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RPN’s Green Building Initiative helps green existing buildings

14 December 2011

The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN), with support from the US Environmental Protection Agency, has launched a new project to help public agencies, green building professionals and facility managers shrink the environmental footprint of their existing buildings, while cutting costs.

RPN is holding both online and in-person workshops designed to demonstrate how to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and improve indoor air quality by purchasing “green” building maintenance products. These include, ENERGY STAR-qualified LED lighting, HVAC equipment, on-site renewable energy systems and GREENGUARD-certified flooring and adhesives.

Two webinars have already taken place and the outcomes are available online. Different US states are grouped into regions, with some qualifying for free technical assistance to help advance their high-profile green building initiatives. Qualifying projects must be likely to yield measurable environmental results in reducing energy, water, or pollutants.

For more information, click here.

Building SPP taps into green procurement potential

6 December 2011

The threat posed by climate change demands the development of innovative, low carbon solutions for lighting, vehicles, and heating and cooling systems. Since European public authorities purchase large volumes of these products and services amounting to two billion euro per year, there is enormous, largely untapped potential for progress in the area of public procurement.

The Building SPP project, funded by the LIFE+ Programme, aims to promote sustainable procurement practices in Portugal and Greece. Sustainable procurement can play an important role in organizations at national and local level. The project’s main objective is to build capacity in sustainable procurement by assisting public authorities in setting up a procurement strategy.

It further seeks to encourage communication at various stages of the procurement process, promoting cooperation among public authority procurers and greater market engagement between public authorities and suppliers. Sustainable procurement can help organisations to meet commitments related to social, environmental and economic policies, and its benefits include money and energy savings.

For more information, click here.

Lithuania joins the drive towards lifecycle costing and assessment

30 November 2011

Green public procurement has gained an influential supporter. The Central Project Management Agency (CPMA) is the central purchasing body in Lithuania and currently manages framework contracts for over 600 public authorities. As an avid promoter of environmentally friendly public procurement, the CPMA has decided to go green and train its staff in the use of lifecycle costing, CO2 assessments and lifecycle assessments.

In November 2011, the CPMA teamed up with ICLEI and SYKE to hold a three-day training course discussing and testing current approaches, guidance and tools. The event was an outstanding success, providing those present with practical information as well as inspiration. “The topics are very interesting and of very real scope, especially for future approaches in public procurement” said one participant.

Some of the tools explored at the workshop include the SMART SPP LCC-CO2 tool and the JUHILAS carbon footprint calculator, invaluable in the move towards green public procurement. The tools will be available at ICLEI’s online SMART SPP resource centre which launches next week. The CPMA aims to use lifecycle costing in upcoming frameworks and intends to modify its operational manuals to include information gained from the training.

For more information, click here.

New GPP action plan for Malta

30 November 2011

The new Maltese national GPP action plan sets out the target of achieving 50% of public procurement compliant with EU GPP criteria by 2015. The plan, published by the government in August 2011, also contains specific targets for 18 product and service groups (such as paper, gardening products, textiles and IT equipment) for which common criteria have been agreed at EU level. Training seminars will be provided to public procurers.

When announcing the plan Finance, the Economy and Investment Minister Tonio Fenech explained “Like any other economic activity, public procurement, which represents an important proportion of Malta’s GDP, has an impact on the environment. The negative aspects of this impact, such as those associated with materials, the use of resources and the resulting waste should be reduced, while the positive aspects must be promoted. At the same time, we don’t expect sharp differences in prices, and we want to ensure that there is competition.”

For more information visit: www.gpp.gov.mt

Source: www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=135830

Carbon literacy e-learning course launched

28 November 2011

The Defra-led National Sustainable Public Procurement Programme (NSPPP) has launched a free carbon literacy e-learning course for public sector organisations.

The free resource can be used to develop awareness and understanding of the terminology and the principles associated with the greenhouse effect and climate change. The course takes about four hours in total, but the system records the participants’ progress, so it is easy to complete in shorter sessions.

