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Ghana public procurement chief pushes for SPP

28 March 2013

The head of the Public Procurement Authority in Ghana has appealed to government and procurement practitioners to embrace and implement Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) policy. CEO Samuel Sallas-Mensah touted SPP’s ability to facilitate sustainable development economically, socially and environmentally, as well as its ability to aid female entrepreneurship. He also called on the government to increase demand for sustainable goods, services and works.

Through government-driven purchasing of sustainable products and services, the private sector will necessarily diversify to embrace sustainability, resulting in an improvement in environmental management skills, corporate social responsibility, cleaner production, and pollution prevention services, said Mr. Sallas-Mensah. “Waste management and economic use of resources are some obvious challenges we face and sustainable public procurement can help address them to a large extent,” he said.

He also asked the Ghanaian government to include a quota for purchases from “Women-Owned Small Businesses”, saying “a policy that seeks to improve incomes for women businesses through government contracts is a wise one and must be embraced since it results in poverty alleviation and wealth creation.” The remarks came at a Swiss-government run training for procurement practitioners on SPP.

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€6.3 million available in EC call for public procurement of innovation proposals

27 March 2013

The European Commission is calling on public procurement bodies to submit proposals for collaborative, cross-border projects that support “buyers groups” in utilising Public Procurement of Innovation. The projects should improve the economic framework conditions for innovation and contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The deadline for submissions is 28 May 2013 at 12:00 CET.

It is necessary that the proposals clearly demonstrate how public procurement bodies will act, during the project, as launch customers for innovative goods or services which are not yet available on a large-scale commercial basis. Due to the extra risk involved in purchasing such products, the European Commission is willing to provide co-financing. The call has a total budget of €6.3 million.

Higher quality ranking will be given to proposals that focus on the EC’s industrial innovation priorities: clean vehicles and related mobility devices (excluding information & communication technology solutions); sustainable construction; and more efficient use of raw materials, including recycling. If you intend to submit a proposal and are looking for a partner organisation, please contact procurement@iclei.org.

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Catch up on ICLEI's latest news on sustainable procurement in Europe

20 March 2013

The March edition of the Sustainable Procurement Update contains a mix of European procurement news, funding opportunities, and training events information, and is now available to view online. The newsletter content is drawn from the European Sustainable Procurement Campaign, Procura+, and ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement activities in Europe.

This issue focuses on the raft of assistance on offer for various procurement actions, particularly the Clean Fleets project’s support with implementing the Clean Vehicles Directive, the Sustainable Timber Action (STA) project’s technical and legal assistance on implementing sustainable timber procurement, and Topten’s support for public authorities preparing tender documents for energy consuming products. Upcoming trainings in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Hungary and Spain are also discussed.

Information on the Breakfast at Sustainability’s meeting, which will explore the opportunities and challenges presented by purchasing sustainable timber, is provided. The event is set to take place on 22 March 2013. Those who wish to register can do so by contacting brussels-office@iclei.org.

To view the SP Update, click here.

Input invited on draft credibility principles

19 March 2013

Credibility principles, a set of guidelines which represent the core values upon which effective sustainability standards are built, are increasingly in demand, as what defines good social and environmental practices evolves. ISEAL, an organisation dedicated to establishing credible sustainable standards, is currently holding a consultation process, asking for input on the strength of its draft credibility principles.

The consultation process is in its second round and will run until 30 April 2013. The first round ended on 7 December 2012, and saw constructive feedback gathered from workshops, interviews and electronic commentary. It is aimed that the credibility principles become an international reference that helps governments and businesses understand effective sustainability standards, influencing their sourcing decisions.

The draft credibility principles are available to view online and are also available in Chinese, French, Portuguese and German. Feedback can be given through a variety of channels, including completing an online survey, registering for a webinar, attending a workshop or following the consultation process on twitter. A video has also been produced, outlining the objectives of the principles.

For more information, click here.

OECD report looks at reforming public procurement to drive growth

15 March 2013

Public procurement, once seen as merely an administrative necessity, is increasingly viewed as a means to achieve strategic objectives, particularly in the area of sustainability. A new report from the OECD Public Procurement for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth: Enabling reform through evidence and peer reviews, aims to help governments in reforming procurement policy and practice, changing it into a tool to reach strategic goals.

The report outlines achieving savings in times of austerity through better procurement practices, delivering more effective public services, the link between procurement and sustainable development and transforming procurement into a strategic function which contributes to a more sustainable future. Each section is supplemented with case studies from different regions of the world, as well as pertinent figures and statistics.

The document ends with a list of seven lessons learned from the OECD Public Procurement Reviews, in which peer reviews were conducted to help countries assess their procurement systems against OECD guidelines. The lessons learned range from ensuring a strategic position for the government function to ensure sound stewardship of public funds, to developing evidence to monitor the performance of the procurement system.

To view the report, click here.

Pre-commercial procurement tender aims to improve care for the elderly

14 March 2013

The EU funded SILVER project (Supporting Independent Living for the Elderly through Robotics) is launching its pre-commercial procurement (PCP) call for tender. The SILVER contracting authorities will be procuring research and development (R & D) services to test and develop robotic solutions to improve care for the elderly in their own homes. It is envisaged that through this PCP, the amount of elderly people being cared for at home will increase by 10 percent by 2020, without increasing the amount of care staff.

Companies who wish to make an offer for the call are invited to check the SILVER website for the details, available in the call for tender publication in the official Journal of the European Union. Companies are also invited by the SILVER consortium to attend information meetings which will be held in March and April. Interested companies can register online.

The SILVER PCP involves the following local and regional contracting authorities from five EU Member States, each of which are jointly carrying out this cross-border PCP: The City of Odense and region of Southern Denmark (Denmark), the City of Västerås (Sweden), the Cities of Vantaa and Oulu (Finland), the City of Stockport (UK), and the City of Eindhoven (Netherlands).

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Labour rights in India and Morocco criticised in global report

8 March 2013

Highly complex labour laws, a lack of enforcement of labour standards at state level and the inability to monitor labour compliance has led to a significant risk to supply chains in India, according to a new report assessing global labour conditions. Morocco has also been deemed a high risk country, as despite a strong legal framework for the protection of workers’ rights, enforcement is rare.

India’s laws have contributed to an estimated 93 percent of the labour force (close to 500 million workers) being engaged in the informal economy. Widespread poverty, the frequent use of contract labour and institutionally-entrenched discrimination against vulnerable groups add to the problem. National labour laws fall short of international standards, particularly in regards to child labour and trade union rights.

In Morocco, workers are often required to work long hours for pay that does not meet basic living needs. Employers regularly ignore the demands of collective agreements and take advantage of the country’s high unemployment levels when stipulating conditions. The country is also said to have prohibitive laws on freedom of association, including excessive criminal sanctions imposed on trade union representatives.

For more information, click here.

Australian Government publishes guides in bid to increase sustainable procurement

6 March 2013

Guides to help Australian Government procurers include sustainability considerations in the procurement process have been developed by ECO-Buy and released by the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The two publications Sustainable procurement guide and Guide for sustainable procurement of services outline the supply chain in detail, better equipping procurers to identify and address environmentally, socially and economically harmful elements.

The adverse impacts posed by the production of goods and services are addressed in the Sustainable procurement guide, with an eye to mitigation through sustainable practices, while the Guide for sustainable procurement of services includes best practice performance criteria that can be used in the approaches to market and possible contract requirements.

Publication of other specific product and service guides is planned throughout 2013. The guides feed into the Australian Government’s commitment under the National Waste Policy, “Less Waste, More Resources”, to embody and promote the principles of sustainable procurement within its operations.

For more information, click here.