PUBLIC PROCUREMENT NEWS

  

NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 10 from 11 )

Boring no more! Procurement key topic at URBAN FUTURE Conference

30 April 2019

The URBAN FUTURE global conference is dedicated exclusively to CityChangers – decision makers who actively, passionately and effectively make cities more sustainable. In 2019 the  event will be held in Oslo, the European Green Capital 2019, where ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability are proud to be representing the power of green public procurement.

Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre will be speaking in the plenary 'Boring no more: the number 1 tool for cities to initiate change', while Procura+ members including Copenhagen, Rijkswaterstaat, Nantes, and Oslo will share their first hand experiences of the potential of GPP. 

Urban Future believes, that what is most important for solving the urban challenges are the people driving positive change. Join #UFGC19 in Oslo and become part of the CityChangers-movement!

Find the full programme and information on registration here.

Changing the (product-service) system

27 April 2019

“The future is not in low cost production. In making things with finite components. The future is in providing services that then materialise in products, instead of the other way round. Products that are used and reused time and time again.” These are the words of First Vice president of the European Commission Frans Timmerman, at one of the “defining moments” in the development of a circular economy in the EU. While the EU has made progress with Green Public Procurement (GPP), the adoption of circular economy business models has been slow, despite proven performance. But product-service systems (PSS) or product as a service (PaaS) could be key to the transition to a service-based economy and public procurement can play a key role as enabler of this transition.


The ‘performance economy’,

Was developed by Walter Stahel in the 1970s, who insisted on the importance of selling services rather than products. Via his method, “manufacturers can retain greater control over the items they produce and the embodied energy and materials, thus enabling better maintenance, reconditioning and recovery. Customers benefit too, as they only pay for the service they require and use, and often receive a better service as the manufacturer has a greater interest in providing a product that lasts.”


New business models

To ensure circularity will require cooperation of product life-extension, recovery and recycling and product-as-a-service business models. Although not by definition sustainable, by leasing or paying for a service instead of paying for the product outright, customers can pay per use, while ownership and life cycle costs of a product remain with the producer, setting incentives for resource efficiency along the complete life cycle. The energy embedded in the products at production is retained at the highest possible level.


WEEE and PaaS

Incorporating PaaS, e.g. for lighting, into the public procurement framework holds great potential for minimising waste, especially E-waste. Where eco-design and circular economy directive requirements can be costly in terms of collection and regulation for producers, Danish research suggests that Product-as-a-Service and Product Life-Extension are particularly relevant concepts to improve value chain performance, resource efficiency and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive compliance while at the same time offering an attractive commercial potential. They can, at least in part, support ecodesign, WEEE prevention, re-use and help official collection systems to better compete with the unregistered WEEE collection channels.


IoT to maximise efficiency

The company Bundles employs Internet of things (IoT) to turn use of appliances into a service, reusing materials to make new appliances to avoid creating waste. Starting with washing machines, they supply a plug measuring energy use which gives feedback on how to use it more efficiently. “What is actually innovative and really new to this economic model is the way different people, parties and institutes collaborate to deliver a whole different experience to the consumer which much less impact on the future of our planet.” says Marcel Peters, CEO.


Lighting as a service

A collaboration between Philips and Turntoo is a showcase for the pioneering ‘pay-per-lux’ model. Philips created a purpose built minimalist LED light plan that maximised use of a building’s natural sunlight while minimising costs. With a combined sensor and controller system dimming or brightening lighting in response to motion or daylight, the bespoke, intelligent lighting system can supposedly cut energy bills by 30-40%. Furthermore, by moving to a model in which the light provider maintains ownership of the materials, the client benefits from maintenance and service, as well as the option to adapt or upgrade the setup, with the manufacturer able to recover the materials when necessary.


Designing for disassembly

Brummen town hall in The Netherlands was looking for a temporary construction with a consistent use of reusable and renewable high-quality construction materials. “The first building in the world conceptualised as a raw materials depot”, their contractual approach guarantees circularity at the end of the intended use period. Minimal concrete and prefabricated wooden components mean over 90% of the materials can be easily dismantled and reused. Price and sustainability were placed on par during the procurement process.


Considerations and conclusions

Along with a clear vision/ objectives, inserting life cycle costing, extensive dialogue during tendering process and training on performance based (functional) specifications, a  UNEP report, co-authored by ICLEI Local Governements for Sustainability, suggests payment in terms to ensure service performance. PaaS is new, and may need more research, but holds much potential to decouple consumption from economic growth, by meeting needs with lower material and energy requirements.

 

BuyZET project: final conference on zero emission vehicle procurement

26 April 2019

The BuyZET project is glad to announce that the BuyZET final event will take place on 14 May 2019 in Brussels (Belgium). The draft agenda is available here.

