje-Taastrup, Roskilde and the Capital Region of Denmark (Denmark), Mikkeli (Finland), Seville and Vallès Occidental (Spain), and Porto (Portugal) – recently gathered to sign a ‘Circular Cities Declaration’. Through their signatures, they commit to enhancing the circular economy through policy and regulatory levers, including public procurement; to initiating a series of innovative pilot and demonstration activities to help identify the most promising solutions; to sharing knowledge with peers; and to building a wider circular cities coalition with key stakeholders and initiatives across Europe.

Cities and procurement authorities that are interested in becoming circular can join in and follow the activities of this project through a range of site visits, workshops, and webinars. If you are interested to learn more about opportunities to get engaged, please contact procurement@iclei.org.

For more information on CityLoops, please click here.

Transformative Action: Procurement as tool to achieve Circular Economy

5 November 2019

Circular Berlin - an initiative that works on circular economy from a bottom-up approach, found that based on the existing city strategies, the main priorities identified for a CE transformation in Berlin are: product reuse, waste prevention, improvement of green procurement including material use, the link between CE and energy efficiency, eco-construction, food and bio waste, and place-based actions.


In addition to research on the existing strategies, Circular Berlin is providing platforms for engagement and knowledge exchange and supporting local actors through collaboration. Now, their efforts were recognised through their nomination as one of three finalists of the 2019 Transformative Action Award. The other two are Leuven2030 (Belgium) and the City of Lousada (Portugal) 

The European sustainability award is organised by ICLEI, the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark) and supported by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Now in its third year, the Award recognises ongoing or concluded Transformative Actions, which use the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration to contribute towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, and the achievement of the socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation of societies.


Learn more about Circular Berlin.
Learn more about the Transformative Action Award.

SUSTAINABLE FINANCE – new article highlights the possibilities for public procurement

1 November 2019

To achieve carbon neutrality and fulfil the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, the EU will require investments of about €175-290 billion per annum in the energy, transport, construction, water and infrastructure sectors – this is according most recent estimates. Public and private funds will have to be redirected into sustainable investments to make this happen. Responding to the urgency of this issue, the European Commission has submitted an ambitious and unique Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth.

Creating more opportunities for green investment and raising investor awareness about the risks associated with climate change indeed requires action on all fronts. Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre, and Paula Land, Officer at ICLEI’s Sustainable Economy and Procurement team, have published an article in the European Files Magazine, highlighting the role that public procurement can play in directing funds towards climate change mitigation solutions. Despite the opportunities, there is also a need to level the playing field for sustainable finance and a lack of awareness and skills among public officials. This lack can be addressed by clear political support for “future-proof” procurement and legislation that levels the playing field for sustainable procurement.

“It needs governments at all levels that make clear and ambitious commitments to use sustainable public procurement to make their societies resource-efficient, low carbon and socially responsible. For a future-proof Europe, every public authority will need to do their bit in working towards a sustainable economy and society, and sustainable procurement is a vital part of this transition.”- Mark Hidson, Paula Land, Waking the Giant – European Files Magazine.

The most recent edition of the European Files Magazine looks more broadly into how the public and private sector can tackle the issue of sustainable climate finance. Contributions from the French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and EIB Vice President for climate action and environment Emma Navarro, among other, to discuss how public policy must change to direct more finance towards future proof solutions, and how private investors can change their risk assessment strategies to factor in the risks related to climate change.

Download the complete edition of the European Files Magazine here.

GPP in Malta - ICLEI's training helps with implementation

29 October 2019

Green Public Procurement (GPP) offers a range of benefits, including cost savings and environmental improvements, so public organisations naturally want to implement GPP as a standard practice for procurement. On behalf of the European Commission, ICLEI Europe is currently conducting training for procurement practitioners in Malta, to support them in the uptake of GPP.

The Maltese Government recently passed the GPP Second National Action Plan 2019 – 2025 (NAP). The NAP focuses on enhancing green public procurement functions, highlighting opportunities to minimise the environmental footprint of purchases by the Maltese public buyers and drive markets towards greener products and services.   

The EC GPP Training, delivered across four separate sessions, provides additional perspectives and support for Malta’s procurers to achieve the aims of the NAP. During the first session on 11 June 2019, 20 procurers got together to learn about using procurement strategically for green and circular outcomes and assessing environmental needs when planning procurement. The next training took place on 12 September 2019, covering the legal aspects of GPP and engaging the market for sustainable innovations.

“In addition to the training provided by the GPP Office, the provision of tailored training on Green Public Procurement by ICLEI has allowed us to further support GPP Coordinators in the implementation of our new GPP 2nd National Action Plan, which shall be adopted in the coming months. In Malta, the public sector is one of the largest procurers of goods and services, and by leveraging our purchasing power to instil due environmental consideration the private sector will follow suit, hence exploiting GPP to its maximum potential as a market-based mechanism.” - Kristian Sultana,  Environment Officer in the Maltese Directorate for the Environment and Climate Change

John Watt, one of the ICLEI trainers, said “it was great to bring best practices in GPP from across Europe to assist and inspire the Maltese procurers in making their NAP happen.

