What is the Big Buyers Initiative?

The Big Buyers is a European Commission Initiative for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement.

Public procurement can be a key tool in driving the development of innovative goods and services on the European market. By working together, and pooling their resources, cities, central purchasing bodies, and other major public procurers can maximise their market power and impact. The initiative presents a compelling opportunity to engage with other public authorities across Europe and to shape new innovative solutions to your procurement needs.

ICLEI and EUROCITIES are currently running the initiative on behalf of the European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The initiative aims to work together with existing networks and organisations active in this area.



Getting involved

We are looking for ambitious and committed public authorities willing to work together to develop pioneering approaches to procurement, and develop strategic joint actions to help move the market.

We are setting up working groups of at least 3-7 public authorities who want to collaborate on a specific procurement sector, and try to move the market together.

Activities could include, for example, developing joint statements of demand, organising market engagement activities, developing technical specifications/ tender criteria, collecting and sharing best practice, even joint procurement- the targeted outcomes for each group will be determined by the buyers involved.

Contact us

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Simon Clement
+49 761 368 9244


Anja De Cunto

+32 2 552 0867

Support provided

ICLEI and EUROCITIES will provide:

  • Logistical support to run the group
  • Reimbursement of travel costs for meetings
  • Organising external expertise as necessary
  • Opportunities for peer-to peer-exchange and training or relevant topics

If you are interested in getting involved, or want to find out more, please contact us, using the contact details shown in the right-hand column.

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Electric vehicles

This group will specifically look at heavy-duty electric vehicles, including waste trucks and street cleaning equipment. The first meeting took place on the 30 of October in Rotterdam. 25 participants from 11 cities/institutions discussed the procurement of (heavy-duty) electric vehicles, in particular for waste collection/street cleaning/ goods delivery.

Three best practice examples were presented by Oslo, Paris and Helsinki. This was followed by an introduction from each of the participating entities presenting its current work, ambitions and challenges related to the procurement of electric vehicles.

 The outcome of the first meeting can be summarized as follows:

 The group is interested in working on three main actions:

  • Creating a platform for collaboration and sharing on technical specification for these types of vehicles, which are unique for the public sector
  • Joint market dialogue and engagement
  • Joint statement of demand

The next meeting of the group will be a BBI Procurement Training in Oslo, Norway on 28&29 November 2019. This will be an event for all three Big Buyers working groups, with cross-cutting capacity building sessions on how to build innovation in procurement.











Circular construction materials

This group will look at developing criteria for promoting the use of circular construction materials in public procurement. A first meeting took place on the 22 of October in Vienna.

Areas for collaboration identified:

  • Share circular construction material criteria;
  • Making the circular business case - Share methodologies and experiences in calculating cost savings by choosing circular materials;
  • Capacity building workshops or webinars;
  • The group will work towards a joint market engagement event;
  • A subgroup in the WG should work towards recommendations for higher level EU policy makers.

The next meeting of the group will be a BBI Procurement Training in Oslo, Norway on 28 & 29 November 2019. This will be an event for all three Big Buyers working groups, with both cross-cuting capacity building sessions on how to build innovation procurement and break-outs specific to each topic.

Zero emission construction sites

The cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Budapest, Brussels Environment, Lisbon and Trondheim are setting joint demands for zero-emissions construction sites on an EU scale and aiming to increase the implementation rate of pilot procurement in this sector. The group will:

Formulate a joint message to the market that buyers will demand zero- emission construction sites, with the first step being non-road mobile machinery

Build the capacity of cities to demand zero-emission construction sites through pilot procurements

Set specific demands though local and European level market dialogue, so that suppliers can meet the pilot procurement requirements

The group first met in Brussels on May 2019 to align ambitions and plan activities. A market dialogue event took place in Copenhagen in October 2019, bringing 90 buyers, suppliers and support organisations from across Europe together to discuss the topic. A workshop in Oslo on 28 and 29 November 2019 will follow up on the market dialogue and focus on developing criteria for pilot procurements. Climate-KIC leads the group, in coordination with ICLEI.