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European cities engage the market to realise zero-emission and healthy construction procurement

10 October 2019

Cities from across Europe met yesterday in Copenhagen to inform market actors in the construction supply chain of their targets and plans clean and healthy construction. Representatives from Procura+ Participants Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Budapest and Brussels Environment as well as Lisbon, Amsterdam and Trondheim all discussed procurement ambitions for zero-emission construction sites and sustainable building materials in their cities.

Circular construction materials are a key area of interest for innovative local governments. Building material is a major emitter of CO2, meanwhile cities can improve the way construction materials are kept in the loop within their own cities. A main question for these cities is how to develop circular ideas into actual procurements.

Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs at the City of Copenhagen, opened the event by stating that "We need everyone on board to make clean construction work.  We are here to explore what are reasonable and achievable demands. How do we help the market to help us to make a more sustainable construction sector? Meeting with others is always the first step to a better future."

A series of panels further set the scene for the 90 participants in the room, who included machinery manufacturers, materials suppliers, construction contractors and architects from across Europe. Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director of ICLEI Europe recognising the need for "a critical mass of public authorities implementing sustainable procurement to achieve real progress in greening the market in Europe". Marzena Rogalaska, Director of the European Commission DG Grow, emphasised that "public procurement can play a strong role in clean construction". She went on to call for cities to recognise that they "are leaders of this movement, and Mayors and Ministers need to acknowledge their exemplary role in pushing the market".

The cities highlighted their targets to the market. For example, Copenhagen's CPH2025 Climate Plan includes a goal for the City to use fossil-free fuels in its non-road mobile machinery. Oslo announced its policy for construction sites to be zero-emission by 2025, showing its leadership in sustainable procurement as GLCN city. Amsterdam highlighted its goal for emission-free construction logistics by 2025 and emission-free mobile machinery by 2030. The cities and suppliers were able to discuss challenges and solutions for meeting these targets in an open dialogue session.

ICLEI, Climate KIC, C40 and Innovation Norway organised the event under the European Commission Big Buyers Initiative, in cooperation with the C40 Mayor's Summit. Next steps for the cities under the Big Buyers Initiative is to work together on developing procurement criteria and approaches that accelerate all stakeholders towards achieving the objectives.