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European Commission adopts procurement paper designed to reduce administrative work

21 January 2016

The European Commission has officially adopted the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), a policy paper designed to make it easier for businesses to apply for public contracts. The ESPD allows companies to self-certify that they are eligible to apply for public contracts, greatly reducing the current administrative burden.

While the current system varies by country, in most cases suppliers are required to provide full documentation proving their abilities and financial status. Under the new system, only the winning bidder will be required to provide such documents. It is hoped that by lowering the amount of paperwork necessary, more small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to participate in the bidding process.

The ESPD stems from the 2014 Public Procurement Directive, which states that the EU must reduce red tape and encourage SME participation in bidding for public tenders. “By reducing the volume of documents needed, the European Single Procurement Document will make it easier for companies to take part in public award procedures. Public administrations will benefit from a wider range of offers ensuring better quality and value for money,” said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

For more information, visit supplymanagement.com.

Cities showcase sustainable energy solutions on CEPPI website

19 January 2016

The CEPPI team, comprised of expert partners Jera, Optimat, Steinbeis Transferzentrum and ICLEI, has launched the CEPPI project website to showcase the sustainable energy solutions being developed by the five participating cities: Birmingham (UK), Budapest (Hungary), Castelló and Valencia (Spain), and Wrocław (Poland). By using a pro-innovation procurement approach, these cities aim to achieve energy savings of 33GWh per year.

This 3-year project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, intends to build the cities’ capacity in the fields of public procurement of innovation (PPI) and sustainable public procurement (SPP). Public authorities have started identifying the possible areas of intervention and related information has been published on the CEPPI website - Birmingham City Council, for example, announced its interest in procurements related to its waste strategy; Budapest is exploring the implementation of PPI practices in tenders to retrofit the City Hall; Valencia is looking at city lighting, fountain systems and sports centres; and Wrocław is considering a focus on street lighting modernisation.

Within CEPPI, partners will produce reports, guides and other tools of interest for public authorities implementing SPP and PPI practices, while relevant documents related to the cities’ procurement processes will be made available. Those who want to keep updated about the project are encouraged to subscribe to its newsletter through the online form.

For more information, visit the CEPPI website.

New factsheets provide clarity on bio-based products

14 January 2016

The EU-funded InnProBio project has produced the first of a series of factsheets containing information on bio-based products and services. The publication helps to define bio-based products, providing an insight into the primary differences with traditional products.

The first factsheet highlights the benefits of bio-based products, such as their potential to reduce the economy’s dependence on fossil fuels, create green jobs in the European Union, and drive European innovation. The link between bio-based products and sustainability is also outlined.

The section From biomass to bio-based products shows, in a very visual way, different biomass materials that can be used to create products (known as “feedstocks”), such as sugar, starch and natural rubber, as well as bio-based intermediates, such as fibres, polymers and composites, and bio-based end products. Factsheet #1 is available online. The InnProBio team is currently working on the following factsheets.

For more information, visit the InnProBio website.

New license scheme aims to stamp out slavery in supply chains

13 January 2016

A new voluntary licensing scheme that encourages self-regulation in the procurement sector has been backed by the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s office as a means to reduce modern slavery in supply chains. The new licences require procurers to demonstrate that they are professionally qualified and will apply standards of practice and ethics in their procurement duties.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement (CIPs) has been advocating for the licence scheme as a means to improve professionalism in the sector, winning the support of the UNDP. As well as lessening instances of forced labour within supply chains, the license also aims to improve procurement and supply practices, leading to greater sustainability and innovation in procurement processes.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) also backs the license. Speaking to Supply Management, Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the GLA, said: “We at the GLA strive to ensure the UK’s fresh produce sector is free of such abhorrent practices by requiring all licence-holders comply with our stringent standards. We aim to achieve this through working collaboratively with the industry and we fully support any new initiative that promotes self-regulation."

For more information, visit supplymanagement.com

London Underground tests system for recapturing energy used in braking

4 January 2016

The London Underground has found positive results after testing technology that recaptures the energy used in braking, feeding it back into the mains. The tests showed that the system will reduce the London Underground’s energy bill by 5 percent, saving £6 million per year. Around 1MWh per day is saved by the inverter energy capture system, which is enough to power 37 homes.

More commonly associated with hybrid and electric cars, the technology works through capturing the energy usually dissipated as heat during braking and returning it to the system. The London Underground version is essentially a much larger model of the version used in cars.

Since less heat will be produced, stations will also need to run their cooling systems less, providing an added benefit. The move is part of Transport for London’s, the government body responsible for most public transport in the British capital, drive to make public transport more energy efficient and to reduce their carbon footprint.

For more information, visit Tree Hugger.

New EU-funded platform to make it easier to buy sustainable furniture

29 December 2015

A new platform will help public procurers to buy more environmentally-friendly furniture, providing comprehensive guidance throughout the tender process. The Green Urban Furniture platform, developed as part of the EU-funded FUTURE project, will make it easier for procurers to develop environmental criteria for suppliers and compare how sustainable different products are.