The course was developed in partnership by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the Department of Health, National Health Service bodies and the EU-funded Clear About Carbon project. The NSPPP is now working with supplier organisations to develop a private sector version, which it hopes to launch in December 2011. All the materials will be free of charge.

The new carbon literacy e-learning course is available at: http://sd.defra.gov.uk/advice/public/nsppp/carbon-learning/.

Germany creates landmarks in Green Public Procurement

13 September 2011

Public authorities are major consumers in Europe and the European Commission is encouraging the use of ecological criteria in the public market-place. Germany, one of the ‘Green 7’ EU countries who currently manage a large amount of Green Public Procurement, is playing an active role in promoting the policy.

ICLEI’s Creating Landmarks (Landmarken Setzen) project aims to anchor GPP principles in training and offers a series of user-oriented train-the-trainer seminars. The opening event kicks off in Wiesbaden (Germany), on 5 October 2011. It offers representatives from training academies, public authorities and decision-makers, based or working in Germany, the opportunity to learn about the services offered in the project and to discuss relevant issues.

During the event, participants will be invited to ask their specific questions and make the connection to existing units in their curricula. Comprehensive training material will also be provided to ensure the knowledge is passed on to their target group - public sector employees. The project is generously funded by the German Environmental Agency and German Environmental Ministry.

For more information, click here.

UK public procurement most expensive in EU

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A new report conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed the UK’s public procurement process to be the most expensive in the European Union, with the average cost of a competitive procurement process £45,200; £21,300 higher than the EU average. The research took into account both costs to public sector bodies aiming to attract bids, and private suppliers aiming to win contracts.

The UK comes only fourth in terms of the most expensive countries in Europe for public bodies putting contracts out to market however, coming behind Denmark, Norway and Italy with an average cost of £1,260 per bid received (the EU average stands at £800). The UK is above the EU average in terms of competitiveness, with an average of 6.4 bids per competition.

In terms of length, the UK procurement process was calculated to be 53 days longer than the EU average. The study put the blame for the expense and length on the complexity of the bidding process. Complexity also reduces the number of potential suppliers that will bid for a contract, and discriminates against smaller firms that may not have the resources to engage in the process. The research was commissioned by e-procurement provider Gatewit.

For more information, click here.

Draft EU GPP Criteria for medical equipment seeks stakeholder comments

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New EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) Criteria have been developed for electrical and electronic equipment used in the health care sector. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the criteria by 2 September 2013. A range of environmental aspects were taken into account when designing the criteria, with energy consumption considered the most significant.

As stakeholders record energy usage in a variety of ways, before detailing the criteria it was necessary to agree on a common method for recording. This was also the case for water usage. Products covered by the criteria include bed side monitoring equipment, electrocardiographic (ECG) equipment, laser instruments for surgery, x-ray equipment and more.

To date, industry associations, medical professionals, NGOs, procurement experts and others have provided input and comments to the criteria revision. SEMCo, the Swedish government's expert body on sustainable procurement, volunteered to develop the EU GPP Criteria for medical devices, and will develop criteria for consumables and disposables in the sector in the near future.

For more information, click here.

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InnProBio factsheet explores sustainability of bio-based products

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The InnProBio project has just released its second factsheet on the sustainability of bio-based products. The factsheet includes information on feedstock, end-of-of life bio-based products and Life Cycle Assesment (LCA), a useful methodology for public procurement process to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of purchasing particular products throughout its life cycle.

The factsheet also includes a section to help procurers define requirements regarding certification and labels, offering a comprehensive list of different labels, certification schemes and standards that may be considered when purchasing bio-based products or services.

Part of a series designed to make biobased products more accessible, this factsheet stresses the importance of considering the environmental impacts related to agriculture practices for cultivation, the energy used in the production process and process agents such as chemicals and solvents. A third factsheet, exploring fact and fiction on biodegradability, will be available soon.

For more information, visit the InnProBio website.