NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 10 from 10 )

Vaxjo pushes for rigorous sustainability criteria

28 November 2013

The City of Vaxjo (Sweden) has implemented strict new sustainability criteria in their procurement activities, aiming to inspire others in Sweden to do likewise. Most recently, the city has enacted far-reaching social requirements in the procurement of beverage machines. The new requirements have faced a legal challenge from a supplier, and Vaxjo is waiting for the courts to rule on their eligibility.

"Someone has to pave the way. Otherwise, you go nowhere. That's why we purposefully set tough social requirements for the coffee," says David Braic, procurement manager for Växjö Municipality "We want to see whether it is possible to set tough, specialised sustainability requirements". The strategic importance of sustainable procurement is politically championed in the city: the municipality's procurement and purchasing policy requires that all procurement activities set relevant environmental and social requirements wherever possible.

All product purchases are coordinated through a consolidation centre, which facilitates joint distribution into the municipality. The centre has resulted in reduced costs, a smaller environmental impact, and more efficient loading and unloading. Small suppliers are also granted better access to the market. "The number of deliveries has dropped by 82 percent and carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by 74 percent per delivered tonne of goods. So far, 30-40 municipalities have paid a study visit to learn more from us," says David Braic.

For more information, click here.

The rewards of measuring success in sustainable procurement

26 November 2013

The need to understand and measure the outcomes of sustainability initiatives and their contribution to an organisation is increasingly important for those engaged in sustainable procurement. EcoBuy, a sustainable procurement consultancy based in Australia, has several things to keep in mind about this process based on the outcomes of a recent webinar.

As sustainable procurement becomes more and more widespread, it is essential to continually assess and measure the impact of sustainable procurement initiatives in order to improve performance, so that support for investment in sustainable procurement is secured. A narrow financial analysis can only go so far in this evaluation. Instead, real value is found in measuring outcomes with social and environmental implications, as well as economic ones.

Holistic cost-benefit analysis can help you to measure greenhouse gas emissions with additional data collection. This must be embedded in existing roles and activities to ensure its sustainability over time, but will reward sound investment. With this in mind you will be able to explain in detail the economic, environmental and social outcomes to internal and external stakeholders, providing an all important business case to ensure sustainable procurement remains a priority.

For more information, click here.

German Federal Environment Agency website aims to make green procurement easier

21 November 2013

The new website of the German Federal Environment Agency has been launched, featuring a wide-range of information on effectively carrying out green public procurement. The website offers interested visitors the opportunity to learn more about sustainable procurement and how it can benefit them, the economy and the environment.

Tender recommendations, good practice examples, and a database of environmental criteria for inclusion in tenders are all available to browse. Users can also submit their own good practice examples for publication via an online form.

New product related guidelines, and more detailed information on embedding sustainable procurement into organisational and management structures is included in the site, providing procurers with practical, replicable information. Additionally, an online tool enables procurers to calculate life cycle costs. The site also provides links to further literature on the topic.

To visit the website, click here [in German].

Australian Government sets out case for sustainable procurement, resource efficiency

19 November 2013

The Australian Government has produced a series of informative publications on using sustainable procurement in the purchase of services, and methods to increase resource efficiency. The Guide for sustainable procurement of services looks at sustainability issues to consider when procuring services, while strategies to improve the use of resources in Australia are set out in the National Waste Policy: Less waste, more resources.

After defining and outlining the key concepts, the guide describes the policy context for applying sustainable procurement in Australian Government agencies. Options and issues to consider when including sustainability criteria are also outlined.

The guide goes on to examine best practice performance criteria that can be used in approaches to market and possible contract requirements. A sample questionnaire is included, along with a case study detailing the Department of Defence’s procurement of ICT equipment. The document is primarily aimed at government agencies and suppliers.

For more information, click here.

UGAP aims to enhance social causes through procurement activities

14 November 2013

The Union of Public Purchasing Groups (UGAP), the French public procurement centre operating under the supervision of the Ministries of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Education, has redeveloped its procurement code to ensure that all purchasing furthers social causes. Its overall objective is to strengthen the social and environmental performance of public procurement, without increasing the cost of services offered.

Alice Piednoir, Sustainable Development Policy Officer & Purchasing Manager, says that the organisation’s revised code takes a practical approach, with a particular emphasis on incorporating incorporating Article 14 of the French Public Procurement Code: "We centralise applications and mutualise costs in order to propose offers that are financially successful. We ensure that the inclusion of social and environmental requirements in our bidding do not cause additional costs to the services offered."

"On a daily basis my colleagues and I discuss all possibilities for integrating sustainable development into the act of purchasing. Suppliers must be able to offer sustainable collection of waste, and eco-labelled supplies. Customers can choose to add these options or not, but it does not impact the budget provision."

