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INNOCAT report looks at procuring sustainable school catering services

27 August 2015

Expensive high-tech solutions are not necessary to engage in eco-innovation, but rather smaller yet equally effective steps can be taken, according to a new INNOCAT report on the sustainable procurement of school catering services. The report looks at sustainable catering practices in schools across Europe and highlights the importance of broad stakeholder involvement and inventive approaches to food rather than a reliance on costly equipment and significant financial investment.

The catering sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Conventional food production, processing, delivery and preparation processes are linked to heavy consumption of fossil fuels as well as significant soil and water pollution, proliferation of plastic and other non-organic waste, and local air pollution caused by transportation within cities. It is therefore not only the food itself but the systems by which it is packaged, prepared and delivered which need to be considered when reducing catering’s carbon footprint.

Based around an exploration of common problems faced by schools, the INNOCAT Good Practice Report on Sustainable Public Procurement of School Catering Services tries to draw out the many clever and innovative approaches already being used to procure more environmentally and socially sustainable catering services. By highlighting ideas and best practice cases from around Europe, the report provides ideas, inspiration and further resources for those who are involved in the procurement of food and catering services for schools.

For more information, download the report.

Countries come together to define sustainable procurement standard

25 August 2015

An international ISO standard for sustainable procurement is currently under development, involving the input of over 40 nations. Countries from Europe, Africa, North, Central and South America, Asia and Australia have all contributed to the discussions, which have been going on for the last two years. The standard will likely be published in 2017.

Building on the basis laid down by similar standards, the new standard will be separated into four key sections. The first will look at the scope of sustainable procurement, putting an emphasis on social issues and human rights. Under it, not knowing that abuses are occurring in the supply chain is no longer an acceptable excuse. The second section looks at integrating sustainability into an organisation’s procurement policy.

Ensuring that the procurement process is open to sustainability forms the third section, which covers stakeholder engagement, setting priorities and improving performance. The final section focuses on integrating sustainability into procurement, and includes concepts such as life cycle analysis, due diligence and global cost.

For more information, visit Supply Management.

Transparency International calls for openness in German procurement law

20 August 2015

A new report by Transparency International criticises the draft version of Germany's new procurement laws for lacking openness, citing the stipulation that it is no longer mandatory to publish contracts awarded in national procurement procedures. Under the draft law, procurers would be given the choice to engage in either an open or restricted procedure, effectively meaning that the procurement could be carried out behind closed doors.

The global NGO rejects the law’s proposal to make the two options equally valid, strongly recommending that the priority of the open procedure be maintained. The report argues that a high degree of transparency and competition in public procurement procedures is vital to preventing corruption and a loss of competition. The authors also condemn the weakening of provisions to exclude previously penalised companies from the procurement process.

The report goes on to state that the new rules could lead to “interest-driven selection” which would be “to the detriment of fair competition”. It also warns that a lack of open procedures will result in significant overspending, in the field of tens of millions. The primary benefit of restricted procedures – that it saves time – is rejected as a poor justification when the possible outcomes are considered.

For more information, download the report. [PDF]

The Netherlands pushes for 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe

18 August 2015

The European Sustainable Palm Oil (ESPO) initiative is taking steps to achieve its ambitious aim of 100 percent sustainable palm oil across Europe, receiving strong support from Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen. Palm oil is the most produced and traded vegetable oil in the world, and an important ingredient for a diverse range of products including food and fuel.

‘The Netherlands are ahead in their achievements: by the end of this year we hope to have switched to 100 percent sustainable palm oil. It is time that other European countries also progress in making their supply chains more sustainable,’ said the Minister. If successful in Europe, Minister Ploumen hopes to roll out the initiative across the globe, saying: “European palm oil imports make up 14 percent of international palm oil imports. When we reach the 100 percent goal here, we may very well start a worldwide race to the top”.

