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Procura+ seminar looks at protecting forests by making them valuable to communities

13 November 2013

Putting an economic value on forests that benefit biodiversity and local communities through developing markets for legal and sustainable tropical timber, and by doing so removing the incentive for unsustainable exploitation or land conversion, was the central topic of discussion at this year’s Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign Seminar, held on 6 November in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) as part of the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC) launch event.

The Procura+ Annual Meeting, held on the second day of the event, looked at the implications of the revised Procurement Directives on the implementation of sustainable public procurement (SPP) in EU Member States. Roundtable discussions provided an ideal opportunity for Procura+ Participants, national partners and others to exchange achievements, barriers and suggestions based on their recent experiences with implementing SPP. The meeting benefitted from the participation of the Campaign Chair and two Vice Chairs from the City of Helsinki (Finland), the Province of Barcelona (Spain) and the City of Malmö (Sweden) respectively, representing initiatives and ideas from three of Europe’s leading SPP regions.

Points of particular interest raised during the meeting included; Malmo’s collaboration with local labour unions to ensure transparency and fair working conditions; Barcelona City’s umbrella strategy incorporating 10 product and service categories for which SPP criteria are being made mandatory; Catalunya Waste Agency’s initiative that brings together producers and buyers of recycled products and Oslo’s (Norway) framework contract for auditing suppliers according to social criteria. Proposed solutions to challenges faced by public authorities included using contracts to oblige suppliers to provide information for monitoring purposes and using overall savings achieved by redefining need to justify price premiums for more sustainable products or services.

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