PUBLIC PROCUREMENT NEWS

  

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What contribution can school meals give to sustainability and regional development?

17 October 2019

The 30th iteration of ICLEI’s Breakfast@Sustainability’s took place during the 2019 European Week of Regions and Cities and was organised in partnership with the Committee of the Regions and the Organic Cities Network Europe. The event focussed on the role of sustainable food procurement for schools.

If used strategically, sustainable food procurement is a powerful tool that governments have at their disposal to create stronger regional value chains. Good practice examples were brought by Aurélie Solans from the city of Paris and Carsten Friis Toft from the city of Copenhagen (Procura+ Participant). In the city of Paris, around 30 million meals are served public canteens. In 2015, the City Council adopted a Sustainable food Plan that explicitly emphasizes local, organic and seasonal products and aims at reducing meat consumption by 20%. The plan is achieving remarkable results and 2018 46,8%  of meals served in public canteens were sustainably sourced, making the Paris municipality the leading public purchasers of organic food in France. 

The city of Copenhagen reached its goals by focusing on investment in awareness-raising, market engagement prior, during and after the tendering process. Much emphasize was also put on dialogue with kitchen staff and on educating them to ensure they know how to work with products. ”We have the policies, now we need to make them into reality”, said Carsten Friis Toft from the city of Copenhagen. Building on this Mr. Serafini, Director of the Organic Cities Network Europe, highlighted "the most important novelty is that citizens, now more than ever, influence with their food choices.”

However, existing public procurement rules constrain innovative food procurement also. Mr.  Kompatscher - President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and Regional Councilor, CoR Rapporteur on Opinion on European Sustainable Food Policy, drew attention to the paradoxical situation we are facing. While there is much effort on making it possible for private consumers to consciously buy local, organic food (in line with von der Leyen's Farm to Fork Strategy), this is not the case when it comes to public procurement:  the principles of EU market hinder the possibility for public tenders to make the same choice. According to the EU, bidding for regional products would distort competition and as a result, public tenders have to develop additional award criteria and find 'creative' solutions that empower local providers.

In response, Mr. Schmidt - Chair of the Sustainable Development Observatory, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for the creation of a European Food Policy Council, which should be multi-stakeholder and multi-level, involving local and regional authorities and initiatives and for the creation of an Expert Group to formulate Europe-wide sustainable dietary guidelines.

Christof Kienel - Head of Unit, Commission for Natural Resources, European Committee of the Regions, emphasised that "sustainable food in school canteens and schools shows the role of the CoR and local and regional actors here in Brussels to link local and regional expertise to see what does work and does not, to help EU to take better decisions".  

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Join our team and leverage the power of procurement

16 October 2019

ICLEI’s Sustainable Economy and Procurement team has been at the forefront of the sustainable, circular, strategic and innovation procurement topic globally for 23 years. In more recent years our work has expanded to cover the topics of sustainable/circular local economies and financing. Our work supports public authorities in implementation, raising awareness, developing new approaches, capacity building and encouraging policy developments at the European and international level. We are looking for a person who has experience of procurement in meeting the environmental, social and economic goals of public authorities.

This is an opportunity to join ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability a leading global network of 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. Through our collective efforts, we impact more than 25 percent of the global urban population.

See the full role description and instructions how to apply here. Starting date is 1 February, 2020

Please feel free to share this opportunity with your network.

Deadline for application: 10 November 2019

Public authorities invited to be featured in European Commission procurement publication

15 October 2019

Governments across the world are exploring and implementing Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP) practices as a means to work towards a more sustainable future. In this context, the European Commission – with support from ICLEI Europe and AEIDL – is collecting SRPP good practices in Europe and beyond. The Commission will identify outstanding examples from local, regional, national and European buyers.

Selected good practice examples will be featured in a European Commission publication and gain recognition for excellence in public procurement.

SRPP encompasses a wide range of procurement objectives and activities, such as using public tenders to promote decent work along the supply chain, introducing gender equality criteria in tenders, accelerating inclusion of people with disabilities or vulnerable people through procurement, facilitating the participation of social enterprises in procurement procedures, or the use of social impact bonds. This report will feature a wide variety of cases that can inspire other peers to “buy social.”

If you are interested in being featured and demonstrating that you are a trailblazer in the field, please send a brief overview of the case that you wish to include to procurement@iclei.org. A full case study story will be developed at a later stage.

For more information on data protection during this process, please click here. To learn more about current efforts in sustainable public procurement, click here.

