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NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 11 - 20 from 774 )

Humanity biting the hand that feeds it says IPCC

15 August 2019

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) special report, released last week, repeats scientist’s warnings of the effects of accelerating climate change.  Along with climate change related risks such as heatwaves, extreme storms, and sea level rise, the experts also warn of the causes that a changing climate has on our ability to provide food for a growing population.

But farming is simultanously a victim and a culprit of climate change, because the way we use land is large contributer to the problem. Practices under criticism include deforestation, industrial agriculture, and draining of carbon-capturing peatlands. All the while, extreme heat, storms and soil erosion – all consequences of a changing climate – put agricultural land at risk.

A first step to tackle the issue, according to the report, is to reduce meat and animal product consumption. Animal farming, say the scientists, contributes in large part to the issue of degrading soils and increased CO2 emissions. Producing animal feed requires agricultural land, which often leads to deforestation in intensive farming practices; animal manure is used to over fertilize soils with runoffs into rivers and seas where algae bloom, and animals themselves are a source of the highly potent climate gas methane.

Changing diets is as key as it is difficult. But public canteens can opt to offer more balanced diets that reduce the amount of meat, turning it from default to exception. A school in the Belgian city of Ottignies has shown how this can be done in collaboration with parents, eliminating food waste at the same time. The canteen operators studied the way the children consumed their food and developed meal plans that eliminate waste and increase the amount of plant based protein. This way, the canteen was able to reduce food waste from 20% of food offered to 10%.

If you want to learn more about public procurement’s option in reducing overall meat consumption, have a look at our resource centre.

Find the full report here.

Procura+ Awards finalists unveiled

13 August 2019

The jury of the 2019 Procura+ Awards has revealed the eight finalists of this edition. For the category ‘Sustainable Procurement of the Year’, the Government of Catalonia with its sustainable framework contract for cleaning services will compete with the City of Ghent for its work in partnership with suppliers for responsible workwear.

The Municipality of Frederiksberg and the City of Helsinki will contest for the ‘Innovation Procurement of the Year’ Award. Frederiksberg needed to reduce the load on its existing drain network and used an innovation partnership to develop customised solutions for cloudburst management, whereas the City of Helsinki presented its sustainable innovation for a retro stadium upgrade.  The ‘Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT’ Award will go to either the City of Helsinki for robotisation and automation of library services or CERN for its open cloud data storage innovation through pre-commercial procurement.

Finally, the City of Zurich and IHOBE are competing for ‘Procurement Initiative of the Year’. The Swiss city applied with its initiative to use recycled concrete in buildings. IHOBE grabbed the interest of the jury with its deployment of a green purchasing programme among the Basque public sector.

The Procura+ Awards ceremony will take place on September 24 at the Nordic Edge Expo, when the finalists will find out if they have won in their categories.

The Procura+ Awards is an initiative of ICLEI Europe, with support from the EU-funded Procure2Innovate project.

For more information on the 2019 awards, visit the Procura+ Awards webpage.

Barcelona tenders towards a sustainable bus fleet

8 August 2019

Last year, the City of Barcelona won the 2018 Procura+ Award in the category ‘Procurement Initiative of the Year’. The Award recognized the ambitious agenda to implement city-wide compulsory sustainable procurement. This has an effect on more than 50,000 tenders annually, covering a spend of €1.1bn.

Looking at public transport as an example of sustainable procurement, recent purchasing activities of the Procura+ Participant show that the initiative of sustainable procurement bears fruit. Earlier this month the TMB published a tender for 23 e-buses and 6 minibuses, all rigorously zero-emission.

The tender is part of a bigger agenda namely to improve the quality of the environment and achieve healthier cities as set out in the 2019-2021 Bus Fleet Renewal Plan. The programme involves an investment of 115 million euros and the acquisition of 254 new buses of which 116 will be electric buses. Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) aims to renew the vehicles of the current fleet that have arrived at the end of their useful life after more than 15 years of service. The new vehicles will be delivered according to a timeline that should be concluded in 2021.

Rosa Alarcón, President of TMB, has stated that “With this tender, we reaffirm our commitment to make public surface transport a more sustainable transport for the whole city and that it must allow us to adapt to the new mobility needs posed by pollution and global warming.”

Learn more about the Procura+ Network and how to get involved.

Tackling urban heatwaves - when procurement becomes an emergency

6 August 2019

The global climate crisis leads to more frequent and more intense heatwaves in Europe, posing a great threat to health of citizens, supply-chains and infrastructure. In response to the urgent need to adapt to the ‘new-normal’, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recently published 'Heatwaves - Guide for Cities'. The guide aims to help city staff take the first steps to understanding the heat risks they face, develop an early-warning system, work with partners to consolidate heat-action plans, and adapt urban-planning practices.