For more information, click here [in French].

Procura+ seminar looks at protecting forests by making them valuable to communities

13 November 2013

Putting an economic value on forests that benefit biodiversity and local communities through developing markets for legal and sustainable tropical timber, and by doing so removing the incentive for unsustainable exploitation or land conversion, was the central topic of discussion at this year’s Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign Seminar, held on 6 November in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) as part of the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC) launch event.

The Procura+ Annual Meeting, held on the second day of the event, looked at the implications of the revised Procurement Directives on the implementation of sustainable public procurement (SPP) in EU Member States. Roundtable discussions provided an ideal opportunity for Procura+ Participants, national partners and others to exchange achievements, barriers and suggestions based on their recent experiences with implementing SPP. The meeting benefitted from the participation of the Campaign Chair and two Vice Chairs from the City of Helsinki (Finland), the Province of Barcelona (Spain) and the City of Malmö (Sweden) respectively, representing initiatives and ideas from three of Europe’s leading SPP regions.

Points of particular interest raised during the meeting included; Malmo’s collaboration with local labour unions to ensure transparency and fair working conditions; Barcelona City’s umbrella strategy incorporating 10 product and service categories for which SPP criteria are being made mandatory; Catalunya Waste Agency’s initiative that brings together producers and buyers of recycled products and Oslo’s (Norway) framework contract for auditing suppliers according to social criteria. Proposed solutions to challenges faced by public authorities included using contracts to oblige suppliers to provide information for monitoring purposes and using overall savings achieved by redefining need to justify price premiums for more sustainable products or services.

For more information, click here.

Latest news on sustainable procurement from ICLEI out now

12 November 2013

The November edition of the Sustainable Procurement Update has just been published and is full of information on new resources and opportunities for procurement, as well as capacity building and network events.

This issue focuses on the launch of a new resource to assist purchasers and other stakeholders to turn procurement actions into more innovative practices to spur innovation. The Procurement of Innovation Platform (PPI) was launched by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October. The PPI Platform is the first port of call for all things related to PPI and pre-commercial procurement (PCP).

New resources as well as opportunities to exchange and share information with experts in the areas of timber, catering, healthcare and construction are presented in the newsletter. The information is supplemented by news about the City of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) joining the Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign over the summer.

For more information, click here.

GPP Webinar on 26 November – register now

11 November 2013

A webinar on organising GPP internally will be held on November 26 2013 as part of the EU Helpdesk on green public procurement (GPP). The webinar will look at how GPP policies can be translated into effective initiatives and processes. It will also provide examples of procedures which aid the implementation of GPP within an organisation on a daily basis.

Three very different approaches and experiences from the public sector will be presented during the online event. Opportunities for questions and discussion will follow.

The webinar will take place from 14.30 - 16.00 (CET, Berlin time). Participation is open to all. For more information, contact

To find out more or to register, click here.

New smart phone shines a light on unethical supply chain practices

7 November 2013

Customers rarely consider the environmental and social impact of the final product they consume, and many companies hide and obscure the realities of their supply chain, particularly in the electronics industry. Hoping to change this, a Dutch company has released the "Fair Phone", a smart phone that puts social and ethical values first, and that is entirely transparent with its customers.

The Fair Phone strives to ensure all materials are “conflict-free” (though due to supply issues the phone has fallen slightly short) and works with initiatives such as Conflict-Free Tin Initiative and Solutions for Hope. As well as providing a product that has minimised its links to practices that may fund or prolong conflict in Africa (particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo), the phone also hopes to influence large providers such as Apple, Samsung and Nokia to clean up their supply chains.

The phone costs €325, and part of each sale goes towards Closing the Loop, a global programme that encourages the reuse and recycling of old mobile phones. The company has also released a full cost breakdown, outlining all manufacturing and sale costs. Fairphone has received 15,000 pre-orders with 25,000 handsets available.

For more information, click here.

New Sustainable Timber Procurement Toolkit by Sustainable Scotland Network

5 November 2013

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) has recently developed a toolkit to help support public sector organisations looking to develop a sustainable timber policy or strategy, or requiring sustainable timber or any other forest product criteria in tenders for a new contract.

The toolkit includes sample policy wording, tender questions, a contract monitoring spread sheet and a number of case studies. As part of this, SSN worked with staff at Falkirk Council to produce a short film about their experiences.

SSN works with the public sector in Scotland to support action on sustainable development, including programmes on climate change and sustainable procurement. Since 2011, it has worked in partnership with WWF-UK on its “What Wood You Choose?” campaign to raise awareness of the economic, social and environmental consequences of purchasing illegal or unsustainable forest products, ranging from construction timber to paper.

For more information, click here.