In CIVITAS BuyZET, three Procura+ and ICLEI member cities (Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Oslo) are testing new smart procurement approaches to influence the transportation footprint of purchased services, goods and vehicles.

These are concrete actions needed to achieve CO2-free city logistics by 2030, one of the main objectives of the European Commission Transport White Paper of 2011.

The event will be an opportunity to discover and discuss the tools and recommendations developed by BuyZET. In addition, the event will also look at the new rules for the public procurement of clean vehicles in the revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive.

Attendance is free of charge. Register here by Monday 6 May!

Are you a public authority and you would like to attend? Contact the organisers (Giacomo Lozzi, glozzi@polisnetwork.eu), as they might be able to reimburse your travel costs.

Market Engagement: City of Haarlem pioneers socially responsible ICT hardware

25 April 2019

Public procurers meet suppliers and resellers in a dedicated space to discuss an upcoming tender that is ambitious with regards to sustainability criteria. This simple idea of market engagement takes place as a series as part of the Make ICT Fair project. More specifically, the Meet the Buyer format brings together public procurers and suppliers in the field of ICT to discuss upcoming tenders of the pilot authorities that aim to pioneer social responsibility and transparency in supply chains. 

At the recent event in Haarlem, Netherlands, the municipality presented details on a future workplace hardware tender and the respective criteria focussing on social responsibility. In addition, Electronics Watch gave introduction on what is means and how to achieve more transparency and improve worker’s rights across a supply chain. The exchange was stimulated by pitch slams of suppliers such as CHG Meridian, HP and Closing the Loop focussing on their first response to the presented tender format. In addition, the event offered room for discussion in a world café format. Different public authorities were then able to connect to the attending resellers/suppliers. 

Key take aways from the event are that there is significant interest from both procurers and supplier/reseller perspective to advance the social responsibility of ICT products and services. Also, the discussion evolved around applying circularity as the service model to the supply-chain of ICT. 


Looking ahead, Gemeente Haarlem will publish the tender soon and thus add to the pioneers of procuring socially responsible ICT hardware. Learn more about ICLEI's work in the Make ICT Fair project here

 

Stopping Single Use Plastic: Interview with Zero Waste Europe

23 April 2019

Plastic production is rising. With single use bans and consumer boycotts simultaneously spreading, have increased awareness and action made a dent in the industry’s activities? How can we further reduce its use and ensure replacements alternatives are indeed more sustainable? We speak to Zero Waste Europe to hear their opinion.


Reusable revolution

While affordable alternatives to plastic are vital, the priority must remain to reduce packaging overall. A long term solution is needed to determine an EU-wide target for a minimum share of reusable packaging, along with the promotion of refillable, reusable food containers. Tap water can be 900 times more eco friendly than bottled for example, as capitalised upon by Copenhagen’s multiple mapped drinking fountains.

Zero Waste Europe’s Larissa Copello cites deposit return (DRS) and reusable schemes already in place in Germany - Recup and Freiburg cup rolled out across the entire municipality to slash the 12 million empty cups wasted per year, as well as for takeaway food containers such as ReCircle Switzerland. “These are two models we like to promote. In these areas there is no single use plastic ban, only an obligation to reduce. We don’t want to see certain single use items being replaced by others. We want a system change. New alternative business models. Local reuse schemes are going to keep growing in cities.” As part of the UrbanWINS project, the city of Sabadell similarly piloted a rental scheme for tableware. The city purchased tableware for associations and civil society organisations to rent when organising events. This way, the organisations do not need to buy single use items and avoid having to invest themselves.


Alternative materials

Zero Waste Europe have advocated cardboard as well as mycelium, a mushroom-based material, for necessary packaging. Compostable options include mycofoam and mycoboard grown from agricultural waste. But what about bioplastics? Bio-based approaches are associated with complications and greenwashing, including competition of biobased feedstock with the food supply and difficulty of recycling. Composed from renewable feedstocks such as wood, straw, sugar, maize, cassava, algae or biowaste (‘biomass’ as an umbrella term), biobased and compostable materials present a “partial solution”. Used where necessary, bioplastics like PEF, a biopolymer made from plant-based sugars can have preferable properties to PET (polyester used in plastic bottles) and be recycled together with PET, depending on the recycling infrastructure. Some bioplastics can reportedly be broken down by soil particles or don’t use land or water at all. But most still need specific conditions and facilities and time to break down, further complicating recycling, and can leave behind toxic residue, for example oxo-degradable plastics.

That said, bioplastics may can be relevant for specific applications such as organic waste. A household food waste collection system using compostable bags was introduced in Milan, Italy at the same time as a plastic bag ban. This drastically decreased contamination of non-compostable materials, while organic collection rates tripled from 28 to 95 kg per person, creating more compost for farmers. Elsewhere in Italy, reusable nappies have replaced plastic ones in private and public nurseries in Bologna.