Since 2000, the production of palm oil has doubled, leading to major deforestation in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. An increase in production is foreseen in the future, and if not carefully managed could lead to the destruction of natural habitats. The ESPO initiative, spearheaded by The Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), helps farmers transition to sustainable palm oil.

For more information, visit the IDH website.

UN efforts to enhance sustainable procurement in the health sector outlined

13 August 2015

A new UN report on sustainable procurement practices in the health care sector has been released, detailing the progress of the informal Interagency Task Team on Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) in its mission to influence the global health market towards greener procurement. The SPHS is comprised of a range of UN organisations, including UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF, and WHO.

Placing a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion and chemical pollution, the task force spearheaded a number of initiatives to improve the uptake of environmentally friendly procurement, including the publication of guidelines on energy requirements for medical devices, conducting pilot studies to identify opportunities to reduce waste in packaging, and carrying out research into reducing waste within the manufacturing process of selected pharmaceuticals.

Tools such as environmental scorecards and checklists for procurers were additionally developed, providing procurement officers with the knowledge to adopt environmentally sound purchasing practices. SPHS also engaged suppliers and manufacturers, devising a business case to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable procurement.

To download the document, visit the SPHS website.

Study shows nine out of 10 countries use procurement to support social objectives

11 August 2015

The new OECD study Government at a Glance 2015 has found that 94 percent of OECD countries are using public procurement to advance social and economic objectives. The report goes on to state that a significantly lower proportion measures the success of these procurement measures in achieving secondary objectives, with only 69 percent tracking the results of green procurement policies and 39 percent measuring the impact of policies to foster greater innovation.

Insufficient incentives, the lack of necessary financial resources, and the lack of a measurement framework are cited as factors in this lower showing. The report states that in 2013, 29 percent of total public expenditure was spent on procurement, with public procurement accounting for an average of 12.1 percent of spending relative to GDP.

The uptake of e-procurement was also found to face serious challenges, such as poor IT skills within procurement agencies, a lack of innovative organisational structure, and a lack of knowledge about the economic benefits of pursuing online solutions.

For more information, visit Supply Management.

Turin market engagement event sees discussion on innovative solutions for buildings

7 August 2015

More than 75 people including representatives from 34 businesses attended a market engagement event organised by the City of Turin (Italy) and the EU-funded PROBIS project on 15 July 2015 to discuss the city’s desire to purchase innovative solutions capable of improving the sustainability of buildings. The meeting followed the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for the refurbishment and maintenance of a city-owned construction.

The PROBIS project aims to use public procurement of innovation as a means to increase energy efficiency and the sustainability of urban building stock. Four open public tenders concerning the use of innovative solutions to refurbish buildings are set to be launched by the project in Turin and Treviglio (Italy), Börlange (Sweden) and Miskolc (Hungary) in late 2015 and early 2016. Market engagement events will accompany each procurement procedure.

In addition to the events, market innovation surveys have also been launched to find out more about the innovative solutions that are currently available on the market. These surveys will help to shape the performance requirements of the procurements. The surveys have been developed by PROBIS’s project partners.

For more information, visit the PROBIS website.

Second European Forum for procurement of Healthcare Innovation

4 August 2015

Resah, the Central Purchasing Body for French Healthcare organisations (Hospital and Nursing home), is organising the “2nd European Forum For Public Procurement of Healthcare Innovation” on Wednesday 9 September 2015 in Paris in collaboration with the INSPIRE Project.

The procurement of innovation is an important challenge for the future and especially for the Healthcare sector. This Forum will provide the opportunity for all European Organization concerned by innovation in the Healthcare sector to learn more about the current situation in France, what kind of tools the European Commission proposes to facilitate the procurement of innovation and to explore examples from ongoing European Projects.

The first part of the event (Morning) will be in French and the second part (Afternoon) will be in English. A translation service will be available the whole day. The event is free of charge and registration can be completed by sending an email to

If you have any question or need of further information, please contact Louis Potel – European Project Manager at RESAH –