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Financing the transition to a circular economy

5 March 2019

The European Commission released a report this week to accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy in Europe. The report highlights the ways in which improving access to finance for circular economy projects is necessary to achieve a transition toward more circular development.

“In a Circular Economy products are designed for durability, upgradeability, reparability, and reusability”. This radical change in approaching product lifecycles requires changes in business models. As the report points out – businesses based on services rather than high resource consumption are at the heart of this transition.

Circular project promoters, financial stakeholder as well as policymakers have a role in creating favourable conditions to move from a linear to a circular economy. Local governments in particular can play a key role in creating the environment for new circular economy projects to flourish. According to the report, the mechanism range from developing standards for circular activities to developing a market for circular products and services through public procurement.

The report was published by the Informal Commission Expert Group “Support to the Circular Economy”, in which ICLEI has taken part over the past two years, bringing cities’ perspectives and opportunities for the Circular Economy to the table.

Several cities are piloting circular economy approaches within the CircularPP project. To learn more about this project click here.

To access the full report, click here.

Vacancy: ICLEI's Economy and Procurement team seeks Sustainable Construction Officer!

28 February 2019

The Sustainable Economy and Procurement team at ICLEI is looking to fill the position of Sustainable Construction Officer at its European Secretariat in Freiburg (Germany).

ICLEI's Sustainable Economy and Procurement team has been working on the topics of sustainable, strategic and innovation procurement for 22 years. In more recent years our work has expanded to cover the topic of  circular local economies. The team offers support to public authorities in implementation activities, spreading awareness of the concepts, developing new approaches, capacity building and encouraging policy developments at the European and international level.

This brand new position has been created to develop ICLEI's work on sustainable construction - in particular in relation to the circular economy - and support the delivery of sustainable and innovation procurement projects.

The deadline for applications is 25 March 2019. The description of the position and information on how to apply can be found on the ICLEI jobs page.

We look forward to your application!

Clean vehicles on the rise in Europe

26 February 2019

The transport sector contributes about 27% to greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). In addition, it is a source air pollution which is associated with a variety of health risks. Specialised vehicles, such as buses and waste collection trucks, are examples of market sectors where public demand may be particularly influential in moving towards lower emissions and greater fuel efficiency.

To harness this potential, European Union lawmakers recently reached an agreement on green public procurement rules for new buses, requiring local authorities purchase a minimum share of clean vehicles running on gas or electricity by 2025 and 2030.

In addition, the European Commission (EC) has published new guidance which can support public authorities in Europe in achieving these targets. The new guidance comes in the form of EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria and is an update of previous guidance issued in 2012. The updated criteria have been considerably broadened in scope, now covering purchases, leases and rentals of vehicles and related mobility services. The latter covers services such as car sharing, taxis, combined mobility services, and cycles.

Learn more about the new EU GPP guidance in the latest GPP News Alert.

Give your opinion on the future of the EU Ecolabel

21 February 2019

The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary ecolabel which covers a range of products and services, from cleaning products, to electronics, furniture and more. It can be useful tool in procurement, helping procurers easily set criteria and verify environmentally friendly products, and indeed is closely linked to the voluntary EU GPP Criteria, developed to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents.

The European Commission is currently requesting input to the future of the EU Ecolabel via an online consultation. It is aiming to identify opportunities to increase the EU Ecolabel uptake, focusing on the most promising product and service groups.

Questionnaires target consumers, EU Ecolabel license holders, retailers, industry representatives and others, and will be online until the 3rd March 2019.

Questionnaires are available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish and can be accessed here.

Webinar on how cities can tackle food waste

19 February 2019

The European Commission estimates that up to 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in the EU alone. This results in associated costs of about 143 billion euros. According to the FAO, up to one third of all food is spoiled or squandered even before it reaches the consumer.

The Cities of Cremona (Italy), Leiria (Portugal) and Sabadell (Spain) are three of the UrbanWINS project pilot cities that are implementing actions to tackle food waste. Representatives of the three cities will share their experience in a webinar organised by ICLEI taking place Tuesday 12th March, from 11 to 12.30.

Among their initiatives, Cremona has started a last minute market for recovered and donated food surpluses and expiring products, that will also contribute to social solidarity. The Portuguese city of Leiria is developing a guide for food waste reduction addressing restaurants, canteens, bars, catering services and citizens. Sabadell has kicked-off a programme of activities to raise awareness on the topic. The network FoodWIN will also join as a speaker at the webinar to present their view on the importance of fighting food waste from a city perspective including measure that cities can take, such as innovating their food procurement to minimize waste.

Find the full programme on the project website. To register for the webinar, go here.

 

Live Market Engagement Event inivites buyers and suppliers of ICT

14 February 2019

The Make ICT Fair project invites procurers and suppliers, NGOs, and public authorities involved in the ICT hardware sector to a Live Market Engagement event. The Live Market Engagement will give insights into public procurement goals, tender opportunities, and sustainability policies in relation to ICT products and services.

