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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.

Public ICT Procurement Germany: new commitment to comply with labor & social standards

9 May 2019

In a joint initiative, the Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BeschA) and the digital association Bitkom have updated the purchasing conditions for socially sustainable procurement of ICT products and services for the German context.

The updated version extends the obligations of suppliers and resellers of ICT products and services to respect fair working conditions even further than before. In production, the ILO core labor standards, such as the ban on child and slave labor, non-discrimination and the right to collective bargaining, have long been considered. In addition, standards for occupational safety and use of chemicals, minimum wages, weekly working hours and social security apply.

Also, the verification requirements for companies become more stringent. According to the declaration, public procurers in the federal, state and local governments will be able to check whether large-scale contracts up to the third stage of the supply chain are transparent and review whether social labor standards have been complied with in the production of the procurement item.

Advancing social responsibility in the ICT sector showcases how procurement can harness the leverage for postive change e.g. tackling adverse issues such as forced labor. ICLEI works on this challenge as part of the Make ICT Fair project, piloting socially responsible tenders across Europe.

Access the full declaration here.

French cuisine in 2022: 50% of food in canteens must be sustainable

3 May 2019

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food” – this well-known quote by Hippocrates seems to become reality in France. Earlier this year, the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food has announced that 50% of food served in canteens must be organic, sustainable, or of a specific quality by 2022.

Reaching the 50% mark by 2022 on a national level is ambitious. Together with a few other countries such as Italy, France is a frontrunner in Europe with regards to commitments made towards sustainable food.

What does this mean for public procurement? Focusing on nutritional quality of meals the national target implies a shift on how food for canteens is purchased. A challenge will be to translate the national target into local action, e.g. enabling resource-strained schools to seize the opportunity to familiarise the youth with healthy eating habits.

Therefore, learning from existing good practice is key. ICLEI’s work on sustainable public procurement spans across sectors, part of which is sustainable food procurement. With projects such as INNOCAT the wider aim is to encourage the uptake of local, seasonal, organic and nutritious food through support for local public procurers. For guidance on how to realise sustainable food procurement consult the Procura+ Manual as well as the Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre on the topic of food and catering.

Read more about France’s target here.

Boring no more! Procurement key topic at URBAN FUTURE Conference

30 April 2019

The URBAN FUTURE global conference is dedicated exclusively to CityChangers – decision makers who actively, passionately and effectively make cities more sustainable. In 2019 the  event will be held in Oslo, the European Green Capital 2019, where ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability are proud to be representing the power of green public procurement.

Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre will be speaking in the plenary 'Boring no more: the number 1 tool for cities to initiate change', while Procura+ members including Copenhagen, Rijkswaterstaat, Nantes, and Oslo will share their first hand experiences of the potential of GPP. 

Urban Future believes, that what is most important for solving the urban challenges are the people driving positive change. Join #UFGC19 in Oslo and become part of the CityChangers-movement!

Find the full programme and information on registration here.

BuyZET project: final conference on zero emission vehicle procurement

26 April 2019

The BuyZET project is glad to announce that the BuyZET final event will take place on 14 May 2019 in Brussels (Belgium). The draft agenda is available here.

In CIVITAS BuyZET, three Procura+ and ICLEI member cities (Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Oslo) are testing new smart procurement approaches to influence the transportation footprint of purchased services, goods and vehicles.

These are concrete actions needed to achieve CO2-free city logistics by 2030, one of the main objectives of the European Commission Transport White Paper of 2011.

The event will be an opportunity to discover and discuss the tools and recommendations developed by BuyZET. In addition, the event will also look at the new rules for the public procurement of clean vehicles in the revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive.

Attendance is free of charge. Register here by Monday 6 May!

Are you a public authority and you would like to attend? Contact the organisers (Giacomo Lozzi,, as they might be able to reimburse your travel costs.

Market Engagement: City of Haarlem pioneers socially responsible ICT hardware

25 April 2019

Public procurers meet suppliers and resellers in a dedicated space to discuss an upcoming tender that is ambitious with regards to sustainability criteria. This simple idea of market engagement takes place as a series as part of the Make ICT Fair project. More specifically, the Meet the Buyer format brings together public procurers and suppliers in the field of ICT to discuss upcoming tenders of the pilot authorities that aim to pioneer social responsibility and transparency in supply chains. 

At the recent event in Haarlem, Netherlands, the municipality presented details on a future workplace hardware tender and the respective criteria focussing on social responsibility. In addition, Electronics Watch gave introduction on what is means and how to achieve more transparency and improve worker’s rights across a supply chain. The exchange was stimulated by pitch slams of suppliers such as CHG Meridian, HP and Closing the Loop focussing on their first response to the presented tender format. In addition, the event offered room for discussion in a world café format. Different public authorities were then able to connect to the attending resellers/suppliers. 

Key take aways from the event are that there is significant interest from both procurers and supplier/reseller perspective to advance the social responsibility of ICT products and services. Also, the discussion evolved around applying circularity as the service model to the supply-chain of ICT. 

Looking ahead, Gemeente Haarlem will publish the tender soon and thus add to the pioneers of procuring socially responsible ICT hardware. Learn more about ICLEI's work in the Make ICT Fair project here


Celebrating Earth Day - what can procurement do?

22 April 2019

22nd April -  Earth Day. First celebrated in 1970, the day is devoted to call for environmental protection, to reflect on the dependence of our social and economical systems to nature and to re-think how daily actions and decisions can help support biodiversity, Greenhouse Gas emission reduction and pollution. 

What can procurement do? The idea is to use public sector procurement or purchasing to protect the environment, also called Green Public Procurement (GPP). It is an approach that harnesses the importance of public sector spending on goods and services as leverage that can be used for reduction of environmental pollution. 
More specifically this means to adapt the tender process using for instance the new EU GPP Criteria, which are designed for different sectors such as transport, cleaning products or textiles. Previous cases such as procurement of low carbon vehicles for Procura+ Participant the Government of Catalonia show that using this approach really made a difference with 7166,7 t/CO2 reduction and 2120 (toe) Energy reduction.
To learn more about how GPP can enable procurers to safeguard ecosystems and thus really can make a difference consult the Buying Green Handbook, the GPP Criteria list and guidance as well as ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre.