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Stakeholders to contribute to GPP criteria documents

25 September 2012

Interested parties are invited to add comments and suggestions to documents preparing the ground for the revision of the Ecolabel criteria and Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria for Textiles. The EU GPP textiles background report is now available for consultation, and comments are accepted until 24 October. Stakeholders are, however, urged to add their comments prior to a working group meeting on 27 September. The revised EU Ecolabel and GPP criteria will be based on the requirements addressed in the EU Ecolabel Regulation 66/2010 and Communication COM(2008) 400 "Public Procurement for a better Environment".

A second stakeholders meeting on the revision of the GPP criteria for Windows and External Doors will take place on 25 October in Brussels (Belgium). The meeting will focus on the presentation and discussion of the GPP criteria that have been revised on the basis of scientific research and previous stakeholder feedback. This is the last meeting for this product group before finalising the revised GPP criteria. Presentations and slides for the meeting are available online.

At present there is criteria for 18 product groups on the European Commission's Environment GPP webpage. These regularly updated criteria provide examples of subject matter, technical specifications, award criteria and contract performance clauses that may be used by public authorities across Europe to enhance GPP. Product groups include such diverse topics as transport, food & catering, cleaning products, services and electricity. The GPP helpdesk, which can be contacted at gpp-helpdesk@iclei.org, welcomes enquiries in English, French, Spanish or German.

For more information, click here.

EcoProcura conference demonstrates power of public procurement to shape the market

25 September 2012

The EcoProcura conference in Malmö (Sweden) demonstrated the growing consensus that public authorities have both the power and responsibility to create a market for sustainable products and services. Spending €2 trillion (or 19 percent of GDP) each year on goods and services, the public sector is the biggest single buyer on the European market, representing tremendous potential to push environmental, social and innovative solutions. The European Commission outlined its aim to simplify and modernise procurement laws to help local, regional and national governments stimulate innovation and achieve their sustainable development goals.

Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: “Public procurement of sustainable and innovative goods and services is one of the essential tools for stimulating new technological or service solutions while helping to create jobs and boosting the competitiveness of the European industry and SMEs. It also encourages more efficient public services“. The Commission announced further funding for networks of public authorities to buy innovative solutions. This will complement existing initiatives such as the SCI-Network on sustainable construction and innovation.

The outcomes of the conference will be built upon and inform policy processes. This will be achieved through the Procura+ Campaign, a movement of public authorities at the forefront of sustainable procurement in Europe. The EcoProcura conference 2012 brought together about 250 purchasers and policy makers from all levels of government, suppliers, representatives from the European Commission and NGOs to explore pathways to achieving real sustainability in public procurement. The Mayor of host city Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, spoke for all delegates in announcing, “Our challenge is to make sure that every euro we spend can maximise social benefits, reduce environmental impact and contribute to sustainable economic development.”

For more information, click here.

Public procurement essential to development of electric car industry in Europe

20 September 2012

An International Energy Agency expert has opined that government procurement practices, as well as political and financial aid, will play a crucial role in the successful development of the electric car industry in Europe over the next ten years. Expert Tali Trigg also spoke of the need for a mixture of government subsidies for both manufacturers and citizens, and the importance of public education to ensure electric vehicles are embraced.

Speaking to EurActiv, Trigg highlighted the need for improved infrastructure and incentives to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles. “You can have special [electric car] lanes, access to municipal parking spots, and parking or zoning ordnances demanding that you install electric vehicle charging stations. This has already happened in Stockholm and Geneva” he said. The highest density of public electric charging stations is currently in the City of Amsterdam (Netherlands), which plans to have 500 electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

The comments came as the European Commission issued a transport and technology communication urging Member States to embrace alternative mobility ideas. The communication concludes that “the potential for innovation through public procurement is currently under-exploited in the EU”, citing that the EU states currently purchase around 110,000 passenger cars, 110,000 light duty vehicles, 35,000 heavy duty vehicles, and 17,000 buses.

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New EU funding opportunities available for cross-border pre-commercial procurement projects

18 September 2012

Under the information and communication technologies (ICT) aspect of the EU seventh framework programme for Research and Development, new calls for proposals have been opened, enabling consortia of public procurers to apply for EU co-financing for cross-border pre-commercial procurement (PCP) projects.

Three PCP related calls are available for 2013, including an open call for joint PCPs addressing any area of public interest (including coordination and support actions for PCP grants). Proposals for joint PCPs can relate to, for example, public sector needs for new ICT solutions in healthcare, inclusion, e-government, transport, energy efficiency, environment, security, education, and so on.

The FP7-ICT-2013 work programme provides in total 32.5 million Euro of co-financing for joint cross-border PCP projects, spread across several areas of public interest such as health care, active ageing, cloud computing for public sector needs, digital preservation, and technology enhanced learning.

For more information, click here.

LANDMARK Multimedia Exhibition stops at EcoProcura before hitting the road

13 September 2012

EcoProcura 2012 will see the launch of the LANDMARK Multimedia Exhibition on how social responsibility can be achieved within public sector supply chains. Taking place on 19 September, the exhibition will feature recorded interviews and animations, along with an interactive exhibit that invites visitors to explore issues and solutions surrounding the procurement of various high-risk product groups such as food and textiles.

