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Vaxjo pushes for rigorous sustainability criteria

28 November 2013

The City of Vaxjo (Sweden) has implemented strict new sustainability criteria in their procurement activities, aiming to inspire others in Sweden to do likewise. Most recently, the city has enacted far-reaching social requirements in the procurement of beverage machines. The new requirements have faced a legal challenge from a supplier, and Vaxjo is waiting for the courts to rule on their eligibility.

"Someone has to pave the way. Otherwise, you go nowhere. That's why we purposefully set tough social requirements for the coffee," says David Braic, procurement manager for Växjö Municipality "We want to see whether it is possible to set tough, specialised sustainability requirements". The strategic importance of sustainable procurement is politically championed in the city: the municipality's procurement and purchasing policy requires that all procurement activities set relevant environmental and social requirements wherever possible.

All product purchases are coordinated through a consolidation centre, which facilitates joint distribution into the municipality. The centre has resulted in reduced costs, a smaller environmental impact, and more efficient loading and unloading. Small suppliers are also granted better access to the market. "The number of deliveries has dropped by 82 percent and carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by 74 percent per delivered tonne of goods. So far, 30-40 municipalities have paid a study visit to learn more from us," says David Braic.

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