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Tokyo Trash Bar: designed to make people think as they drink

29 March 2019

Welcome to the Gomi-Pit bar. Based at Musashino Clean Center, a waste treatment facility located in the City of Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis (Japan), this is a place where you can taste local delicacies —  beer and cocktails made using honey-soaked mushrooms or locally harvested vegetables — while taking in the sight of waste being sorted and prepared for incineration.

Combining entertainment and education

It’s a process that resembles an elaborate dance, with cranes dumping, crushing and eventually burning trash to transform the waste into ash used for cement and tiles. Through this strange experience, the waste management facility aims to entertain, while raising awareness and creating a community around conscious consumption.   

“It’s surprising how much garbage is thrown away just in Musashino… It makes me think I need to do more to reduce trash at home” said local nursery school teacher Miki Takara.

In 2017, the Clean Center burned some 2.81 million tons of waste. Having resolved to make a dent in the amount of waste the city of Musashino produces, a large proportion of waste, with the exception of cans, glass and plastic bottles, is since collected for a fee. Like other areas of Japan, residents and firms in the city must also purchase special bags in which they dispose of garbage to have it collected.

Connecting the world to their waste

In an industry where strong NIMBYism (Not in My Back Yard) sentiment has reigned whereby waste and heavy industry have faced strong opposition in local residential areas, it is symbolic that people agreed to the Clean Center being located right in town. Due in part to its social value and transparency, in the years since its opening in 2017, some 23,000 people visited the plant, and were shocked at what they saw:

“That garbage must be piled up somewhere, which means that for them it’s a kind of negative legacy from our generation” said Ayana Seki, an official with the local environmental department.

Witnessing the intricacies of the waste separation process incites empathy: “if we throw something away mistakenly, it may not get collected,” Ryota Kishii, an employee whose business has take up strict regulation, said. “When you watch how the garbage is processed, you get a better awareness of how waste is divided up, and watching those who work there makes you realize that you cause them trouble” if you incorrectly dispose of waste.       

Scaling up

Former adviser to the Environment Ministry of Japan Suzuki said that Musashino, which has already proven successful in engaging the public about the issue of waste management, could serve as a model for other waste disposal site operators. He also emphasised the importance of reaching out to the public through more frequently visited places such as medical institutions and schools.

Musashino may be a niche example, but underlines the importance of a holistic way of thinking, honesty and transparency that call into question our legacy, educate the population and include the next generation.

See more here and here.

Procura+ Awards: Deadline Extended and Jury Announced

29 March 2019

The deadline for applications to the 2019 Procura+ Awards has been extended until 30 April 2019 in all three award categories - Sustainable Procurement, Innovation Procurement and Procurement Initiative of the Year.

Hosted by Procura+ network coordinators ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability in cooperation with the Procure2Innovate project, the competition rewards sustainable and innovative public procurements leading to significant improvements of public good, services, process and infrastructure.

A high-level jury will include Procura+ Network chair and Mayor of Malmö Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Director in the European Commission's DG GROW Marzena Rogalska, Head of the OECD's Public Sector Integrity Division, Janos Bertok and Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, Mark Hidson.

Last year's Procura+ Awards saw the Government of Flanders (Belgium), the City of Rotterdam (Netherlands), and the City of Barcelona win awards for Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Tender Procedure of the Year, respectively.

“To apply for the Procura+ Award means to have successful, sustainable and innovative public procurement activities in place that generate improvements in public goods, services, processes and infrastructure. By applying for the award, you start sharing your positive experience with other authorities that can benefit from them and contribute to this global exchange” - said Frederic Ximeno, Commissioner for Ecology for the City of Barcelona.

“Your case doesn’t have to be world changing or sustainable to the last detail, as long as you can make a difference that matters. A smart case that is as sustainable as possible considering the context of the market, your needs, your budget, your capacity and the level of innovation that you wish to achieve, goes a long way. Don’t hesitate and apply,” - added Alexander Lemmens from Procurement team of the Government of Flanders.

For more information and to apply, visit the Procura+ Awards page.

How three leading European cities are reducing the carbon footprint of their procurement activities

28 March 2019

Oslo, Rotterdam and Copenhagen are showing how cooperation with private sector actors is essential to reduce the carbon footprint of their transport-related procurement activities.

The cities are pilot sites in ICLEI's BuyZET project, which will help them develop innovative procurement plans to achieve zero-emission urban delivery of goods and services.

