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GLCN Cities call for sustainable procurement at UN Environment Assembly

22 March 2019

The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) is the highest level global decision making body on issues related to environment held every two years since 2013. 

At the 4th Session of UNEA to be held in Nairobi this week, national governments are negotiating a set of resolutions aiming at building sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies that address key environmental challenges with innovative solutions and rely on responsible patterns of consumption and production.

During the UNEA Cities conference on March 13, ICLEI hosted a session on integrated planning and policies for circular transitions. Convening cities, national government representatives and business, the session explored how circular urban systems that achieve both social and ecological benefits can be promoted through nature-based solutions, public procurement and technologies.

GLCN member city Oslo (Norway) was among the ICLEI delegation to UNEA. The City of Oslo highlighted the importance that ICLEI’s work and the GLCN network has had for advancing the City’s sustainable procurement practices and leverage the power of procurement to achieve sustainability outcomes.

Learn more about ICLEI’s call for circular development here.

 

A Conference that discusses Public Procurement of Tomorrow

19 March 2019

The European Commission – The Directorate General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is inviting interested stakeholders to the high level conference “Seizing opportunities in the public procurement of tomorrow”, which will be held in cooperation with Romanian Presidency on 4th April 2019 in Bucharest at the Parliament House.

The conference is an occasion to take stock of the main work strands developed in the field of public procurement over the past five years since the adoption of the 2014 Public Procurement Directives. It will review the achievements in improving public procurement practices, including the progress made on the six priorities of the Public Procurement Package of October 2017, among which “Ensuring wider uptake of innovative, green, and social procurement”.  The conference will be opened by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Eugen Teodorovici, Romanian Minister of Finance.

Among the high level speakers, the Chair of the Procura+ Network Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö will represent the network and reflect on its role in delivering on policy objectives such as the EU Public Procurement Package. Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre and Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe Mark Hidson will discuss how procurers across Europe are implementing procurement processes to achieve ambitious goals. In addition, the 2018 Procura+ Award winners will present their winning procurements and reflect on what winning the Award has meant for their procurement practice.

Learn more about the event here.

NGOs as co-drivers for GPP up-take across Europe

13 March 2019

The 2nd Annual Network meeting of the European NGO Network on GPP, coordinated by ICLEI Europe, took place in Lisbon, 13th February 2019, hosted by Quercus – National Association of Nature Conservatory. Seventeen NGOs from across Europe gathered to exchange on the topic of GPP.

The discussions during the meeting were based on the first-hand experiences made through the delivery of GPP activities by all NGOs. These activities took place over the course of 2018 and early 2019, aiming to advance GPP uptake in their local context. The activities ranged from workshops, specific training, and research surveys to roundtable discussions.

Key themes throughout the full-day event were what role NGOs can and should play in the uptake of GPP in public procurement, how to establish wider network ties or more focused ones, the opportunity for NGOs to support the new EC GPP Criteria and the impact created through delivered activities.

The event was facilitated by Peter Defranceschi (ICLEI Europe), Nuno Prata (City of Lisbon), Jean-Pierre Schweizer (EEB) and Abby Semple (Public Procurement Analysis) enriched the meeting through keynote presentations. In addition, the emphasis was placed on GPP in food procurement with three NGOs (ECODES, Legambiente, Mondo) recapping on their activities.

A clear outcome of the meeting was that the NGOs significantly benefited from being part of such a European Network and at the same time contribute through their expertise, diversity and motivation to a broader uptake of GPP across Europe.

Meet the Buyer Event Barcelona: advancing social responsiblity in ICT

13 March 2019

The Make ICT Fair Market Engagement Series continued with a Meet the Buyer event in Barcelona, 27th February at Pati Manning. The half-day event draw in over 30 participants ranging from ICT suppliers and resellers such as Telefonica or Saytel, NGO representatives and public procurers. Back-to-back with the Mobile Social Congress, the event enabled the discussion around social responsibility in the ICT supply-chain starting at the mining stage.