 

Alternatives to the alternatives

Economic incentives like taxing virgin plastic and plastic bag fees tackle the source of the problem, says Copello. The European Commission is creating guidance on EPR¹ (extended producer responsibility) to enable producers to produce more sustainably. “Producers should pay more if comprised of composite materials and/or added chemicals, less if fully recyclable, none if reusable.” she suggests.

Such economic instruments a) reward the uptake of recycled plastics and favour reuse and recycling over landfilling or incineration and b) step up and improve separation and collection of plastics waste. Voluntary commitments also encourage the uptake of recycled plastics, however work must be done to ensure demand meets supply, with an expected supply of over 10 million tonnes (the EC aims) exceeding 6 million tonnes in demand by 2021. Public procurement could greatly fuel this by purchasing recycled plastic goods, and encouraging supply chain/ manufacturers and the public via recycled content labels, while sharing best practises for recycling, the OECD states. Meanwhile, Britain plans to tax manufacturers producing less than 30% recycled plastic packaging. And Norway recently adopted a system in which single-use plastic bottles producers pay an “environmental levy” that declines as the return rate for their products rises. The bottles must be easily recyclable, clear or blue in colour, without toxic additives, and water-soluble labels. While well-designed deposit refund schemes (DRS) and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies can recover the costs of waste management. However, voluntary agreements may be more effective than obligatory ecodesign regulation.


Is it enough?

Copello points out several European Commission directive objectives that have unfortunately been weakened, and deadlines postponed. For example, 90% separation of bottles was delayed from 2025 to 2029, enforcement of EPR regulation from 2021 to 2024 and labelling of environmental impact of (plastic filters in) tobacco products to 2023: “the single use plastic directive is a good first step but definitely not enough. Plastic pollution is a multi-dimensional problem. Starting with the most visible items is great… but the directive does not address the production, it addresses only some items.” “To ensure effective use of plastics, they need to be reusable. But instead of reducing, we need to stop producing…” Copello concludes.

 

1 Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Assigning such responsibility may provide incentives to prevent waste at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals. (OECD)

Celebrating Earth Day - what can procurement do?

22 April 2019

22nd April -  Earth Day. First celebrated in 1970, the day is devoted to call for environmental protection, to reflect on the dependence of our social and economical systems to nature and to re-think how daily actions and decisions can help support biodiversity, Greenhouse Gas emission reduction and pollution. 

What can procurement do? The idea is to use public sector procurement or purchasing to protect the environment, also called Green Public Procurement (GPP). It is an approach that harnesses the importance of public sector spending on goods and services as leverage that can be used for reduction of environmental pollution. 
 
More specifically this means to adapt the tender process using for instance the new EU GPP Criteria, which are designed for different sectors such as transport, cleaning products or textiles. Previous cases such as procurement of low carbon vehicles for Procura+ Participant the Government of Catalonia show that using this approach really made a difference with 7166,7 t/CO2 reduction and 2120 (toe) Energy reduction.
 
To learn more about how GPP can enable procurers to safeguard ecosystems and thus really can make a difference consult the Buying Green Handbook, the GPP Criteria list and guidance as well as ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre.

UN calls for urgent rethink as resource use skyrockets

11 April 2019

Rapid growth in extraction of materials is the chief culprit in climate change and biodiversity loss – a challenge that will only worsen unless the world urgently undertakes a systemic reform of resource use, according to a new report, prepared by the International Resource Panel and UN Environment.

Global Resources Outlook 2019 examines the trends in natural resources and their corresponding consumption patterns since the 1970s to support policymakers in strategic decision-making and transitioning to a sustainable economy.  According to the report, “the extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food make up about half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90 per cent of biodiversity loss and water stress”. More specifically, the use of metal ores increased by 2.7 per cent annually and the associated impacts on human health and climate change doubled during 2000-2015. Fossil fuel usage went from 6 billion tonnes in 1970 to 15 billion tons in 2017. Biomass increased from 9 billion tonnes to 24 billion tonnes – mostly for food, feedstock and energy.

The report argues that resource efficiency is essential, though not enough on its own. “What is needed is a move from linear to circular flows through a combination of extended product life cycles, intelligent product design and standardization and reuse, recycling and remanufacturing,” it says.

This transition can be accelerated through changes at the level of regulations, technical standards, planning and procurement policies that act to progressively lower resource intensity of economic activity while maintaining or improving the services or amenity provided. In the case of procurement, impact can be achieved through the application of green, socially responsible and circular policies at the specifications, criteria or clauses level. Get to know more through ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre.

If the recommended measures are implemented, it could accelerate economic growth, outweighing the up-front economic costs of shifting to economic models consistent with holding global warming to 1.5°C this century.

Read the full report here.

Read the summary for policy makers here.

