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Sustainable procurement of products increases in Brazil

18 May 2012

Brazilian public sustainable product procurement in the first quarter of 2012 has already totalled 83 percent of the total purchases made through sustainable tenders in 2011. In comparison with the same period in 2010 there was a 61 percent increase in Federal Government procurement of sustainable products. By March 2012 the value of sustainable products procured by government authorities in Brazil reached approximately R$12 million.

The Sustainable Procurement program is one of the government initiatives to ensure value is obtained in products consumed through applying environmental, economic and social criteria in all stages of a product’s life cycle. Since the implementation of the regulatory standard for sustainable procurement in January 2010, the Federal Government has issued 1,490 tenders for items classified as sustainable (up to March of this year).

A total of 550 products are considered sustainable by the government regulatory body. The increase in the number of purchases of this type is explained by the increase in the number of items available. The products most purchased since the implementation of the policy are recycled ink cartridges for printers (41.5 percent), recycled printer toner (23.9 percent), air conditioning equipment (7.5 percent) and recycled paper (6.2 percent). Vehicles using biofuels and cups made from corn starch are also included in the sustainable register.

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Sustainability of health care products influences purchasers

8 May 2012

Environmental sustainability and other green attributes play a large part when hospitals in Germany, Italy, Brazil and the United States make purchasing decisions on healthcare products, new research has revealed. On a ten point scale a majority of respondents (54 percent) rated the impact of “green” credentials on purchasing decisions for health care products and supplies an eight or higher.

The study also found that the same holds true for Integrated Delivery Networks. “Such a high rating means they are emotionally attached, that they feel strongly about it,” explains Dave Bauer of SK&A, an independent research firm based in California, USA that conducted the research on behalf of Medical Devices & Diagnostics Global Services.

The survey found that nearly one-third of current requests for proposals for medical products include green attributes, while key decision makers expect nearly 40 percent of future requests for proposals to include green attributes. Respondents to the survey, which was conducted from January to March 2012, included health care professionals, procurement/materials management, and hospital executives in all four countries.

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Binding measures needed to achieve green economy

4 May 2012

The opinion requested by the Danish presidency of the EU has said that to shift Europe to a green economy based on sustainable production and consumption, voluntary measures need to be supplemented by binding regulatory measures. It was further stated that greener fiscal policies and market-based incentives need to be in place to support this transition. The message was adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee at its plenary session.

An Le Nouail Marlière of the French Workers' Group, rapporteur for the opinion, stated that the EU needs to increase regulatory efforts to phase out unsustainable products, scrap subsidies that do not take full account of negative effects on the environment, and introduce green public procurement policies. The Committee's opinion places the issue of sustainable production and consumption in the context of a broader debate, calling for an overhaul of the economic model. The current model, fixated with GDP indicators and geared towards generating ever more growth and demand, is unfit to create a truly sustainable economy it is argued.

The Committee stated that while unsustainable products are being phased out, it is imperative that public authorities heavily support investment in research on new, eco-friendly products and incentivise businesses to innovate. It was also stated that it is necessary to involve civil society at global, national and local level to successfully transition to a sustainable green economy. To be widely accepted, sustainable production and consumption must be seen by businesses, consumers and workers as a desirable objective.

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Indian procurement bill facilitates green procurement

30 April 2012

The Government of India has drafted a Public Procurement Bill that integrates socio-economic policies into procurement policy, facilitating green procurement and energy efficiency preferences. The bill lays down broad principles and procedures to create a fair, transparent and competitive environment for procurement.

The government’s General Financial Rules have changed to allow procurement based on assessment of Life Cycle Cost (LCC), in which the operational costs of a product are considered, rather than purely the Capital Cost. Taking LCC into account further strengthens the importance of procuring energy efficient products and it is estimated that applying LCC could reduce operating costs by 20-30 percent.

The bill emphasises 'maximising economy and efficiency, promoting competition among suppliers and contractors while ensuring a fair, transparent and equitable procurement process, and promoting the integrity of, and public confidence in, the procurement process undertaken by the Central Government'.

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Sustainable procurement criteria and labels developed in Thailand

24 April 2012

The Thai government has enacted a programme to increase the sustainability of its public procurement through developing sustainable procurement criteria and reliable labels. The Thai example is also intended to support climate-friendly consumption and production patterns in other Asian countries, with the labels aimed at use in the private sector. Public procurement covers about 20 percent of consumption in Thailand.

Climate-friendly public procurement and the integration of climate relevant criteria into existing eco-labels are two key elements for establishing a low-carbon economy. The project will expand existing eco-labels in Thailand and in selected Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries to cover climate protection criteria, and will strengthen Green Public Procurement (GPP) in the country.

Public procurement staff will learn the new guidelines and be trained to use the new options of the eco-labels. The approach is designed to be applicable to all ASEAN members and China. Thai GPP strategies with adaptation to climate aspects will be disseminated to the ASEAN Region and the experiences of China in the development of eco-labels will also be incorporated into the framework of the ASEAN-China-cooperation.

