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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.

Back on track - new EU GPP criteria for Road Transport

29 January 2019

The European Commission has just published new voluntary EU green public procurement (GPP) criteria for Road Transport. The use of these criteria has the potential to considerably reduce environmental impacts from road transport as the criteria are designed to make it easier for public authorities to purchase goods, services and works through tender processes that for instance require:

• criteria on type-approval CO2 emissions for cars and light commercial vehicles, and specific technologies for heavy-duty vehicles and L-category vehicles;
• criteria for energy efficiency for electric cars and light commercial vehicles;
• criteria on battery warranties;
• criteria on vehicle and tyres noise emissions;
• key competencies and the application of key environmental management measures and practices from service providers;
• adequate and frequent training for the staff of service providers.

The new framework distinguishes between ‘Core’ and ‘Comprehensive’ criteria, making GPP more accessible for public authorities operating in different procurement contexts. Core criteria which allow for easy application of GPP, focusing on the key area (s) of environmental performance of a product and aimed at keeping administrative costs for companies to a minimum. Comprehensive criteria which take into account or higher levels of environmental performance, for use by authorities that want to go further in supporting environmental and innovation goals.

Read the full document here.

Learn more about EU GPP Criteria here.

Our world is only 9% circular – let’s close the gap!

24 January 2019

During the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Circle Economy launched the second annual Circularity Gap Report. The report emphasises that our linear model is effectively no longer fit for purpose, failing both people and the planet. Circular economy strategies have the potential to be instrumental in the push to mitigate the associated climate impacts since climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.

However, most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the report states. Harald Friedl, CEO of Circle Economy, explains “governments’ climate change strategies have focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and avoiding deforestation but they have overlooked the vast potential of the circular economy. They should re-engineer supply chains all the way back to the wells, fields, mines and quarries where our resources originate so that we consume fewer raw materials. This will not only reduce emissions but also boost growth by making economies more efficient”.

Public authorities can make the shift using tools of circular procurement, adding elements of material reuse, lifecycle costing and regenerative design to tender process. The project Circular PP is pioneering this approach working with several European municipalities. To learn more about the project, click here. ICLEI and the EU Commission recently published a helpful guide on circular procurement. Check it out here.

Read the full Circularity Gap Report here.

Let’s do no harm – sustainable procurement in the healthcare sector

22 January 2019

With more than 15,000 hospitals, the healthcare sector represents over 7% of European GDP - with this great purchasing power, healthcare procurers can use their influence in medical device market to move towards safer, more sustainable products.

While they play an essential role in healthcare delivery, medical devices may contain hazardous substances that pose risks to patient health and staff safety through their use and disposal. Phasing out medical devices with harmful substances and replacing them with safer alternatives should be a key component of sustainable procurement strategies within healthcare facilities. Sustainable procurement strategies within healthcare facilities should seek to phase out medical devices with harmful substances and to replace them with safer alternatives.

Sustainable procurement in healthcare not only creates environmental and financial benefits for the procuring organisation, but can also contribute to greater patient and employee safety and well-being. 

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe’s publication, Guidelines for the procurement of safer medical devices, gives an overview of the European regulatory framework surrounding procurement of medical devices and provides a step-by-step guide to carrying out sustainable procurement initiatives in healthcare settings.

Read the full report here.

Read a more detailed article here.

EU Stakeholder Group Calls for Clean Vehicle Procurement Rules

17 January 2019

The EU needs clean vehicle procurement rules to boost e-mobility in cities, says major e-mobility stakeholder group the Platform for Electro-mobility.  With air pollution responsible for 400,000 premature deaths every year, and greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector still on the rise, fossil free mobility and transport should be a key goal for local and European level policymakers alike.

Folker Franz, Head of Government Relations EU at ABB, a member of the Platform for Electro-mobility, calls for a Clean Vehicles Directive that would mandate public authorities to procure a minimum share of clean and zero-emissions vehicles by 2025 and by 2030.

An overarching policy framework identifying clear electrification targets for public fleets would send a strong message to vehicle manufacturers and reduce the overall cost of the technology and allow zero emission solutions reach the scale needed. Most importantly, it would be a solid path toward significant CO2 reductions and clean air in European cities.

European projects such as BuyZET and ECCENTRIC showcase pilot actions of low or zero emission public procurements. For more case studies and guidance on low emission public transport and mobility, head over to our resource centre.

Read the full article here.

Binhai wins Chinese Public Procurement Award

15 January 2019

Tianjin Binhai New District won the 2018 China Government Procurement Award for innovation in green procurement. The Award recognizes their green furniture procurement evaluation system, which helps to assess and weigh environmental performance of bidding products on a large scale with full life cycle perspective.

In 2017, the Binhai Government Procurement Center pledged to advance green public procurement (GPP) by establishing a local green evaluation system. To this end, the Binhai Government Procurement Center joined the 10YFP SPP Working Group 1A “GPP Implementation and Impact Monitoring” as one of the East Asian pilot local governments - along with Suwon (Korea), Guiyang, Shenzhen Guangming District, Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Tianjin Jizhou District (China).

Under the project, ICLEI East Asia worked closely with the Binhai Government Procurement Center and domestic partners, and identified the furniture sector as the entry point to pilot the green procurement evaluation scheme. ICLEI East Asia helped formulate a set of specifications, award criteria, and verification methods covering phases of raw materials extraction, design, manufacturing, assembling, transport, and end of life treatment. In June 2018, the Binhai Government Procurement Center applied the criteria to two tenders of procuring 6,160 sets of school desks and chairs for public campuses. From 2019 onwards, the district of Binhai is looking into issuing a local document to accelerate the adoption throughout the district.

Become Part of the Team: Vacancy at ICLEI

14 January 2019

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

ICLEI Sustainable Economy and Procurement team has been working on the topic of sustainable, strategic and innovation procurement for 22 years. In more recent years the team are also working on the topic of financing and sustainable local economies. The team support 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 role has a topical focus on financing sustainable urban development and infrastructure. The new officer will be involved in the identification and delivery of a range of European projects. Working language is English and deadline for applications is January 19. The description of the position and information on how to apply can be found on the ICLEI jobs page.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is an association of 1,200 local governments in 68 countries that are dedicated to sustainable development.

We are looking forward to your applications!