European cities engage the market to realise zero-emission and healthy construction procurement

10 October 2019

Cities from across Europe met yesterday in Copenhagen to inform market actors in the construction supply chain of their targets and plans clean and healthy construction. Representatives from Procura+ Participants Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Budapest and Brussels Environment as well as Lisbon, Amsterdam and Trondheim all discussed procurement ambitions for zero-emission construction sites and sustainable building materials in their cities.

Circular construction materials are a key area of interest for innovative local governments. Building material is a major emitter of CO2, meanwhile cities can improve the way construction materials are kept in the loop within their own cities. A main question for these cities is how to develop circular ideas into actual procurements.

Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs at the City of Copenhagen, opened the event by stating that "We need everyone on board to make clean construction work.  We are here to explore what are reasonable and achievable demands. How do we help the market to help us to make a more sustainable construction sector? Meeting with others is always the first step to a better future."

A series of panels further set the scene for the 90 participants in the room, who included machinery manufacturers, materials suppliers, construction contractors and architects from across Europe. Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director of ICLEI Europe recognising the need for "a critical mass of public authorities implementing sustainable procurement to achieve real progress in greening the market in Europe". Marzena Rogalaska, Director of the European Commission DG Grow, emphasised that "public procurement can play a strong role in clean construction". She went on to call for cities to recognise that they "are leaders of this movement, and Mayors and Ministers need to acknowledge their exemplary role in pushing the market".

The cities highlighted their targets to the market. For example, Copenhagen's CPH2025 Climate Plan includes a goal for the City to use fossil-free fuels in its non-road mobile machinery. Oslo announced its policy for construction sites to be zero-emission by 2025, showing its leadership in sustainable procurement as GLCN city. Amsterdam highlighted its goal for emission-free construction logistics by 2025 and emission-free mobile machinery by 2030. The cities and suppliers were able to discuss challenges and solutions for meeting these targets in an open dialogue session.

ICLEI, Climate KIC, C40 and Innovation Norway organised the event under the European Commission Big Buyers Initiative, in cooperation with the C40 Mayor's Summit. Next steps for the cities under the Big Buyers Initiative is to work together on developing procurement criteria and approaches that accelerate all stakeholders towards achieving the objectives.

How can public procurement make ICT fair?

2 October 2019

What can public buyers do to improve working conditions and leverage human rights across the global electronics supply-chain - all the way from mining to manufacturing?

Aiming to find some answers to this complex question, the Procura+ Interest Group on Socially Responsible Public Procurement of ICT, managed by ICLEI Europe, gathered for a two-day workshop in Stockholm, Sweden.

Members of the Interest Group include the host of the meeting - Region Stockholm, APUC Scotland, Electronics Watch, as well as Procura+ Participants Barcelona City Council, City of Haarlem, Stavanger Kommune, City of Malmö and Rijkswaterstaat.

A key element of the workshop was to exchange on the five pilot actions delivered under the Make ICT Fair project: What have we learned? What are the main obstacles using award criteria, technical specifications and verification schemes? Check this page to follow the pilot action as it continues in the coming months. 

Another focus of the workshop was the discussion around fair and circular ICT: What does circular ICT mean? What are the potential synergies and trade-offs? The group also had the opportunity to exchange with resellers, focussing on their unique role in the value chain and their perspective on the future of fair and circular ICT service models.

Reflecting on the fruitful exchange, public procurement holds powerful leverage that can shape the quality of supply-chains not only for the products themselves but for workers involved throughout it. Looking ahead, it will be crucial to continue asking many questions, to exchange knowledge, learn from pilot action and invest in market dialogue.

Learn more about the Interest Group here.

Engage with the work of Make ICT Fair on twitter using #MakeICTFair

Green Street Lighting - learn about the latest

1 October 2019

Next Thursday, 10th October (14.00 - 15.30 CET) the European Commission and ICLEI will host a webinar on the updated EU GPP criteria for Road Lighting and Traffic Signals (published December 2018). The criteria have been designed to help public authorities reduce the key environmental impacts associated with the design, installation and operation of outdoor lighting.

The programme is as follows:

  • Welcome, Enrico Degiorgis, DG Environment, European Commission
  • Introduction to the EU GPP Criteria for Road Transport, Shane Donatello, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission
  • An Energy Performance Framework Contract for Italian public authorities, Cristina Gironi, Consip, Italy
  • EPC for street lighting renovation in small municipalities, Pablo Quero Garcia, Diputacion de Cadiz, Spain


The GPP Helpdesk Webinars provide a forum to inform stakeholders working in the field of public sector procurement about important new developments in the resources available and legislative context for GPP, and provide an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Participation is free of charge. However, prior registration is essential.

