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 public authorities interested in the work and outcome of the initiative to form an observer group.

The members will have access to webinars, data sharing platforms with working material developed by the participating cities and first hand information on the outcome of the three established working groups.

 If you are interested in becoming  a member of the Big Buyers observer group, or want to find out more, please contact us, using the contact details shown in the right-hand column.

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
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Electric vehicles

The group is looking at heavy-duty electric vehicles, including waste trucks and street cleaning equipment.

The three main actions the group is woking on:

  • 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 members of the working group are currently establishing contacts with suppliers of clean heavy duty vehicles. A market dialogue meeting was held on 5 of March in Freiburg together with a working group meeting. Further market dialogue meetings (online) are planned as well as a physical market dialogue event in Sweden with Volvo after summer. Primary outcome from the group are future demands/procurement plans.











Circular construction materials

This group is focused on promoting the use of circular construction materials through public procurement. 

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;
  • A subgroup in the working group should work towards recommendations for higher level EU policy makers.

An online meeting was held in place of the planned meeting in Helsinki on 24 March on procurement approaches for new buildings, and demolition processes. Further on it is planned to organize an (online) event to stimulate a market for secondary construction materials. Outputs likely to include a set of recommendations for cities to promote circular construction.


On Monday 25 of May interested cities could follow a webinar on the progress made in the three working groups of the Big Buyers Initiative. After a general overview on the work of the BBI speakers from the cities of Oslo, Rotterdam and Vienna presented their findings.

The presentation from the speakers can be found here:

Presentation Big Buyers Initiative

Rotterdam Electric Vehicles

Oslo Zero Emission Construction Sites

Vienna Circular Construction Materials

Zero emission construction sites

The members of this group are setting joint demands for zero-emission construction sites on an EU scale and aiming to increase the implementation rate of pilot procurements 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

Web meeting was held on 24 of March as replacement for cancelled Helsinki meeting with a focus on the business case for zero emission construction sites. Next meeting likely to be in May on contract management and benchmarking. Final output planned will include: a pitch sheet to promote the approach within city administrations, a market engagement toolkit, and a schedule of future procurements/pilots.