In the recently released market engagement reports, the cities lay out the key findings from the constant dialogue they have conducted with all relevant market actors in the supply chains of the selected procurement areas. These provide helpful advice to other cities that are willing to reduce emissions of public procurement activities. The market engagement reports are available here.

The city of Rotterdam, Procura+ Participant and GLCN Member, highlights how suppliers are open to learn more about the existing possibilities for zero-emission vehicles, and about the latest technology developments. At the same time, local authorities should consider carefully the practical barriers and the costs that suppliers may face in adopting zero-emission vehicles.

According to the city of Copenhagen, suppliers’ benefits to employ zero- or low-emission vehicles for their transport activities is two-fold: on one hand, they contribute to their sustainability and CSR strategies; on the other hand, they are more efficient. Within BuyZET, Copenhagen is working in the fields of consolidation of supplies and maintenance and repair services.

One key message put forward by the city of Oslo, Procura+ Participant and GLCN Member, which is focussing on facility waste collection and maintenance and repair services, is that it is preferable to encourage investments in zero-emission vehicles during rather than before the contract. Longer contracts, Oslo has learned, are also a way to reduce the risks that suppliers face when investing in zero-emission vehicles.

The cities have also investigated the potential and feasibility of buyers’ groups within each priority sector to foster the demand for innovative transport solutions. Through the buyers’ group, BuyZET partners aim to attract other public authorities potentially interested in enhancing their public procurement skills for sustainable transport solutions, as well as private buyers and other large attractors such as universities, hospitals, etc. This consolidated report presents the approach taken by Oslo, Copenhagen and Rotterdam in establishing buyers groups within the BuyZET project.

BuyZET will host a final event to share and discuss the tools and recommendations developed. Find out more here.

To read all reports, please click here.

UNEA resolution highlights the importance of sustainable and circular procurement

26 March 2019

At the UNEA conference in Nairobi, Kenia, national and city governments met to discuss how to build sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies that address key environmental challenges with innovative solutions and rely on responsible patterns of consumption and production.  

One of the main negotiation outputs of the conference are resolutions. An example is the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) UNEA 4 resolution, which highlights the need to support sustainable procurement policies.

Key extracts:

Encourages all Member States as well as cities and local communities and relevant stakeholders, including manufacturers and retailers, to enhance their collaboration to enable consumers and public authorities to make informed choices.

Invites all Member States, in order to work towards achieving sustainable consumption and production, to develop sustainable public procurement policies and update their public procurement legal frameworks in line with the Sustainable Development Goal target 12.7 commitment.

Encourages Member States to promote public, private and public-private initiatives and alliances to stimulate demand for sustainable products.

This high-level support encourages starting on, continuing or advancing sustainable procurement measures. For this, ICLEI provides guidance for every step of the way. Check out ICLEI's Resource Centre, our Tools & Guidance page, as well as the case study page. If you are keen to connect with other ambitious public authorities in Europe, consider joining the Procura+ Network.

See the full resolution here.

GLCN Cities call for sustainable procurement at UN Environment Assembly

22 March 2019

The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) is the highest level global decision making body on issues related to environment held every two years since 2013. 

At the 4th Session of UNEA to be held in Nairobi this week, national governments are negotiating a set of resolutions aiming at building sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies that address key environmental challenges with innovative solutions and rely on responsible patterns of consumption and production.

During the UNEA Cities conference on March 13, ICLEI hosted a session on integrated planning and policies for circular transitions. Convening cities, national government representatives and business, the session explored how circular urban systems that achieve both social and ecological benefits can be promoted through nature-based solutions, public procurement and technologies.

GLCN member city Oslo (Norway) was among the ICLEI delegation to UNEA. The City of Oslo highlighted the importance that ICLEI’s work and the GLCN network has had for advancing the City’s sustainable procurement practices and leverage the power of procurement to achieve sustainability outcomes.

Learn more about ICLEI’s call for circular development here.

 

Circular secrets from one of the world’s most sustainable cities, Copenhagen.

22 March 2019

Copenhagen plans to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025. But though seen to be so "green”, as a country Denmark happens to be first in Europe for producing household waste, with an increase in municipal waste in the last decade. In the face of ever more ambitious European legislation to reduce waste, what progress has the city made?


