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10 challenges & good practices for circular public procurement

19 June 2019

Public procurement holds the power to implement sustainable production and consumption across sectors. To achieve high impact with regards to resource use, procurement needs to involve circular principles.

A new report developed by Climate KIC, the City of Malmö and the City of Helsinki as part of the Circular City project, recognises the important role that public authorities play in the transition to a circular economy. The report -  'The challenges and potential of circular procurements in public construction projects', points out that circular procurement focusing on construction projects can be the instrument to address the increasing challenge that cities face regarding their resources.

Circular procurement is still a relatively new theme and especially in the construction sector, circular procurements are still rare globally. The report outlines 10 challenges for the uptake of circular procurement such as 'procurements are locked down in the planning phase' or 'Lack of information and circular economy expertise is reflected in every stage of procurement'. Integrating circularity into the procurement for the public construction sector is possible as a curated case catalogue demonstrates as part of the report.

Among the 10 good practice cases are examples from ICLEI member Gothenburg, Sweden, Procura+ Participants Haarlem, the Netherlands and Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as GLCN City Helsinki, Finland. The ladder showcases the procurement for multifunctional space in the Laasko Hospital with the goals of easy maintenance and material longevity.

In the EU context, the new report connects well to the Circular Economy Action Plan, which was published by the EU Commission in 2017. Procurement specific guidance can also be found in the report on Public Procurement for a Circular Economy.

Looking ahead, the report concludes that to much more experience is needed about the use of recycled materials before circular building can become a standard procedure in the sector. Also, it will be important to incorporate emissions and cost calculations into pilot projects to make it easier to justify the benefits of circular building materials in the future. All in all, the report underlines the big opportunity to create systematic change towards circularity through public purchasing power.

 

Read the full report here.

Browse our Resource Centre for more material on circular procurement.

Are you ready to boost your procurement power?

13 June 2019

ICLEI is excited to bring opportunities to procurers to engage with suppliers and public authorities across Europe to discover and shape new innovative and sustainable solutions to their purchasing needs. ICLEI can link procurers’ plans and needs with funded projects, such as the Big Buyers Initiative and the Innovation Procurement Brokers, that can bring procurers closers to other buyers or suppliers.

The Big Buyers Initiative is a European Commission platform for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement. ICLEI is looking for ambitious and committed public authorities willing to work together to develop pioneering approaches to procurement, and develop strategic joint actions to help move the market. For that, different working groups on different procurement sectors are being set up. Practitioners interested in joining, just have to check the Big Buyers Initiative webpage.

On the other hand, the Innovation Procurement Brokers is a project that brings public buyers and suppliers of innovation together. If you are a procurer and already have a need, ICLEI and other expert partners can connect you with SMEs and start-ups from across Europe that can provide or develop innovative solutions to meet your challenge. If you are at an earlier stage, the Innovation Procurement Brokers team can also support you to identify and refine your needs. For more information, visit here.

New UNECE Recommendation - emphasis on sustainable purchasing

31 May 2019

Procurement commitments under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Public Procurement (GPA) have been estimated at around EUR 1.3 trillion.

This is enormous purchasing power that can drive investment and innovation towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns, to address for instance, challenges linked to air, soil and water pollution, or occupational health and safety.

To help public authorities and companies embrace more responsible practices, while avoiding additional administrative burdens for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) trading across borders, UN/CEFACT has developed UNECE Policy Recommendation on Sustainable Procurement. The Recommendation provides a minimum set of common criteria to select sustainable suppliers, and meet increasing government and consumer demand for products and services that achieve value for money, while complying with fundamental environmental, social and health standards.

According to the Recommendation, a sustainable vendor rating model should contain a minimal set of commonly accepted social and environmental performance indicators that measure the suppliers’ sustainability performances. Defining a set of minimal sustainability criteria is a crucial goal for simplifying the compliance procedures at a global level, where global supply chains operate, and market forces maximize their synergies by simultaneously engaging Multi-National Corporations and MSMEs.

Read more here.

Access the full recommendation here.

Oslo conference showcases procurement as tool for cities to initiate change

29 May 2019

Sometimes procurement is described as the ‘sleeping giant’ of the sustainable development world. However, if used correctly and with sufficient leverage procurement can be a powerful tool to achieve social and environmental objectives. This was the key message shared at the recently held Urban Global Future Conference, which took place in GLCN city Oslo (Norway).