However, awareness and implementation of solutions need to go beyond planning, risk managing and public health per se. How can procurement help? Can products and services be tendered based on their heat-resilience?

An article from 2018 on CIPS, emphasised the need to change procurement rules to '... not spend public money on infrastructure which is not resilient to heatwaves.' For example, this is critical for highways, other public roads and pavements, which are at risk of melting in the heat. Leveraging procurement as adaptation measure could mean to source heat resilient (e.g. reflective or permeable) material for when roads are being re-surfaced - offering a coping mechanism in high-risk areas. This applies also to energy infrastructure, particularly where it serves critical social services, such as hospitals.

Procurement can help through the purchasing of energy-efficient medical devices, which are not only advantageous in terms of resilience but also a gain for carbon footprint reduction. Passive cooling strategies for buildings, and access to diverse sources of renewable energy, also have a crucial role to play in reducing the risk of energy supply failure during a heatwave – ideally as part of an overall Energy Management System.

Access the full Guide for Cities here.

Let's take a closer look: performance in public procurement across the EU

10 July 2019

The European Commission published the annual report on Monitoring the Application of EU law, which outlines how the Commission monitored and enforced EU law in 2018. Part of the report is the online Single Market Scoreboard, which evaluates the performance of EU/EEA countries in the EU single market. Depending on their 2018 performance across the key policy areas, Member States were given 153 green, 137 yellow and 59 red cards indicating excellent (green), average (yellow) or below average (red) performance.

One of the key policy areas is public procurement. Taking a closer look at the analysis of procurement performance show the scoring of member states with regards to 12 indicators. For example, measuring the proportion of procurement procedures with more than one public buyer - meaning how often public buyers buy together. Buying in bulk often leads to better prices and offers an opportunity to exchange knowledge. Although not all types of purchase are suitable for joint procurement, excessively low rates suggest lost opportunities. ICLEI together with Eurocities runs the Big Buyers Initiative with the aim to boost collaboration between big public buyers towards more strategic public procurement. 


The scoring analysis also took into account the proportion of procedures awarded only on the basis of lowest price i.e. how public buyers choose the companies they award contracts to. In particular, whether they decide based on price alone, or if they also take quality into account. Award criteria offer a suitable entry point to leverage, for example, certain environmental standards. From the perspective of sustainable procurement or green procurement needs to and can change from the lowest price to the most economical advantageous price, which takes into account the full life-cycle costs. Find out more in ICLEI's Procura+ Manual.


An additional indicator focussed on how many contractors are small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs. High percentages are desirable, in order to reflect their share in the economy, whereas low percentages could indicate barriers preventing smaller firms from participating in procurement procedures. A recent survey published by the Commission showed that 73,5% of PCP contracts are won by SMEs, emphasising that pre-commercial procurement and innovation procurement can help boost the performance under the SME indicator. ICLEI works on a variety of projects across Europe to accelerate the uptake of innovation in procurement such as Procure2Innovate. Find out more here.  

Get the full analysis of public procurement performance here.
Access the fact sheets per country here.

Only one month left to apply for the 2019 Transformative Action Award

8 July 2019

With only one month left before applications close, don’t miss your chance to win €10,000 and become recognised as a leader of sustainable urban transformation with the 2019 Transformative Action Award.

The award, co-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) rewards ongoing or concluded Transformative Actions that use the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration to bring about the socio-cultural, socio-economic, and technological transformation of societies.

Actions under the following topic areas are welcomed: decarbonisation, urban mobility, biodiversity, greenfield land and natural space, water resources and air quality, climate change, public space, housing, social inclusion and integration, and local economies and employment.

The competition is open to any local or regional authority or civil society organisation located in an EU Member State, EEA country, or EU candidate or accession country. Applicants must be endorsers of the Basque Declaration. The application deadline is 31 July 2019.

For more information and to learn more about how to endorse the Basque Declaration and apply for the Award, click here.

Copper with a Cost - how procurement can help

2 July 2019

A recent report published by Swedwatch showcases findings from an investigation on human rights risks and impacts associated with large-scale mining of copper in Zambia, one of the largest copper producing and exporting countries in the world. As mineral, copper is an essential component of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products, such as smartphones and laptops.

In 2011, the public sectors of 29 European countries procured 50.3 billion EUR in ICT goods and services. Public procurement holds significant buying power, giving opportunity to shape the market with regards to implementation and monitoring of social and environmental standards.
However, the report outlines that ICT supply chains are characterised by low transparency and traceability. As ICT involves many business intermediaries, from mineral extraction to finished product, it is challenging for public authorities to know the source of minerals present in their ICT devices and if they are associated with conflict and human rights impacts.

