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Towards circular public procurement: let’s learn together

16 October 2018

It is tricky to transform the enthusiasm about a sustainable concept such as the circular economy into governmental regulation and legislation, finds a new article by Jo-Anne St. Godard. Institutional inertia and administrative fragmentation do not necessarily blow new wind for the sail.

From a Canadian perspective, the article highlights that the structural and sectoral fragmentation in public bodies increases the lack of awareness on topics that need non-siloed thinking to realize a transition to the circular economy.

The article emphasizes that an approach to the rescue would be to learn from other existing cases, especially from the European examples. Organisations such as ICLEI provide knowledge transfer, capacity building through collaboration, and guidance that can help implement new paradigms such as Circular Public Procurement (CPP). In 2017, a guiding report was published - read it here.

Despite being a powerful tool in and of itself, integrative institutional structures and regulations need to enable CPP. Policymakers, therefore, must provide suitable conditions for circular procurement to expand.

To learn more about the work of ICLEI click here and to read the full article click here.

 

Helsinki region cities set joint criteria for 'greener' heavy vehicles

10 October 2018

Public authorities in the Helsinki region have joined forces to set joint tender criteria for greener heavy vehicles. In an interview the Procurement Manager at Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), Kristiina Bailey, said that heavy vehicles are responsible for carbon emissions and other air pollution, and are therefore an important area of focus to meet the region's CO2 reduction and other emission targets.

Air quality is an increasingly pressing issue in many European cities, with cities frequently failing to meet EU air quality targets. To tackle this issue, an initiative has been formed by the Urban Environment Division of Helsinki City, Helsinki City Construction Services Stara, Helsinki City Transport, Helen Ltd (energy), City of EspooCity of Vantaa and HSY to define joint tender criteria for heavy vehicles.

Joint tender criteria offer a range of benefits. According to Ms Bailey, contractors feel more confident in improving their fleet and machinery accordingly, since multiple public bodies are implementing the same criteria. And, says Ms Bailey, “the initiative has shown us that cooperation between different public procurers, contractors and other organisations is possible!”

Read the full interview in the latest GPP News Alert

Procuring sustainable timber to combat deforestation

9 October 2018

Only  30% of tropical timber products in the EU market are sustainable - this is one of the key findings of a recent report commissioned  and  co-authored by  IDH - the Sustainable Trade Initiative and forest and timber  experts. The report identifies trends in the trade of tropical timber on the European market, and explores how a European commitment to 100% verified   sustainable tropical timber, can contribute to deforestation-free supply chains and help meet climate change mitigation targets.

It also highlights the successes of Sustainable Timber Procurement Policies (STPPs) which have been implemented in 19 EU countries. However, for these policies to affect the market they need to be backed by strong political commitment and enforcement. Certification is mentioned as "a key component for an effective strategy to combat imported deforestation" and it can also support public procurers in defining criteria for their timber products. Procurers need be able to verify whether timber actually meets their procurement policies, a need to which certification schemes can respond.

"If the seven main consuming countries would source onlyverified sustainable primary tropical timberproducts, itwould have a positive impact on approximately 5.3 million ha of tropical forests", concludes the report.

Click here to access the full report.

Become a change agent in sustainable procurement

4 October 2018

Doing things differently - EcoProcura 2018 dares its participants to implement behaviour change in their own organisations. Recognizing Sustainable Procurement (SPP) as a strategic tool to achieve sustainability goals is just the first step. Often it is the people in the organisation that need to be on board to implement change.

Procurers can be change agents within their own organisations and empower their peers to take bold steps, says Dr. Jolien Grandia from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. A strong mission statement combined with ambitious and clear targets is crucial when implementing sustainable and innovative procurement, agree the speakers of the second day of the conference.

Change can also be achieved by finding simple solutions to complex problems - this is Reyes Tirado’s message from Greenpeace. Procurers have direct influence on the food supply in public organisations and reducing animal based products benefits both the environment and public health.

A more radical approach to behavioural change was proposed by Tilman Reinhardt suggesting that governments today already have a legal obligation to implement sustainable procurement. This is an option for strategic litigation in case public procurement does in fact not include certain sustainability criteria - holding public authorities accountable and creating jurisprudence.

For more information about the programme, latest updates, and the speakers at this year EcoProcura conference, click here.

 

 

 

Bertrand Piccard challenges procurers to buy better

3 October 2018

This year’s Ecoprocura conference in Nijmegen is exploring how governments can step up the game and do more to implement the solutions that are already available to environmental and social problems.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the Solar Impulse - the solar airplane which flew around the world - kicked off the day with a powerful call to action. We are living with past technologies - combustion engines, badly insulated homes, incandescent bulbs. But “the challenge is not technology, it’s psychology” - procurers need to change mindsets and become change makers!  

Dr. Piccard was followed by a number of speakers, from cities such as Nijmegen, Ghent, Barcelona, as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, who shared stories of their own bold actions to encourage greater sustainability and innovation through procurement. A range of actionable insights in specific sectors was also discussed through a range of breakout sessions.

For more on the EcoProcura conference, visit the conference news corner here.