6 August 2021

Sustainable public procurement can make universities greener

The European University Association (EUA) has published an article arguing that universities in Europe should include sustainable and green criteria in their public procurement processes. This would not only lead to big savings, but also further promote the greening of universities.

The procurement needs of universities are very diverse and cover a broad range of categories such as campus infrastructure, the research and innovation mission (equipment, consumables, library systems, labs, databases, etc), the learning and teaching mission (digitalisation, learning platforms, teaching materials and student recruitment, etc) and strategic and operational management

On average, Europe’s public universities spend up to 15% of their annual operational budgets on purchasing goods, services and works, related tot he above mentioned catogires. For some of the larger institutions, this can represent up to €300 million per year. Therefore, choosing to purchase goods, works and services with a reduced environmental impact, can make a big difference.

In a recent survey the EUA found that 38% of 305 surveyed institutions have a have a sustainable procurement process in place across the institution, while 48% have one at least partially implemented. The University of Bordeaux, for example, included in its three-year procurement plan a priority aimed at developing sustainable purchasing by promoting the integration of environmental and social procurement clauses, the share of which should increase over time. In Ireland, University College Cork, is aiming to influencing practices of suppliers and manufacturers through their sustainable procurement policies.

The full article of the EUA can be found here.

Read more about how public procurement can promote social and envrionmental goals here.