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Study analyses opportunities to mainstream GPP in the Nordic countries

28 August 2012

A new report analysing the potential for mainstreaming green public procurement (GPP) in the Nordic countries has been released. The report is the result of a scoping exercise undertaken in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The objective was to identify potential synergies between the current development in general public procurement and green public procurement respectively.

At present in these countries green public procurement is viewed primarily as an environmental policy instrument and as such is implemented and followed up by Environmental Authorities. GPP policies are developed separately from the rest of public procurement policy measures. The study found that there is great potential for linkage between GPP and other policy developments.

The reports main recommendation is to engage in a discussion with other policy areas on GPP, for instance those concerned with energy and innovation policy. The report also recommends the implementation of life-cycle costing as well as the improvement of statistical records on GPP. The findings are to be presented to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Working Group on Sustainable Consumption and Production.

To view the report, click here.

Report produced on Sustainable Procurement in Indian Railways

27 August 2012

Sanjay Kumar, Deputy Chief Vigilance Officer of India’s Northern Railways, has produced a comprehensive report on Sustainable Public Procurement in the Indian Railways. The report aims to make people aware of the various initiatives in relation to sustainable public procurement that Indian Railways are currently engaged in.

In order to reduce the social and environmental impacts that occur as a result of its operations, Indian Railways are also taking measures to ensure that resources are allocated to improve the overall environmental performance of the company.

Indian Railways is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising a total of 114,500 kilometres of track over a route of 65,000 kilometres and 7,500 stations. Indian Railways carries over 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily.

To view the report, click here.

High-level speakers confirmed for EcoProcura2012

23 August 2012

With only weeks to go until EcoProcura 2012, a number of high-level speakers have been added to the conference line up. Coming primarily from the international governance level, the speakers are sure to provide practical advice and insight into global procurement issues. EcoProcura runs from the 19 – 21 September in ICLEI Member Malmö (Sweden) and will examine the current challenges in the implementation of sustainable public procurement (SPP).

Speakers include Sue Bird of the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission and Fanny Demassieux, the head of the Responsible Consumption Unit - Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, UNEP, and many more important players in the field of procurement. The LANDMARK Multimedia Exhibition will also be launched at the event, presenting interactive information and video footage on social responsibility within public sector supply chains.

To create an atmosphere conducive to networking a number of social events are open to participants. Attendees will receive free access to the internationally acclaimed Tutankhamun exhibition, and have the opportunity to watch an opera performance whilst dining at Malmö’s Town Hall. Three separate study tours have been organised for the final day of the conference to show the practical side of sustainable public procurement.

For more information, click here.

Apple rejoins environmental product registry

20 August 2012

Tech giant Apple have rejoined a prominent “green” certification programme after customer outcry prompted the company to rethink its decision to withdraw. Bob Mansfield, vice-president of hardware engineering, wrote in a statement, “We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognise that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”

The move to withdraw from the EPEAT registry, a non-profit product rating system, was rumoured to be tied to the company’s latest Macbook Pro design. Under the standards of EPEAT, all computer hardware must be capable of being broken down for recycling. The new Macbook Pro, however, was designed with a glued in battery which cannot be easily taken out.

Withdrawing resulted in a number of US cities unable to purchase Apple computers as their procurement rules require product certification. In the past Apple has led the move towards recyclable products and even helped in part to design the EPEAT standards. The company introduced eco-friendly design features such as using aluminum instead of plastic in the casings of their products, which makes recycling easier, and had consistently received gold ratings from EPEAT.

For more information, click here.

Copenhagen named European Green Capital 2014

16 August 2012

Copenhagen (Denmark) has won the European Green Capital award for 2014. The Danish capital was awarded the prestigious title by EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik in early June. The award jury praised the city for its achievements in the fields of eco-innovation and sustainable mobility, and its commitment to act as a role model for the green economy in Europe and beyond. The city’s green procurement policy also contributed to its win.

The city’s procurement strategy supports its ambition to become one of the world’s first fully carbon neutral cities by 2025, by ensuring that climate and environmental requirements are present in procurement policy across the board. Other means to achieve this include through heavily investing in solar cells and wind power, converting power stations from fossil fuels to biomass and reducing energy consumption amongst citizens. The city will also be extensively retrofitting housing, and improving energy efficiency in transport, heating and industry.

Copenhagen placed public-private partnerships at the core of its approach to eco-innovation and sustainable employment, working with companies, universities and organisations to develop and implement green growth. Copenhagen is also using its expertise to help other regions go green through Danida, the Danish Development Assistance. In Jakarta (Indonesia) the Danish Environmental Support Program is helping to create green buildings and to further develop Indonesia’s green economy.

For more information, click here.

Consultation process sees revised list of resource efficiency indicators

14 August 2012

The European Commission is currently consulting on a revised list of indicators that will be used to measure the overall resource efficiency of the European Union. The consultation period will end on 22 October 2012 and indicators are due to be agreed upon by 2013.

A provisional list included in the EC’s resource efficiency plan has been significantly scaled down due to data availability issues. Green public procurement contracts are among the dropped indicators. Others include the sales of green products, resource efficiency of EU companies, environmentally damaging subsidies and budgetary spending on resource efficiency.

New additions include an eco-innovation index, as well as the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus applied to farmland. The waste indicators now focus on municipal waste and greenhouse gas emissions are measured per capita. Gross domestic product divided by the mass of material consumed per year remains the lead indicator. Following the consultation, discussions on possible targets will begin.

To take part in the consultation, click here.

Olympic sustainable procurement helped by early planning

9 August 2012

Early planning and setting challenge targets was key to successfully making the construction of olympic venues sustainable according to the recently released report Learning Legacy: Lessons learned from the London 2012 Games construction project from Action Sustainability. The report emphasises the importance of efficient management of the procurement process from the beginning.

Among the innovations of the newly constructed venues are energy efficient lighting in the Olympic and Paralympic athlete’s village, and the reusing of soil at the Olympic site. The waste procurement strategy stipulated a target of recycling 90 per cent of construction waste in the contract. Ensuring buildings were constructed sustainably also lead to cost savings in many instances. The reusing of soil, for example, allowed £68 million to be saved, as money was not spent disposing of it.

In its comments on suppliers, the report states that supplier engagement must involve setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals. Engagement and managerial support with suppliers is also key. The report also focused on the need to conduct thorough research to identify new innovations and sustainable solutions.

For more information, click here.

Analysis of procurement directives reform published

3 August 2012

A recent article, available on the Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre, outlines the issues arising from the European Council’s publishing of its proposed compromise text for a new public sector procurement directive. The text has undergone a number of revisions from its previous iteration, and several areas that could impede the smooth implementation of Sustainable Public Procurement have been amended.

Author of the article Abby Semple, a procurement law expert, outlines the main changes to the directive, such as the incorporation of the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Dutch coffee case (analysis of this ruling also available). The court ruled that fair trade production requirements are acceptable as award criteria and contract performance clauses, but that social provisions can only be included in award criteria and contract performance conditions, not in technical specifications.

The revised text enhances the use of social and environmental labels as a means to verify performance, and includes a requirement to accept self-declarations where an operator did not have access to a label or could not obtain it within the relevant time limits. In terms of life cycle-costing, the ability to submit a tailor-made criteria has been removed. The analysis also looks at abnormally low tenders, changes to the innovation partnership procedure and provides notes on the drafting.

To read the analysis, click here.