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EcoProcura conference demonstrates power of public procurement to shape the market

25 September 2012

The EcoProcura conference in Malmö (Sweden) demonstrated the growing consensus that public authorities have both the power and responsibility to create a market for sustainable products and services. Spending €2 trillion (or 19 percent of GDP) each year on goods and services, the public sector is the biggest single buyer on the European market, representing tremendous potential to push environmental, social and innovative solutions. The European Commission outlined its aim to simplify and modernise procurement laws to help local, regional and national governments stimulate innovation and achieve their sustainable development goals.

Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: “Public procurement of sustainable and innovative goods and services is one of the essential tools for stimulating new technological or service solutions while helping to create jobs and boosting the competitiveness of the European industry and SMEs. It also encourages more efficient public services“. The Commission announced further funding for networks of public authorities to buy innovative solutions. This will complement existing initiatives such as the SCI-Network on sustainable construction and innovation.

The outcomes of the conference will be built upon and inform policy processes. This will be achieved through the Procura+ Campaign, a movement of public authorities at the forefront of sustainable procurement in Europe. The EcoProcura conference 2012 brought together about 250 purchasers and policy makers from all levels of government, suppliers, representatives from the European Commission and NGOs to explore pathways to achieving real sustainability in public procurement. The Mayor of host city Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, spoke for all delegates in announcing, “Our challenge is to make sure that every euro we spend can maximise social benefits, reduce environmental impact and contribute to sustainable economic development.”

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