The project states that local governments can significantly improve their impact on global warming through using the tool to purchase more sustainable furniture. Placing a stronger emphasis on sustainable furniture is also likely to expand the European green furniture market, leading to greater range and competitiveness.

The tool is currently being tested by local authorities in Valencia (Spain) and Koprivnica (Croatia), who will purchase around 200 furniture products in the initial phase. It is expected that 17,500 pieces of sustainable furniture will be purchased using the tool over the next five years.

For more information, visit Public Spend Matters Europe.

Copenhagen adopts energy efficient smart lamps

21 December 2015

Copenhagen’s (Denmark) outdoor street lamps are getting an upgrade, with 20,000 energy-efficient LED lamps to be installed in 2016. Energy savings of around 57 percent are expected, which is enough to power 4,500 homes in the Danish capital. In addition to saving energy, the new lights will be fitted with smart capabilities. Maintenance officials will be able to remotely dim or brighten the lamps, and will be automatically alerted if repairs are required.

The technology installed in the lamps will also enable it to detect approaching cyclists and shine extra light, improving journey safety. Around half of Copenhagen’s outdoor street lights will be replaced, with the local government deciding to sell the old models at auction, giving potential buyers the chance to own a piece of Copenhagen history.

The iconic, bowl-shaped lamps have proven extremely popular, with already 3,000 sold for an average of $100 apiece. The new smart lamps will adhere closely to the historic design, ensuring continuity in Copenhagen’s urban aesthetic. The decision to move to more energy efficient lamps is part of Copenhagen’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2025.

For more information, visit citylab.com.

Free support offered for smart cities of the future

17 December 2015

Twenty European cities are being offered free expert advice and support in their journey towards becoming smarter, more responsive cities through the new GrowSmarter City Interest Group, which was launched on 26 November 2015 at the Urban Futures Conference in Berlin (Germany).

The Group is open to city administrations in Europe with a genuine interest in learning from the experiences of GrowSmarter’s lighthouse and follower cities. Benefits of joining include exclusive invitations to study visits in Stockholm (Sweden), Cologne (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain), and access to thematic capacity building webinars. Support for replication activities will be provided through a dedicated Helpdesk, with direct access to the staff and businesses involved in implementing the 12 GrowSmarter solutions.

Membership is free of charge and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Members are expected to attend at least one annual GrowSmarter capacity exchange and can choose to develop their own smart city replication assessment. The first three Interest Group members to develop a complete smart city replication assessment will be offered one on-site capacity building workshop to help develop a full smart city replication plan. Those interested in joining the Growsmarter City Interest Group are invited to send a completed application form to carsten.rothballer@iclei.org, stating their main areas of interest.

For more information, visit the GrowSmarter website.

Feedback invited on new global sustainable procurement standard

15 December 2015

A new standard developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) that provides guidance on integrating sustainability into procurement processes is open for public comments until 12 January 2016. The development of ISO 20400 is part of a two year programme of work that has seen countries across the world provide input. The standard is intended to be a world-wide solution, and was created partly in response to the increased globalisation of supply chains and the greater involvement of multi-national organisations.

The primary purpose of the standard is to define sustainable procurement, provide information on impacts and aspects to be considered across different procurement activities, and to give practical information. It aims to be applicable to both public and private organisations, and can be broken down into four primary components. The first looks at fundamentals, outlining the scope and principles of sustainable procurement and examining the organisational benefits of engaging in this type of procurement.

The second looks at integrating sustainability into policy and strategy concerns, while the third aspect looks at management techniques to improve sustainable procurement, including ensuring that relevant procurement staff are trained to add sustainability considerations into contracts. The final aspect looks at the procurement process from the point of view of those responsible for carrying out procurement within the organisation. The standard is expected to be published towards the end of 2016.

For more information, visit bsigroup.com.

SPP Regions website provides guidance on sustainable public procurement of innovation

10 December 2015

The newly launched SPP Regions website showcases the creation and strengthening of networks of public authorities focused on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) in seven European regions.

The networks in Barcelona (Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat), South West England (PIPEN), Bulgaria (Bulgarian SPPI Network), Copenhagen, Torino (APE), Metropolitan Region Rotterdam – The Hague, and West France (RGO) are co-operating on tendering for eco-innovative solutions and building capacity to implement sustainable and innovative purchasing practices.

The seven regional SPP networks will publish a total of 42 eco-innovative tenders focused on energy use in public buildings, vehicles and transport, and food and catering services. The goal is to achieve 54.3 GWh/year of primary energy savings and trigger 45 GWh/year of renewable energy. The SPP Regions website provides updated information about the different networks, as well as access to all the tools developed within this project. SPP Regions is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

For more information, visit the SPP Regions website.