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New GPP action plan for Malta

30 November 2011

The new Maltese national GPP action plan sets out the target of achieving 50% of public procurement compliant with EU GPP criteria by 2015. The plan, published by the government in August 2011, also contains specific targets for 18 product and service groups (such as paper, gardening products, textiles and IT equipment) for which common criteria have been agreed at EU level. Training seminars will be provided to public procurers.

When announcing the plan Finance, the Economy and Investment Minister Tonio Fenech explained “Like any other economic activity, public procurement, which represents an important proportion of Malta’s GDP, has an impact on the environment. The negative aspects of this impact, such as those associated with materials, the use of resources and the resulting waste should be reduced, while the positive aspects must be promoted. At the same time, we don’t expect sharp differences in prices, and we want to ensure that there is competition.”

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Carbon literacy e-learning course launched

28 November 2011

The Defra-led National Sustainable Public Procurement Programme (NSPPP) has launched a free carbon literacy e-learning course for public sector organisations.

The free resource can be used to develop awareness and understanding of the terminology and the principles associated with the greenhouse effect and climate change. The course takes about four hours in total, but the system records the participants’ progress, so it is easy to complete in shorter sessions.

The course was developed in partnership by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the Department of Health, National Health Service bodies and the EU-funded Clear About Carbon project. The NSPPP is now working with supplier organisations to develop a private sector version, which it hopes to launch in December 2011. All the materials will be free of charge.

The new carbon literacy e-learning course is available at:

Germany creates landmarks in Green Public Procurement

13 September 2011

Public authorities are major consumers in Europe and the European Commission is encouraging the use of ecological criteria in the public market-place. Germany, one of the ‘Green 7’ EU countries who currently manage a large amount of Green Public Procurement, is playing an active role in promoting the policy.

ICLEI’s Creating Landmarks (Landmarken Setzen) project aims to anchor GPP principles in training and offers a series of user-oriented train-the-trainer seminars. The opening event kicks off in Wiesbaden (Germany), on 5 October 2011. It offers representatives from training academies, public authorities and decision-makers, based or working in Germany, the opportunity to learn about the services offered in the project and to discuss relevant issues.

During the event, participants will be invited to ask their specific questions and make the connection to existing units in their curricula. Comprehensive training material will also be provided to ensure the knowledge is passed on to their target group - public sector employees. The project is generously funded by the German Environmental Agency and German Environmental Ministry.

For more information, click here.

UK public procurement most expensive in EU

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A new report conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed the UK’s public procurement process to be the most expensive in the European Union, with the average cost of a competitive procurement process £45,200; £21,300 higher than the EU average. The research took into account both costs to public sector bodies aiming to attract bids, and private suppliers aiming to win contracts.

The UK comes only fourth in terms of the most expensive countries in Europe for public bodies putting contracts out to market however, coming behind Denmark, Norway and Italy with an average cost of £1,260 per bid received (the EU average stands at £800). The UK is above the EU average in terms of competitiveness, with an average of 6.4 bids per competition.

In terms of length, the UK procurement process was calculated to be 53 days longer than the EU average. The study put the blame for the expense and length on the complexity of the bidding process. Complexity also reduces the number of potential suppliers that will bid for a contract, and discriminates against smaller firms that may not have the resources to engage in the process. The research was commissioned by e-procurement provider Gatewit.

For more information, click here.

Draft EU GPP Criteria for medical equipment seeks stakeholder comments

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New EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) Criteria have been developed for electrical and electronic equipment used in the health care sector. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the criteria by 2 September 2013. A range of environmental aspects were taken into account when designing the criteria, with energy consumption considered the most significant.

As stakeholders record energy usage in a variety of ways, before detailing the criteria it was necessary to agree on a common method for recording. This was also the case for water usage. Products covered by the criteria include bed side monitoring equipment, electrocardiographic (ECG) equipment, laser instruments for surgery, x-ray equipment and more.

To date, industry associations, medical professionals, NGOs, procurement experts and others have provided input and comments to the criteria revision. SEMCo, the Swedish government's expert body on sustainable procurement, volunteered to develop the EU GPP Criteria for medical devices, and will develop criteria for consumables and disposables in the sector in the near future.

For more information, click here.

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InnProBio factsheet explores sustainability of bio-based products

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The InnProBio project has just released its second factsheet on the sustainability of bio-based products. The factsheet includes information on feedstock, end-of-of life bio-based products and Life Cycle Assesment (LCA), a useful methodology for public procurement process to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of purchasing particular products throughout its life cycle.

The factsheet also includes a section to help procurers define requirements regarding certification and labels, offering a comprehensive list of different labels, certification schemes and standards that may be considered when purchasing bio-based products or services.

Part of a series designed to make biobased products more accessible, this factsheet stresses the importance of considering the environmental impacts related to agriculture practices for cultivation, the energy used in the production process and process agents such as chemicals and solvents. A third factsheet, exploring fact and fiction on biodegradability, will be available soon.

For more information, visit the InnProBio website.

PPI4Waste final conference

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The PPI4Waste project will host its final conference, "Feedback and opportunities for public procurement of innovation in the waste sector" on 12 September in Brussels. The purpose of the conference is to share the principal findings of the research, networking and training activities implemented during the project's lifetime to help increase the uptake of innovative waste solutions.

The one-day conference will have two main sessions. The first session will present the main findings of the PPI4Waste project and how public procurement of innovation (PPI) can be experimented and stimulated in the field of waste management. It will be followed by an afternoon session exploring synergies between procurers and projects on innovative solutions.

A full programme and participant registration will be available shortly.

PPI4Waste is a three-year Horizon 2020 project involving eight partners and explores how innovative public procurement can be a key instrument in galvanising the market in order to foster sustainability, preserving and recycle material resources.

For more information, visit the PPI4Waste website.

The state as a role model for sustainable consumption

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In an article published this week, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter underlines the important role public procurement plays in a transition towards a more sustainable society.

The German politician points to the fact that public procurement accounts for about 11 per cent of German GDP - showing that it can be used as a powerful instrument to implement sustainable consumption. The public sector can provide incentives for market players to focus more on sustainability and to support the market of green products.

Ambitious sustainable public procurement (SPP) policies pave the way for public authorities to purchase more sustainably – yet the social dimension of implementing change is key as well. ‘Employees have to be made aware of the changes in their work routine that will follow sustainable procurement decisions’, says Ms. Schwarzelühr-Sutter.

Behavior and organisational change are also key topics at this year’s EcoProcura Conference (3 – 5 October, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

To read the full article by Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter click here.