Procura+ Participant, Barcelona City Council kicked-of the event by introducing the audience to the overarching vision and purpose behind leveraging public procurement to increase the engagement with the topic. Namely, to address poor working conditions and human right violations in this global, complex supply-chain.

A presentation by Electronics Watch built on the introduction by providing further context as in show casing successful examples where socially responsible procurement made a lasting impact on the welfare of workers. However, the focus of the event was the exchange between suppliers/resellers and the public authorities. This was facilitated for example by an introductory presentation of HPs social responsibility policies, a panel discussion and open floor Q&A.

I was pleasantly surprised at the interest shown by the suppliers and companies. It shows that it really is a topical issue. It is a good time to move forward.” – Carla Canal, Project manager Policy Coherence for Development, Direction of Global Justice and International Cooperation, Barcelona City Council

Looking ahead, the next Meet the Buyer event, will focus on an upcoming tender on workplace hardware of Gemeente Haarlem – 15th April 2019, register here to secure a place.

GPP Training Programme in Eleven European Countries

13 March 2019

On behalf of the European Commission, ICLEI Europe is coordinating training on Green Public Procurement (GPP) across eleven European countries, including Cyprus, Latvia, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Lithuania.  Training is delivered by national organisations in each of these countries. The objective of this programme is to support a higher uptake of GPP throughout the EU, providing high-quality training material and targeted training schemes.

Topics covered include how to implement GPP, the legal context for GPP, how to assess needs for GPP, engaging with suppliers and an introduction to circular procurement. In addition, the training will cover GPP within ten product and service categories including computers and monitors, food and catering and transport.

The training material will be made available on the European Commission GPP website for your organisation to use. For more information on sustainable and innovation procurement training opportunities, you can get in touch with us at procurement@iclei.org.

Malmö meets public authorities to train contract management muscle

12 March 2019

Cities and National Governments that want to use procurement as a tool to achieve social responsibility goals such as inclusion and employment, need the knowledge of how to ensure that these objectives are being met in practice. The European Public Procurement Directives of 2014 see public procurement as a strategic tool that includes social aspects. The key challenge, however, when tendering and awarding a contract is to include criteria that actually result in the desired social outcomes. This is why contract management is a key aspect of successful socially responsible public procurement (SRPP).

Procura+ Network Chair the City of Malmö recently invited public procurement professionals from across Europe to discuss purchasing cleaning and transportation services, market analysis before tendering, criteria for the evaluation of tenders and –in the spot light- successful contract management approaches.

During the event, the City of Malmö presented their approach to contract management for strategic, sustainable public procurement. The city recently awarded a contract for mobility services for mobility impaired citizens. The tender included a contract clause that the awarded bidder develops a plan on how they are planning to achieve the foreseen social objectives, such as integrating workers with difficulties of finding a job. Procurers, sustainability managers, and inclusion commissioners from the City regularly meet with the contracted service provider to give feedback on their plan and ensure social goals are consistently being met.

Procura+ participant the City of Haarlem recently awarded a contract for day cleaning desktop services. It aims to improve the working conditions for cleaning staff. Haarlem regularly discusses with the contractor how to ensure the city’s ‘Social Return on Investment’ policy is fulfilled in the contract, using 5% of the contract value for integrative measures for people with difficulties integrating in the workforce.

All participating authorities agreed that collaboration with suppliers is key to ensure social objectives are implemented. A key need identified is to ensure sufficient professional staff capacity for inspection and follow up during the contract. If suppliers already know that certain requirements of the contract will not be monitored, they will not take them seriously.  

The study visit, attended by local and national authorities from Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic and Slovakia, was organised as part of the European project UrbanWINS and in cooperation with the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. It is the third of a series of staff exchanges, the CityMatch programme. To learn more about CityMatch and UrbanWINS visit the website.