Ban the bag: the most effective way to beat plastic pollution?

10 April 2019

The UN has labelled it among the “most effective” ways to beat pollution. Over 112 countries, states and cities worldwide have already imposed bans on various single-use plastic goods. Of these measures, 57 are national and 25 are in Africa. And they’re on the rise. Frontrunner Kenya has set the bar for drastic change after banning plastic bags. After the recent EU-wide ban on single-use items from 2021, the UN Environment Conference in March 2019 pledged a somewhat softer “significant reduction” in single-use. Much to the protests of environmental groups, given that current plastic production levels (300 million tonnes per annum) are set to double in the next 20 years, according to industry experts. Especially with oil giants like ExxonMobile and Shell investing billions in petrochemicals.

Stop sucking

With China’s refusal of waste calling overdue attention to the global glut of waste, and the collect-sort-export model no longer possible, why stop at straws and not ban single-use altogether? Moreover, how can the challenges in sourcing alternatives be addressed, and are they actually more sustainable?

Labels and loopholes

The EU recently banned the ten single-use plastics most often found on Europe's beaches and seas: cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, lightweight plastic bags, polystyrene food and drink containers, and ‘oxo-degradable’ plastic products, which will all have to be made from more sustainable materials instead. It has been argued however that their proposed definition of ‘single-use’ plastic items is too narrow, and could lead to producers easily avoiding bans by marketing disposable goods as reusable. The replacement of lightweight plastic bags with thicker ones also has its downfalls.

Benefits of the ban

UNEP estimated that good management of plastic could save consumer goods companies up to €3.5bn per year. Progressive systems designed to avoid or manage beverage packaging and take-away food, such as deposit and return systems and reusable coffee cups create more jobs than their single-use equivalents, and also incentivise alternatives.

Case study: Kenya

Local sellers have struggled due to the expense and inconvenience of using compostable bags or bowls made of renewable materials. Yet Kenya, who now imposes stiff punishments on violators, including jail time and fines of up to €34,000, “have achieved more in six months than in the previous five years,” said Samuel Matonda of the Kenyan manufacturers association, placing the country especially well to take a lead at the U.N. General Assembly in calling for talks on stemming the tide of plastic pollution.

Progress to abate the plastic plague

With the EU Plastics Strategy adopted in January 2018 a new model of the plastic supply chain system is sorely needed. And as much public consultation as possible to ensure a smooth transition through any ban to implementation, ideally aligned with international agreements.

The UrbanWINS project, a three year EU funded project, showcases how the public can be involved in these crucial decisions. The project piloted the concept of ‘Urban Agoras’, a series of physical gatherings of local citizens designed to reach a consensus on what needs to happen to fight waste. Seven European cities have developed three pilot actions each in the framework of these agoras. They are citizen driven initiatives, that support each city in reaching a circular economy.  

Banning plastic bags is a big win, but it’s just the beginning. Coming up next, we’ll take a deeper dive into feasible alternatives that will help turn off the plastic tap.

Procurers, have your say about the 2014 Public Procurement Directives

8 April 2019

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Council of European Municipalities are conducting a consultation on the 2014 Directives on Public Procurement.

The 2014 Directives introduced a number of changes in the European legal framework for public procurement. These changes include new procedures to reduce red tape and provide easier access for SMEs, as well as stronger provisions on integrity and transparency, which target corruption and fraud, and a new focus on the role of public procurement in achieving policy goals in innovation, environmental protection and social inclusion.

Considering the key role of subnational governments in local public markets, through their spending on goods and services, construction and public works, the CoR has started to analyse the challenges and opportunities faced by regions and cities in implementing the new legal framework.

This consultation is being conducted by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and the CoR. By responding to this survey, you will help to identify these key challenges and to gather the views of regions and cities on the types of policy needed to overcome them.

The CoR is expected to publish the survey results in May 2019 in a summary paper that will be circulated to all respondents. The results will also feed into the CoR opinion on the implementation of the 2014 Directives on public procurement

Find the consultation here.

Procurement Forum hits the 5,000 member milestone

3 April 2019

We are proud to share with you that ICLEI's Procurement Forum reached a new milestone: 5,000 members!


3,000 members ago, we called it a small village – it now has grown further into a small town. And what a town it is – with members from various countries, organisations and sectors.


On the forum, there are many different active groups discussing topics such as sustainable transport, social responsibility, EU GPP criteria, circular or innovation procurement. Also, it helps to keep track of relevant events related to procurement across sectors, for example, circular cities, ICT or health. It is a dedicated space for the exchange between procurers across public authorities and those interested in the topic.


We think it is a worthy occasion to appreciate the diversity of themes procurement is involved in and thank the active community driven to advance their work through exchange on innovation, sustainability and circularity.
Let’s keep it up and spread the word!

 

Join the Forum here.