Ambitious aims

With a purchasing power of €1.5bn each year, the city of Copenhagen is part of Danish national and European wide initiatives on Sustainable public procurement. The Danish “Forum for Sustainable Procurement” and “Partnership on Green Public Procurement” promote a circular production and consumption paradigm, aligning with the UN Global Compact, OECD guidelines and SDGs. Not least Objective 12: responsible consumption and production to achieve CO₂ neutral status by 2025, but also zero waste status by 2050. On a European scale, the city is a participant in the European Procura+ Network for Sustainable Procurement. All under the umbrella of co-creating a liveable city.


Waste as a resource

Since the 90s, the gradual development of a comprehensive Danish regulatory framework for waste handling has reframed waste to harness its potential as a resource. Increased international involvement, especially from the EU have helped achieve high recycling rates and minimise landfill, mainly by increasing separation of household organic waste, now at 72%, to be turned into biogas or fertiliser. Repair cafes and Fablabs also offer a way to reuse goods.


The building and construction industry, which makes up 35% waste overall and over one third of the city’s CO2 emissions, has some of the largest circular economy potential. Solutions include (an open platform for) reusing materials in building, recycled roofing to make roads (the “roof to road” project) and other materials recycling stations, with obligatory waste handling plans before any construction project commences. Meanwhile designing for disassembly creates highly flexible buildings that are faster to construct and optimise operation and maintenance.


Regulation and communication

The city of Copenhagen wants to put its purchasing power to good use. To encourage circular procurement, considerations of total cost of ownership including disposal and potential future use ensure more resource-efficient products and financial savings in the long run. Within regulation, including the EU directives on public procurement criteria promoting efficiency of use also exist, for instance suggesting that the procurer ask how the supplier promotes the reuse of devices (e.g. for ICT). In addition, a requirement that guidance will be given on the efficient usage and disposal of goods is suggested for many product groups. To ensure close cooperation between the person responsible for the procurement and an employee with environmental expertise during the tendering process, an environmental expert is a compulsory member of any working group in the city of Copenhagen.


Public-private Partnerships

Digitising purchasing processes and using e-commerce to improve efficiency, transparency and collaboration are key. Alongside partnerships with other municipalities, important public-private partnerships have included packaging deposit-return schemes - at Tivoli theme park - set to spread to events across the city. 30 different partnerships since 2014 have secured new data on air pollution, traffic patterns and waste, for instance. Copenhagen Solutions Lab for instance, with Cisco, is a live test area for various types of smart city solutions, serving to share data and drive further innovation.


Progress is promising. But change needs to happen fast if the city of Copenhagen wants to be not only a CO2 reduction but also a zero waste champion.

A Conference that discusses Public Procurement of Tomorrow

19 March 2019

The European Commission – The Directorate General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is inviting interested stakeholders to the high level conference “Seizing opportunities in the public procurement of tomorrow”, which will be held in cooperation with Romanian Presidency on 4th April 2019 in Bucharest at the Parliament House.

The conference is an occasion to take stock of the main work strands developed in the field of public procurement over the past five years since the adoption of the 2014 Public Procurement Directives. It will review the achievements in improving public procurement practices, including the progress made on the six priorities of the Public Procurement Package of October 2017, among which “Ensuring wider uptake of innovative, green, and social procurement”.  The conference will be opened by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Eugen Teodorovici, Romanian Minister of Finance.

Among the high level speakers, the Chair of the Procura+ Network Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö will represent the network and reflect on its role in delivering on policy objectives such as the EU Public Procurement Package. Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre and Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe Mark Hidson will discuss how procurers across Europe are implementing procurement processes to achieve ambitious goals. In addition, the 2018 Procura+ Award winners will present their winning procurements and reflect on what winning the Award has meant for their procurement practice.

Learn more about the event here.

Product Stewardship to rethink recycling of e-waste

14 March 2019

The United Nations have called it a tsunami. Others have highlighted its value, which exceeds the annual GDP of over 120 countries. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals were even made from it. Now at 50 million tonnes each year, left unchecked this ever growing pile of global e-waste could more than double to 120 million tonnes by 2050.


One man’s trash; another man’s treasure                   

Whilst there is great value to be obtained from e-waste, not to mention substantially lower CO2 emissions from mining raw materials/ rare minerals, currently only 20% is recycled. The cost and knowhow remain a challenge.