Swedwatch's report titled 'Copper with a Cost' emphasises two main issues based on their research in Zambia: 1) mining activities detrimentally impacted local communities’ right to clean water and health as well as their livelihoods and 2) following the establishment of a new mine livelihood restoration has been insufficient and community members face impacts on their food security, as well as disturbance of social structures and norms.

Swedwatch’s findings suggest that there is a need for the ICT sector as a whole to enhance human rights due diligence efforts beyond the scope of 3TG and cobalt and include copper and other high-risk materials. Furthermore, the report outlines recommendations to e.g. companies along the supply-chain but also to contracting authorities within the European Union:

  • Include social criteria in public procurement processes and contracts for ICT products.
  • Criteria should ensure that suppliers perform effective human rights due diligence within their mineral supply chains of ICT products, in line with international standards and best practice.
  • Monitor suppliers’ compliance with the requirements closely and collaborate with other contracting authorities to build leverage.

Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement contains an expanded set of provisions relating to Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP). The directive enables public buyers to use social and environmental criteria in public tenders. As part of the Make ICT Fair project, 5 public authorities such as Region Stockholm, Barcelona City Council, Municipality of Haarlem, Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC) and London are pioneering criteria and clauses on social responsibility in ICT tenders. Get to know more here.

Explore the full report by Swedwatch.
As public authority consider affliation to Electronics Watch and participation in the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.

Launching the Procura+ Africa Network: a milestone towards SPP in Africa

1 July 2019

Last week at the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, ICLEI Africa launched the Procura+ Africa Network. This is a major step toward supporting African local governments to work together to reap the benefits of sustainable public procurement (SPP). The network was founded with the goal to increase and deepen implementation of SPP in South Africa. Working together, the members of the network can learn from each other’s good practices in SPP and cities are able to further the implementation of SPP at higher political levels. It is also envisioned to facilitate joint procurements and increased collaboration with market parties and research institutions.

Representatives from African cities were invited during the launch to join the network to learn from each other and share best practices to implement sustainable public procurement, benefitting the economy, the environment, and the society.

The founding members of the Procura+ Africa Network include:

The Procura+ Africa Network is one of three regional Procura+ networks established by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, therefore connecting cities in Africa with a strong global community of local governments implementing sustainable public procurement. This will take place through in-person meetings, webinars, and where possible study tours for focused in-person learning.

The City of Tshwane is proud to be the first chair of the Procura+ Africa Network for the year 2019/2020, with ICLEI Africa as the secretariat supporting this important initiative.

Procura+ participants lead the way towards zero-emission procurement

28 June 2019

Three Procura+ participants have released Innovative Procurement Plans for zero-emission transport in procurement, to be implemented in the coming years.

Oslo (Norway)’s zero-emissions plan covers procurement broadly; they have also released a guidance document outlining recommended environmental requirements that can be used in procurement that includes transport. Rotterdam (The Netherlands) has created plans for zero-emission transport in procurement of Construction Materials, and for Craftsmen Service Contracts. Copenhagen (Denmark)’s plans cover Supply Consolidation as a way to lessen emissions, and zero-emission transportation for Craft and Facility Management Services.

These plans have informed a new handbook, Procuring zero emission delivery of goods and services. By drawing on the three cities’ experiences, the handbook, produced as part of the BuyZET project, coordinated by ICLEI, assists local authorities to reduce the carbon footprint of their procurement activities. Furthermore, it sheds light on how cities can fight climate change not only through municipal policies, but also as consumers.

The public sector is a major consumer of goods and services. More strategic and sustainable planning regarding the procurement and transport of these can thus have sweeping effects on both reducing emissions and traffic. Taking these bold steps in transport procurement emphasises the lighthouse role that both Oslo and Rotterdam already hold as member cities of the Global Lead Cities Network (GLCN) on Sustainable Procurement

To download the handbook, click here.

Learn how to GPP: Toolkit available now

27 June 2019

Green Public Procurement (GPP) helps public authorities to buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. The Environment Directorate General of the European Commission recently published the GPP Training Toolkit. The Toolkit was developed by ICLEI Europe and is designed for use by public purchasers and by GPP trainers, or integration in general public procurement training courses and workshops. As such it supports public buyers in implementing GPP across sectors. 

It consists of six independent modules covering themes such as strategic implementation, legal aspects, market engagement and circular economy. In addition, the toolkit includes ten operational modules, which explore GPP implementation in various sectors such as building design, transport, lighting or textiles.

The toolkit comes in the form of modular PowerPoint presentations (including trainer notes) and accompanying guidance.

 

Explore the toolkit here.

If you need further help, consult the GPP Helpdesk. Stay up to date with GPP activities across Europe, subscribe to the GPP Newsalert!