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London 2012 achieves world first with dual certification

20 April 2012

With just over three months until the London 2012 Olympic Games kick off, the entire Olympic Park development has achieved dual Project Certification from PEFC and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) schemes for its timber usage —the first dual Project Certification in the world. This groundbreaking achievement in sustainable timber procurement has played a prominent role in helping the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) achieve its commitment of making the London 2012 Olympic Games the greenest games ever with 100% of wood products supplied certified as legal and sustainable.

The project certification ceremony took place on 28 March at the Olympic Park Site, with the development hailed as a major achievement that is potentially destined to be a future model for timber procurement globally. The scheme also saw a unique and important partnership role played by both PEFC and FSC to make sure that the levels of legal and sustainable timber procured by the ODA achieved the highest possible target.

The Games’ East London site comprises of seven major venues across the 246-hectare Olympic Park and needed to be managed on a daily basis for the thousands of timber products entering the site. The ambitious approach was driven forward by the establishment of the Timber Supplier Panel that embedded strict policy and procurement procedures and implemented a delivery management system that was forthright in policing and educating stakeholders and their supply chains about sustainable timber and unbroken chain of custody.

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Cape Town develops green procurement guidance

18 April 2012

The City of Cape Town (South Africa) recently developed an Information and Guideline document on the Implementation of Green Procurement in the city. The document describes the desired state of practice for the implementation of green public procurement and environmental legal compliance in Cape Town.

Intended to be the first step towards the implementation of green procurement in the city, the document outlines the aims, objectives and principles of green procurement. It also explores what should be considered and undertaken during the supply chain management process in a fully capacitated situation where green procurement is being implemented.

The initiative was undertaken by the city’s Supply Chain Management Department and will contribute significantly to ensuring Cape Town remains a city where resource efficiency and financial management continue to be cornerstones of local government’s business.

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Study notes wide-scale uptake of green public procurement in EU

13 April 2012

A recent study produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies and the College of Europe indicates that green public procurement is being practiced on a large scale within the EU. 55 percent of the last contracts signed by public authorities from 2009-2010 included at least one EU core GPP criterion and 26 percent included all surveyed EU core GPP criteria.

While the study indicated a positive trend in GPP (the inclusion of at least one core criterion was significantly higher in the last contracts signed than for the whole period of 2009-2010) it also found that the indicative target set by the European Commission that 50 percent of all public tendering procedures should be green in the EU by 2010 was not met. Purchasing costs are still the predominant criterion for awarding contracts with 64% of those surveyed mainly using the lowest price as the decisive criterion. Only a minority use predominantly Life Cycle Costing evaluation methods.

A positive result was that the greenness of contracts seems to be higher when looking at the value of contracts compared to the number of contracts. The study also highlighted that EU GPP criteria vary significantly across Europe. Over 850 public authorities from 26 Member States participated in a survey for the study and information on more than 230,000 contracts was collected.

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Electric mobility takes off in Estonia and Bulgaria

10 April 2012

Estonia launched an Electric Mobility Programme in 2011, which sought to introduce electric cars using funds from the Kyoto protocol system. The Ministry of Social Affairs bought 507 electric cars as samples, which it grants to state bodies through an application system. The first five electric cars were given to social workers on 21 October 2011. The cars are specially customized for cold climates.

In the first application round, the Ministry of Social Affairs received applications for 379 electric cars, while additional applications are expected from local governments for the remaining 128. An international public procurement tender is currently under way to establish the charging network, and the winner will be determined by the end of 2012. Electric chargers will be installed at all local government buildings participating in the project, allowing convenient charging during working hours.

Electric vehicles are an important part of several CEE countries’ sustainable urban development plans to reduce emissions. In Bulgaria, they will be prioritised in the country’s public procurement activities in the coming years. In addition, as of 2014, all state institutions and municipalities in Bulgaria will purchase only electricity-powered service cars.

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SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets survey exposes growth potential

3 April 2012

A recent Eurobarometer survey has identified areas of untapped potential for SMEs, revealing that less than a quarter take advantage of the single market for green products or service. Bureaucracy is cited as a major factor in this, with 20 percent of respondents stating that the complexity of administrative and legal procedures is a barrier to cross-border green investment.

At the launch of the survey, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani praised SMEs but said: “there is still a lot of work to do... Knowing that the EU makes up roughly one third of the world market for environmental industries reveals a huge potential for SMEs to grow." Data also indicates that SMEs lag behind larger companies in terms of green public procurement, with only 11 percent of EU SMEs having bid for a public procurement tender that included environmental requirements, compared with 16 percent of large companies.

Three in five SMEs (61 percent) selling green products or services have been active in green markets for more than three years, compared to 52 percent in the US, the survey revealed. The most commonly sold green products and services by SMEs in the EU are food and beverages at 25 percent and electronic and mechanical machinery and equipment at 23 percent.

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