5 October 2022

Irish and Dutch public procurers nominated for “Sustainable Procurement of the Year”

This year’s Procura+ Awards category “Sustainable Procurement of the Year” is an example of how public authorities from highly different areas can make big impacts through their purchasing decisions. The two finalists are the City of Utrecht (The Netherlands) and the Irish Prison Service. The winner will be announced on 12 October at the Procura+ Seminar in Brussels.

Utrecht applied far-reaching social and sustainable criteria in its food procurement to ensure sustainable, circular, high quality food products for its citizens, reduce packaging and residual flows, and minimise food waste. It also applied a very strong social angle to its tender, aiming for the most inclusive food choice and introducing a fixed minimum percentage of social return, thereby providing the possibility to even the most vulnerable people to be trained and worked. A market consultation that involved a mix of large established caterers and small and local initiatives was key to reaching these objectives. The tender has achieved impressive results so far: only 1.5% food loss in restaurants, 0% organic residual flow, plastic free catering, 30% less food waste compared to previous caterings.

In Ireland, each year 1200 prison mattresses need to be removed. To divert these mattresses from landfill, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) conducted in 2021 a mini-tender process for the removal and recycling or repurposing of discarded mattresses across all 12 of their prisons. The tender requirements also stated that the contractor should employ former offenders, as being employed greatly reduces the likelihood of former offenders returning to prison, giving them more opportunity to become productive members of society. This was the first time that the Department of Justice included a social clause in its contracts. As such, this tender is a win-win for the environment and people, while representing a cost saving for the Irish Prison Service.

Find out more about the successful procurements of the Irish Prison Service and the City of Utrecht on the Procura+ website.