The solution to pollution: collaboration

A circular economy for electronics could reduce the costs for consumers by 7% by 2030 and 14% by 2040 (Ellen MacArthur). As always, collaboration is key, which is why researchers and SDU life-cycle centre in Denmark are building a knowledge platform for the circular economy and the management of end-of-life electrical and electronics products called the E-circle network. All interested parties will be able to obtain help and inspiration about recycling and reusing electronic devices, from “manufacturers’ drawings and data about the materials to companies that buy up discarded electrical goods to take them apart for recycling who could be informed what materials were valuable,” The platform will also enable designers and manufacturers to learn how they could change their designs to make them more recyclable when they no longer work.


Rethink recycling: product stewardship

In addition to shared knowledge and increased transparency, assigning responsibility to producers is key. China State Council has established the Producer Responsibility Extension System Implementation Program ("PRE Program") which sets ambitious targets including sourcing 20% of materials for new electronic products from recycled content and recycling 50% of all e-waste by 2025, moving towards a circular e-economy.

Such stewardships systems mean goods producers are given responsibility for the end life of the product. Australia, for example, currently operates under a mandatory product stewardship scheme and electronics businesses must contribute to recycling infrastructure to ensure that 90% of all e-waste is recycled. Victoria announced a $16.5m scheme to develop 130 electronic waste collection sites, ahead of a ban on e-waste in landfill in 2018. The funding includes $1.5m for a consumer education program to reduce e-waste or avoid it altogether.

With such schemes, 2019 could and should cause a shift to realise their potential.    

NGOs as co-drivers for GPP up-take across Europe

13 March 2019

The 2nd Annual Network meeting of the European NGO Network on GPP, coordinated by ICLEI Europe, took place in Lisbon, 13th February 2019, hosted by Quercus – National Association of Nature Conservatory. Seventeen NGOs from across Europe gathered to exchange on the topic of GPP.

The discussions during the meeting were based on the first-hand experiences made through the delivery of GPP activities by all NGOs. These activities took place over the course of 2018 and early 2019, aiming to advance GPP uptake in their local context. The activities ranged from workshops, specific training, and research surveys to roundtable discussions.

Key themes throughout the full-day event were what role NGOs can and should play in the uptake of GPP in public procurement, how to establish wider network ties or more focused ones, the opportunity for NGOs to support the new EC GPP Criteria and the impact created through delivered activities.

The event was facilitated by Peter Defranceschi (ICLEI Europe), Nuno Prata (City of Lisbon), Jean-Pierre Schweizer (EEB) and Abby Semple (Public Procurement Analysis) enriched the meeting through keynote presentations. In addition, the emphasis was placed on GPP in food procurement with three NGOs (ECODES, Legambiente, Mondo) recapping on their activities.

A clear outcome of the meeting was that the NGOs significantly benefited from being part of such a European Network and at the same time contribute through their expertise, diversity and motivation to a broader uptake of GPP across Europe.

Meet the Buyer Event Barcelona: advancing social responsiblity in ICT

13 March 2019

The Make ICT Fair Market Engagement Series continued with a Meet the Buyer event in Barcelona, 27th February at Pati Manning. The half-day event draw in over 30 participants ranging from ICT suppliers and resellers such as Telefonica or Saytel, NGO representatives and public procurers. Back-to-back with the Mobile Social Congress, the event enabled the discussion around social responsibility in the ICT supply-chain starting at the mining stage.

Procura+ Participant, Barcelona City Council kicked-of the event by introducing the audience to the overarching vision and purpose behind leveraging public procurement to increase the engagement with the topic. Namely, to address poor working conditions and human right violations in this global, complex supply-chain.

A presentation by Electronics Watch built on the introduction by providing further context as in show casing successful examples where socially responsible procurement made a lasting impact on the welfare of workers. However, the focus of the event was the exchange between suppliers/resellers and the public authorities. This was facilitated for example by an introductory presentation of HPs social responsibility policies, a panel discussion and open floor Q&A.

I was pleasantly surprised at the interest shown by the suppliers and companies. It shows that it really is a topical issue. It is a good time to move forward.” – Carla Canal, Project manager Policy Coherence for Development, Direction of Global Justice and International Cooperation, Barcelona City Council

Looking ahead, the next Meet the Buyer event, will focus on an upcoming tender on workplace hardware of Gemeente Haarlem – 15th April 2019, register here to secure a place.