The Multimedia Exhibition will examine how social responsibility can actually be achieved within public sector supply chains, with a particular focus on verification of supplier compliance. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the latest multimedia and web technologies for procurement (along with a glass of prosecco). After the conference the exhibition will tour Europe, taking in Spain, Portugal, Germany and many other countries.

The exhibition is part of the LANDMARK project, which aims to change local authority consumption habits and enable them to act as key drivers for the promotion of fair working conditions in global supply chains. The project helps local authorities purchase fairly produced products, and in this way drive improvement in the working conditions of workers in Asia and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, click here.

British company achieves gold rating from world's first sustainable procurement standard

12 September 2012

Interserve, the international support services and construction group, have been awarded gold by the British Standard for Sustainable Procurement. The sustainable procurement team received an overall classification described as "approaching cutting edge". Guy Bruce, Managing Director of supply and operations said that procurement is “embedded in the company's strategic behaviour” and that Interserve “will be using this accreditation as a tool to benefit and enhance performance on an ongoing basis”.

Dr Brian Farrington, a leading authority on Purchasing Supply Chain & Sustainable Procurement, led the independent review. Commenting on the company, Dr. Farrington said, "From recruitment and training through to process, supplier engagement and results measurement, it is clear that there is an excellent base of knowledge and skills that will continue to be applied on a wider scale."

The British Standard, titled BS 8903:2010 is the world’s first standard for sustainable procurement. The standard provides guidance to organisations on adopting and embedding sustainable procurement principles and practices, and covers all stages of the procurement process including supplier audits, carbon measurement and life cycle assessment.

For more information, click here.

Sustainable Timber Action video now available online

10 September 2012

An excellent new video details the work and objectives of the Sustainable Timber Action project through interviews, statistics and narration. The high-production value video explains the challenges faced in achieving legal and sustainable forestry and details the effects of illegal timber. The video looks at timber from a holistic perspective, discussing the impact on the environment, economics and labour conditions. An overview of the current state of play of sustainable timber procurement at the local level is also given.

The role of certified labels in helping procurers ensure they purchase only sustainably produced timber is outlined in the video. Challenges raised by non-sustainable and illegal logging include a reduction in income for the local area, a loss of tax revenue and, in some cases, the use of illegal forestry revenue to fund armed conflicts. Environmentally, deforestation accounts for 20 percent of global CO2 emissions and illegal forestry destroys five million hectares of forests each year.

Diego Florin, the Secretary General of FSC Italy, Carmen Rebello Sanchez of the City of Madrid and Simon Clement of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability are interviewed in the video. Mr. Clement describes the project as “designed to help public authorities understand the impact that their consumption practices can have and to give practical guidance.”

To view the video, click here.

Swiss Government offers Ghana $2.7 million to introduce sustainable principles in procurement

7 September 2012

The Swiss government has offered a 2.7 million dollar grant to Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority to help them introduce the principles of sustainability into their procurement processes. The Sustainable Public Procurement program will last for three years and involve key stakeholders from a variety of key groups.

As part of the project a pilot e-procurement system will be implemented in a number of government organisations. This system is aimed to increase interdepartmental communication, facilitate increased competition between private sector firms for public contracts and enhance procurement transparency as a means to prevent corruption.

Ghana's Minister for Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, is also encouraging the country's PPA to achieve greater value for money in its procurement practices, through the development of revised procurement strategies. The Minister stated that improving public procurement and increasing procurement transparency can contribute to greater socio-economic development in the country.

For more information, click here.

Cornwall Council moves from “sustainable” to “responsible” procurement

6 September 2012

Cornwall Council (United Kingdom) has made the decision to move from “sustainable procurement” to “responsible procurement”, in an effort to prevent confusion among potential suppliers. The move comes after the council introduced new agendas to consider in procurement, including equality and diversity and safeguarding vulnerable adults and children, which caused some puzzlement when classed under "sustainable".

“Responsible procurement”, states the Council, means pioneering socially, environmentally and economically responsible procurement to deliver improved quality of life and better value for money for people and businesses. The move towards “responsible” rather than “sustainable” procurement will occur over the next 12 months.

Initially the Council will focus on five Responsible Procurement work streams; Environmental Sustainability & Carbon Management, Equality and Diversity, Safeguarding, Ethical Sourcing and SME Engagement. The change aims to make the Council more coordinated and consequently more efficient in their procurement approach. The Council has a new 'Responsible Procurement Policy' to reflect the changes underway.

For more information, click here.

Guide explains supply chain disclosure requirements for electronic products packaging

6 September 2012

A guide has been released outlining the supply chain data needed by manufacturers and suppliers to comply with regulations for substances used in the packaging of electronic products for distribution. Developed by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), DigitalEurope and the Japanese Green Procurement Survey Standardization Initiative (JGPSSI), the guide aims to help manufacturers and suppliers meet their data obligations, meet design specifications, and reach sustainability goals and other objectives.

The report, titled “The Joint Industry Guide – Material Composition Declaration for Packaging of Electrotechnical Products – JIG-201 Ed. 1.1”, sets minimum requirements for material declaration for electrotechnical products, including a list of relevant substances and their reporting thresholds and reportable applications.

The guide contains the most up-to-date regulatory and market requirements, and also covers the latest substances considered under the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulation. The guide is free to download.

For more information, click here.