Procura+ member the City of Barcelona (Spain) will showcase their needs for an upcoming large procurement of ICT hardware, and other Make ICT Fair pilot procurements will be presented. The event is a unique opportunity for stakeholders along the ICT supply chain to engage in dialogue and to cover some ground in achieving fair and sustainable supply chains in ICT together. 

The Live Market Engagement will take place on February 27, 9.30 am – 1 pm in Barcelona alongside the Mobile Social Congress  For more details and to register click here.

The Make ICT Fair project aims at improving the lives of workers and those impacted along different stages of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) supply chain. At the heart of Make ICT Fair are public buyers that pilot advanced ICT tenders on socially responsible public procurement (SRPP), including manufacturing and mining. The event in Barcelona is part of the Make ICT Fair Live Market Engagement Event Series which brings together public procurers and suppliers in the field of ICT from all over Europe or in a local context to discuss procurement needs and solutions, focusing on social responsibility and transparency in supply chains.

Toward a European Common Food Policy

12 February 2019

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems has published a report calling for a common food policy for the European Union. The report, authored by experts in sustainable agri-food systems, presents alternatives to Europe’s current unsustainable food and farming system. It calls for synergies among policy sectors and criticizes various European policies cancelling each other out instead of supporting common sustainability and health goals.

As a sector overarching topic, food policy must be considered on all levels of decision making. Innovations in public procurement can help in achieving strategic goals such as relocalising and diversifying food production. According to the report, short supply chains and local crop varieties are key to reducing the environmental impact of food production and improving public health. Procurement can support local economies and breeds while making sure public caterers offer a varied diet with lower carbon footprints.

There is a variety of case studies available giving examples on how local authorities can play their part in reaching sustainability goals through sustainable and innovative food procurement. Head over to our Resource Centre to learn more.

Read the full report here

Boston aims for 100% GHG-free electricity and energy

7 February 2019

The City of Boston has published a new Carbon Free Boston report, which sets out a series of actions which lead the city to carbon neutrality by 2050, including the procurement of 100% zero-carbon electricity and fuels.

As well as procuring 100% green electricity – through a combination of Renewable Energy Credits (REC), Local Power Purchase Agreements (LPPA), and Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VOOA) – the city has also considered how to eliminate emissions in those sectors which can’t be electrified, such heavy transport and buildings, using liquid biofuels, renewable natural gas, biomass and hydrogen from renewable energy.

Reaching 100% GHG-free electricity by 2030 would enable the City to meet and exceed its interim target of a 50% reduction in emissions (against a 2005 baseline) and meet the rate of decarbonization needed to align itself with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The full Carbon Free Boston report, including more information on its energy procurement plans, can be found here.

Shenzhen reduces Ozone Depletion using Green Procurement

5 February 2019

Through the successful application of Green Public Procurement (GPP), Shenzhen has greatly reduced the use of products that contain Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). When emitted, ODS cause the thinning of the ozone layer, reducing the protection it offers against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun. 90% of the world’s ODS are currently produced in China. Although the Chinese central government has been taking steps to phase out ODS, local governments can help accelerate the process.


The Shenzhen Municipal Government introduced more stringent regulations on public purchases and promoted newer, more environmentally friendly technology, providing a model for other cities to emulate in combating ozone depletion and climate change.

Since Shenzhen began implementing GPP in 2006, the city has eliminated 150.9 tons of ODS, as well as greenhouse gases equivalent to 1,360,863 tons of CO2. Another benefit is that the increased spending on ODS alternatives prompts more goods and services providers to stock such products, growing the market for ODS alternatives.


The case of Shenzhen showcases the significance of adopting a green public procurement approach with regards sustainable development. ICLEI (e.g. ICLEI Europe, ICLEI East Asia) offers a wealth of resources to learn more about the topic, connect public procurers, and exchange experiences through participation in networks such as Procura+.  


Read the full case study here in English or Chinese.

A world full of risks and what it means for procurement

1 February 2019

The World Economic Forum published the Global Risk Report 2019, assessing key risks and outlining their likely influence on society. For example, major risks are extreme weather events, failure to meet climate change mitigation or adaption, as well as the failure of critical infrastructure.

The report is emphasizing the performance-dependence of the economic system to the environment. Meaning that increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events bear tremendous uncertainty for supply-chains worldwide. The report draws scenarios with disruption and complete cut-offs to become the new normal.

Procuring authorities can mitigate as well as adapt to this challenging future. Applying green criteria for tenders in different sectors has significant leverage to lower associated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions or reduce resource use. In terms of adaptation, standards and requirements can be included in a tender process that increases the adaptability to climate change of for example a building.

Read the full report here.

Browse our Resource Centre to read more on procurement and climate change.