"Results can be surprising when leveraging procurement as a tool, it may not be the obvious approach, however, a powerful one that can do good for both environmental and social sustainability"  said Mark Hidson, Global Director, ICLEI Sustainable Procurement Centre: Deputy Regional Director, ICLEI Europe.

In helping to ‘wake the giant’, ICLEI Europe hosted a session, during the conference, on how to get started on green public procurement. During the session, where GLCN cities Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Oslo as well as Procura+ Participant Aalborg (Denmark) had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, it became clear that for green procurement to be successful, it needs to start from a solid foundation.

That is to say, it is important to gain an understanding of the European policy context as well as to leverage local political support and to harness existing guidance documents, which include lessons learned from other cities. The City Oslo is a prime example for this process of introducing sustainable procurement to now being a lighthouse for instance on developing zero-emission construction sites. The agenda also receives support by the wider cutting-edge sustainability approach i.e. having a carbon budget for the whole city. With the European Green Capital 2019 award, the city of Oslo may be the place to witness sustainability put into local action, actively shaping how urban future could look like.

For more information and to learn more how your local authority can harness the power of public procurement to achieve social and environmental goals, take a look at ICLEI’s Guidance Material: P+ Manual & Buying Green.

The next Urban Future Conference will take place in Lisbon 2020 and then in Rotterdam 2021.

New toolkit on better waste prevention and management released

23 May 2019

The UrbanWINS team has now released its final toolkit A guide on urban metabolism and participatory processes for more efficient urban waste policies, that can inspire urban waste agents – from decision makers to waste companies – to improve the sustainability of cities by interpreting waste issues and policies in an innovative way. The toolkit addresses a wide range of stakeholders.

The document includes a corpus of 70 best practices - covering different waste streams – that can be relevant for cities; a chapter on urban metabolism and its implementation tools – i.e. UMAn and LCA applications -, and a detailed section on stakeholder engagement processes. The goal of the toolkit is to encourage other towns and cities in Europe and beyond to replicate the UrbanWINS approach and to build upon it.

UrbanWINS is a three-year project funded by the Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 20202 that has studied how cities consume resources, materials and products, and how they get rid of the waste produced in order to develop and test innovative plans and solutions aimed at improving waste prevention and management.

The UrbanWINS toolkit is free and can be downloaded here.

Procurement experts gather, as circularity becomes the new normal

21 May 2019

To advance the circular economy domestically, Recycling Council of Ontario hosts featured experts from around the world that recognize the strength and value of purchasing power to change markets, along with Canadian representatives from all levels of governments and their agencies, as well as suppliers and vendors, to share knowledge and resources, showcase best practices, and network.

Circular procurement is a practice that will advance the circular economy, which focuses on the full value of goods, services, public works, and infrastructure investments. It also has the potential to fulfil economic (cost savings), environmental (low-carbon; waste reduction), and socio-economic (social enterprise; unique public and private partnership) interests simultaneously.

The Circular Procurement Summit, June 11-13th, Toronto, provides the opportunity to enhance awareness of circular economy, verify the importance of procurement to advance Canada’s circular economy, exchange on best practice in circular procurement from around the globe, access resources and tools that support concepts into practice and measure results, educate vendors and service providers that engage with the public and private sector buyers.

Alongside other procurement experts, Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre will be speaking at the Circular Procurement Summit. From Mark’s perspective, circular public procurement has the potential to catalyse innovation and sustainability as well as to provide access to markets for SMEs and to gain the trust of citizens in public authorities. It is a key mechanism to address greenhouse gas emissions, local air and water quality, the use of hazardous substances and raw material usage.

Learn more about the Circular Procurement Summit and how to register here.

New Innovation Procurement Platform launched!

20 May 2019

A new Innovation Procurement Platform has been launched, providing public procurers and policy-makers with a go-to spot for all the latest news and resources on innovation procurement.

Public procurement accounts for about 14% of the European Union's (EU) gross domestic product - meaning it has enormous potential to guide new developments in a range of sectors to address key societal challenges. It also benefits public sector customers directly through improved services at optimised costs.

