22 April 2021

European Green Capital Lahti achieves green goals through sustainable procurement

The Finnish city of Lahti became a European Green Capital in 2021, partly thanks to its ‘Vision 2030’ strategy, developed in 2018 with the aim to become a “Bold Environmental City” with a smart, clean and circular economy. The strong political support in the city for green public procurement heavily contributes to the realisation of this vision.

In an interview with the writers of the GPP News Alert, Lahti’s Procurement manager Tarinka Ringvall explains how public procurement supports this strategy. “The City Council has approved guidelines for public procurement, which include a focus on business-friendly procurement, which promote the use of social criteria (for example, which focus on the employment of disadvantaged people), as well as promoting innovative procurement and the purchase of circular and sustainable goods. The City also recognises the importance of procurement as a profession, and supports the development of its procurers’ skills and knowledge.”

Lahti’s focus on green public procurement predates the development of the ‘Vision 2030’ strategy. As Ringvall notes, the city has been systematically using environmental criteria in procurement since 2011. One of the most recent examples of this is a framework agreement for non-new/recycled furniture. “By acquiring high-quality used furniture instead of buying new, it is possible for the city to significantly reduce its use of natural resources, in particular, virgin timber. We also still use extensive environmental criteria when purchasing new furniture, including requiring sustainable wood-based material from certified sources, recycled metal, avoidance of toxic chemicals in upholstery fabric, no PVC-plastics, and solventfree adhesives, varnishes and paints.”

The full interview with Tarinka Ringvall can be read here.