Register by visiting: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3140625623538889485

New EU energy label to boost innovation and energy efficiency

24 September 2019

The EU energy label for electronic devices is a driver of innovation and market development for energy efficient products. It stimulates innovation on the producers’ side and demand for energy efficient products. Energy efficiency labels are also useful tools for procurers to use in tenders as award criteria to push for more energy efficient products. Providing reliable and comparable information, it enables public authorities to make more sustainable choices.

However, the current label concept involving A+++ to D efficiency classes is less effective in a world where most new products achieve at least A+.  The European Commission therefore has decided to reinvent the original A-G class concept by allowing a rescaling of classes. The rescaling process allows for new products to achieve higher energy standards than the old scale could depict. This will encourage further innovation on the supplier side. To make it a success, the transition process requires guidance and support of stakeholders, for all involved parties to fully understand and correctly apply the new energy label.

As partner in a new project, ICLEI Europe is supporting this transition, by informing public buyers about the rescaling and its implication for (sustainable) procurement. This way, all market parties will be able to make the best use of the new energy label, stimulating innovation and energy savings in the future.

Buying power can move the needle towards circularity

10 September 2019

Nowadays, 7.6 billion people live on earth, according to forecasts, this is expected to grow to 10 billion people by 2050. If we don’t change our approach to natural resources use, and don’t reduce the level of our consumption, we will need the equivalent of 2.5 to 3.5 globes worth of natural resources by 2050! It is clear that cities need to take action to avoid such exploitation of natural resources, and one solution may be the use of circular procurement.

Circular procurement is known as a different way of acquiring goods and services that promotes consideration of the whole lifecycle of products throughout their supply chain. A focus on the use and services provided by a product instead of the ownership catalyses the development of new business models, which are expected to be necessary to promote a circular economy.

Circular Public Procurement (Circular PP) is a 3 year project supported by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme with the main goal to develop an adequate framework for circular procurement in the countries belonging to the Baltic Sea Region. Learn more about the project's activities and outcomes such as infographics about circular procurement.

Call for Innovative Financing Solutions for Sustainable Cities in Europe

5 September 2019

The City Finance Lab (CFL) 2nd call for proposals is finally open. The EU-supported City Finance Lab created this new opportunity to fund innovative financing solutions for sustainable cities.

The CFL is calling on interested cities, city and financial networks, utilities, financial institutions, and any other municipal finance practitioner to

Now more than ever before, cities must be prepared to deal with the risks and impacts of climate change by moving to more sustainable, zero-carbon and resilient pathways. Through the City Finance Lab, we enable the deployment of city finance solutions in such a way that is joined up, scaled up, and adds up to actions and initiatives that keep us well within the 2 ˚C global warming threshold," says Teodora Virban, Project Manager, City Finance Lab, EIT Climate-KIC.


The  call for proposals runs until 31st October 2019 and finalists will be announced by mid-December 2019. Proponents of selected ideas will receive up to EUR 75,000 in-kind support to develop their proposals through technical advisory from city finance experts. Selected proponents will also have the opportunity to showcase their plans to potential partners and investors to promote investments in critical urban climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience projects in European cities. 


More information available here.

Procura+ participant Zurich wins Swiss ethical procurement award

4 September 2019

Solidar Suisse, a Swiss development NGO, honoured Procura+ participant Zurich for its fair and ethical procurement practice. The NGO rated 87 Swiss local governments and highlighted Zurich’s procurement as exemplary.

This is the third time in a row that the city is acknowledged for its efforts to support developing countries through its procurement by Solidar Suisse. Solidar Suisse pointed out that through its work Zurich takes a leading role among German-speaking Swiss communities.

For many years, the City of Zurich is striving to include social and environmental criteria in its tenders. Most recently, the city awarded a contract to supply uniforms for the public transport provider and a contract for the supply of t-shirts for several city departments.

Both tenders accounted for the fact that cotton production is associated with high water consumption, often in places that suffer from water scarcity. They required suppliers to provide only products made from organic cotton, which uses up to 90% less water than standard cotton.

In addition, the City included several requirements that commit suppliers to fair and ethical working conditions along the entire supply chain. Suppliers need to prove that they adhere to global working standards for fair labour and wages, such as ILO standards. In addition, they need to show that they have insight into their entire supply chain. Supply chain transparency is key in assuring working conditions actually comply with labour standards.

The Procura+ interest group on socially responsible procurement is working on this and other topics connected to assuring fair and ethical working conditions along global supply chains. Find more information on the Procura+ website.

More information about Zurich’s awarded procurement practice can be found here (in German).