Resources on successful SRPP can be found in our resource centre.

Win €10,000 to fund your next innovative and sustainable procurement actions

7 March 2019

Innovative and sustainable procurement actions working towards socio-economic, socio-cultural or technological transformation, especially those which showcase the use of public procurement as an instrument to accelerate the market introduction of innovative and sustainable technologies, are invited to apply for the 2019 Transformative Action Award.

The winner of which will receive a prize of €10,000 to help initiate further transformative actions in their city or region.

The award, co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Country, and the City of Aalborg (Denmark) and supported by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), rewards ongoing or concluded Transformative Actions that use the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration to bring about the socio-cultural, socio-economic, and technological transformation of societies.

Last year's winner, Procura+ participant City of Ghent, won for their work to transform the city’s local food system, which included making food procurement more sustainable, scaling up short food supply chains and and other participative governance actions.

Current or concluded actions in the field of procurement can apply for the award by the closing date of 31 July 2019. For more information and to apply for the award, visit the Sustainable Cities Platform.

Financing the transition to a circular economy

5 March 2019

The European Commission released a report this week to accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy in Europe. The report highlights the ways in which improving access to finance for circular economy projects is necessary to achieve a transition toward more circular development.

“In a Circular Economy products are designed for durability, upgradeability, reparability, and reusability”. This radical change in approaching product lifecycles requires changes in business models. As the report points out – businesses based on services rather than high resource consumption are at the heart of this transition.

Circular project promoters, financial stakeholder as well as policymakers have a role in creating favourable conditions to move from a linear to a circular economy. Local governments in particular can play a key role in creating the environment for new circular economy projects to flourish. According to the report, the mechanism range from developing standards for circular activities to developing a market for circular products and services through public procurement.

The report was published by the Informal Commission Expert Group “Support to the Circular Economy”, in which ICLEI has taken part over the past two years, bringing cities’ perspectives and opportunities for the Circular Economy to the table.

Several cities are piloting circular economy approaches within the CircularPP project. To learn more about this project click here.

To access the full report, click here.

Vacancy: ICLEI's Economy and Procurement team seeks Sustainable Construction Officer!

28 February 2019

The Sustainable Economy and Procurement team at ICLEI is looking to fill the position of Sustainable Construction Officer at its European Secretariat in Freiburg (Germany).

ICLEI's Sustainable Economy and Procurement team has been working on the topics of sustainable, strategic and innovation procurement for 22 years. In more recent years our work has expanded to cover the topic of  circular local economies. The team offers support to public authorities in implementation activities, spreading awareness of the concepts, developing new approaches, capacity building and encouraging policy developments at the European and international level.

This brand new position has been created to develop ICLEI's work on sustainable construction - in particular in relation to the circular economy - and support the delivery of sustainable and innovation procurement projects.

The deadline for applications is 25 March 2019. The description of the position and information on how to apply can be found on the ICLEI jobs page.

We look forward to your application!

Clean vehicles on the rise in Europe

26 February 2019

The transport sector contributes about 27% to greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). In addition, it is a source air pollution which is associated with a variety of health risks. Specialised vehicles, such as buses and waste collection trucks, are examples of market sectors where public demand may be particularly influential in moving towards lower emissions and greater fuel efficiency.

To harness this potential, European Union lawmakers recently reached an agreement on green public procurement rules for new buses, requiring local authorities purchase a minimum share of clean vehicles running on gas or electricity by 2025 and 2030.

In addition, the European Commission (EC) has published new guidance which can support public authorities in Europe in achieving these targets. The new guidance comes in the form of EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria and is an update of previous guidance issued in 2012. The updated criteria have been considerably broadened in scope, now covering purchases, leases and rentals of vehicles and related mobility services. The latter covers services such as car sharing, taxis, combined mobility services, and cycles.

Learn more about the new EU GPP guidance in the latest GPP News Alert.