ICLEI will provide two more training sessions in Malta that will dive into circular procurement and focus on specific products and services that Maltese procurers see as strategically important for GPP. ICLEI will deliver those two sessions in February and May 2020.

In parallel to the training in Malta, several other GPP training sessions are taking place across Europe. Procurers that would like to spread GPP knowledge within their organisations can also make use of the GPP training toolkit, developed by ICLEI on behalf of the European Commission. It can be found online here.

New GPP criteria for food, catering services and vending machines

24 October 2019

The European Commission has just published new voluntary EU GPP criteria for food, catering services and vending machines. The use of these criteria has the potential to considerably reduce environmental impacts from this purchase area. Some of the key objectives of this EU GPP criteria-set are the following:

  • Increasing the share of organic products;
  • Avoiding the consumption of fish and marine products from depleted stocks;
  • Promoting an increased offer in plant-based menus;
  • Avoiding food waste and improving the overall management of waste;
  • Avoiding the use of single-use items;
  • Reducing energy consumption in kitchens and vending machines;
  • Reducing water consumption in kitchens.

 

The new criteria are available in English; the other EU official languages will soon follow.

Smart cities need smarter procurement – OECD Public Procurement Forum

22 October 2019

This week is the OECD Public Procurement Week, running under the theme of ‘Unpacking complexity’. Key part of the programme is the high-level Forum on Mainstreaming effective responses to complex challenges on 22 October, a joint initiative of the Public Governance Directorate (GOV) and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE).

Mark Hidson, Global Director, Sustainable Procurement Centre, ICLEI, spoke about how to design procurement strategies so as to mainstream innovation in public contracts under the smart city paradigm. This is vital as integrating smart city principles often requires to totally rethink the way many public services are delivered, from street lighting to urban mobility.

Throughout the Forum policymakers and practitioners discussed three main questions (1) How are public institutions leveraging on public procurement to support the implementation of public policies? (2) How can infrastructure effectively support inclusive growth, productivity and well-being? (3) How to align human capacities, strategies and procurement outcomes in a changing world?

Back to back, the OECD launched a new report analysing the progress achieved in implementing the 2015 OECD Recommendation on Public Procurement. Explore it here.

What contribution can school meals give to sustainability and regional development?

17 October 2019

The 30th iteration of ICLEI’s Breakfast@Sustainability’s took place during the 2019 European Week of Regions and Cities and was organised in partnership with the Committee of the Regions and the Organic Cities Network Europe. The event focussed on the role of sustainable food procurement for schools.

If used strategically, sustainable food procurement is a powerful tool that governments have at their disposal to create stronger regional value chains. Good practice examples were brought by Aurélie Solans from the city of Paris and Carsten Friis Toft from the city of Copenhagen (Procura+ Participant). In the city of Paris, around 30 million meals are served public canteens. In 2015, the City Council adopted a Sustainable food Plan that explicitly emphasizes local, organic and seasonal products and aims at reducing meat consumption by 20%. The plan is achieving remarkable results and 2018 46,8%  of meals served in public canteens were sustainably sourced, making the Paris municipality the leading public purchasers of organic food in France. 

The city of Copenhagen reached its goals by focusing on investment in awareness-raising, market engagement prior, during and after the tendering process. Much emphasize was also put on dialogue with kitchen staff and on educating them to ensure they know how to work with products. ”We have the policies, now we need to make them into reality”, said Carsten Friis Toft from the city of Copenhagen. Building on this Mr. Serafini, Director of the Organic Cities Network Europe, highlighted "the most important novelty is that citizens, now more than ever, influence with their food choices.”

However, existing public procurement rules constrain innovative food procurement also. Mr.  Kompatscher - President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and Regional Councilor, CoR Rapporteur on Opinion on European Sustainable Food Policy, drew attention to the paradoxical situation we are facing. While there is much effort on making it possible for private consumers to consciously buy local, organic food (in line with von der Leyen's Farm to Fork Strategy), this is not the case when it comes to public procurement:  the principles of EU market hinder the possibility for public tenders to make the same choice. According to the EU, bidding for regional products would distort competition and as a result, public tenders have to develop additional award criteria and find 'creative' solutions that empower local providers.

In response, Mr. Schmidt - Chair of the Sustainable Development Observatory, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for the creation of a European Food Policy Council, which should be multi-stakeholder and multi-level, involving local and regional authorities and initiatives and for the creation of an Expert Group to formulate Europe-wide sustainable dietary guidelines.

Christof Kienel - Head of Unit, Commission for Natural Resources, European Committee of the Regions, emphasised that "sustainable food in school canteens and schools shows the role of the CoR and local and regional actors here in Brussels to link local and regional expertise to see what does work and does not, to help EU to take better decisions".  

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