Getting started with innovation procurement isn’t always easy – but the Innovation Procurement Platform is here to help! As well as listing opportunities for funding and support, the newly branded website’s Resource Centre offers over a 100 innovation procurement related resources, including case studies, guidance documents and reports.

The Innovation Procurement Platform replaces the PPI Platform, first established in 2012. It is managed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and its relaunch is supported by the Procure2Innovate project - a European network of competence centres for innovation procurement.

Visit the Innovation Procurement Platform today!

Procurement by nature - on the urgent need for holistic buying

16 May 2019

Nature is essential for human existence and a good quality of life. Yet, over the past 50 years, nature across most of the globe has been significantly altered by multiple human drivers, like the clearing of forests for farmland, the expansion of roads and cities, logging, hunting, overfishing, water pollution and the transport of invasive species.

"Nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably while simultaneously meeting other global societal goals through urgent and concerted efforts fostering transformative change" - says recent Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The report outlines possible actions and pathways to achieve transformative change. It identifies the need for public procurement policies to promote sustainable production and consumption. Governments, NGOs and Science and Educational Organisations are called for, to implement sustainable sourcing, resource efficiency and reduced production impacts, circular and other economic models, corporate social responsibility and life-cycle assessments.

“It’s no longer enough to focus just on environmental policy,” said Sandra M. Díaz, a lead author of the study, “We need to build biodiversity considerations into trade and infrastructure decisions, the way that health or human rights are built into every aspect of social and economic decision-making.”

Linking public procurement to nature-based solutions is an entry point to realise the called-for transformative change by for example using green procurement policies to reduce the adverse impact of construction by leveraging zero emission construction vehicles or sustainable earthwork and remediation. However, linking procurement to nature-based solutions has its' challenges such as the difficulty to compare cost and benefits of nature-based solution vs grey infrastructure.
Current work at ICLEI involves the Clever Cities project - which aims to use nature-based solutions to address urban challenges and promote social inclusion in cities across Europe, South America and China.


Read the full report by IPBES here.

Procuring zero emission delivery of goods and services - new handbook

15 May 2019

For many European cities today, addressing traffic congestion and reducing transport-related CO2 emissions, noise and harmful local pollutants, is a key priority.

The Handbook “Procuring zero emission delivery of goods and services”, produced by the EU-funded BuyZET project, will help local authorities to reduce the carbon footprint of their procurement activities.

The European Commission has established the target of achieving ‘essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030’. The public sector has a key role to play in terms of regulations and legislation in support of this goal. However, its role as a customer has received little focus. A significant proportion of motorised vehicle trips occurring in urban areas are commercial trips,  involving professionals carrying out services or delivering products. The public sector is one of the main customers for these products and services.

This guide is designed to assist city administrations to use their public procurement activities strategically to help reduce traffic in urban areas and promote the use of zero emission vehicles in urban logistics. The document draws on the experience of the BuyZET project, coordinated by ICLEI, in which three leading European cities (Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Oslo) have tested new smart procurement approaches to influence the transportation footprint of purchased services, goods and vehicles.

To access the BuyZET Handbook “Procuring zero emission delivery of goods and services”, click here.

 

Last chance to give feedback: survey on EU public procurement

10 May 2019

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Council of European Municipalities (CEMR) are conducting a consultation on the 2014 Directives on Public Procurement. The consultation is open until Monday, 13 May 2019.

The 2014 Directives introduced a number of changes in the European legal framework for public procurement. These changes include new procedures to reduce red tape and provide easier access for SMEs, as well as stronger provisions on integrity and transparency, which target corruption and fraud, and a new focus on the role of public procurement in achieving policy goals in innovation, environmental protection and social inclusion.

Considering the key role of subnational governments in local public markets, through their spending on goods and services, construction and public works, the CoR has started to analyse the challenges and opportunities faced by regions and cities in implementing the new legal framework.

This consultation is being conducted by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and the CoR. By responding to this survey, you will help to identify these key challenges and to gather the views of regions and cities on the types of policy needed to overcome them.

The CoR is expected to publish the survey results in May 2019 in a summary paper that will be circulated to all respondents. The results will also be presented at a workshop organised by the CoR, addressing strategic public orcurement at the regional and local level. The workshop is taking place on May 15, in Brussels (Belgium). Find more information here. The results will also feed into the CoR opinion on the implementation of the 2014 Directives on public procurement

Find the consultation here.