NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 8 from 8 )

Report finds Chinese factories unfairly using student labour to make IT products

25 February 2016

Chinese students as young as 15 are being forced to work 12 hour days assembling computer monitors under the guise of mandatory internships, a report conducted by People & Planet and DanWatch has found. Many of the computer products manufactured under such schemes are transported and sold in Europe. Campaigners are calling on universities to boycott the products, and for university leaders to sign up to Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organisation focusing on labour rights in the electronics industry.

The school children were told that if they did not take part in the five month internships programme their school diplomas could be withheld – a practice that contravenes international labour law. The factory focused on in the report, run by Wistron Corportation, produces IT equipment for such well-known firms as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. It is based in the Chinese city of Zhongshan.

When confronted with evidence of the practices, HP and Dell applied pressure to temporarily suspend the use of student interns at the factory. Lenovo said that any violations of labour laws would not be tolerated, and that they would be carrying out spot-check audits to ensure that such abuses do not occur in the future.

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Cape Town purchases electric buses for public transport

23 February 2016

Cape Town has become the first South African municipality to procure a fleet of electric buses for use in its public transport fleet. As part of the tender, suppliers were expected to not only supply the vehicles, but to provide suitable charging stations and to offer training for drivers and engineers. The new 12 metre long buses will supplement the existing diesel fleet. The South African capital is a member of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, a group of 10 cities committed to driving a transition to sustainable consumption and production through sustainable and innovative procurement.

Each electric bus is required to be able to travel 250km in traffic before needing to recharge. Electric buses are considered an attractive alternative to their more polluting counterparts, as they are easier to drive, generate less heat and noise than diesel buses, and provide a smoother overall journey.

Speaking to CIPS, the Cape Town mayor’s office said: “Apart from electric buses being eco-friendly, with zero carbon emissions if we use solar power charging stations, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages. The operational cost of electric buses is significantly lower – not only in terms of fuel, but also in relation to maintenance as there are fewer parts to service."

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European Commission passes new thresholds for public procurement

19 February 2016

The European Commission has amended the thresholds for when EU procurement law applies for the next two years. If an organisation spends less than the threshold, then EU law does not apply. If they spend more, they must take into account the directive in full. The thresholds came into effect on 1 January 2016 and will remain in place until the end of 2017. The procurement directive is expected to be transposed into the national law of each EU member state by 18 April 2016.

The revised threshold for supply and service contracts awarded by central government authorities is €135,000, a €1,000 increase. For other bodies, such as sub-central contracting authorities, it is €209,000. The threshold of €750,000 for light touch regime contracts remains in place. The works contract threshold stands at €5,225,000, up from €5,186,000.

Changes have also been made to utilities contracts and concession contracts, which are governed under separate EU laws. The rate of €750,000 for public service contracts, such as for health and education, has not been altered.

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GPP2020 webinar to discuss procurement of low-carbon lighting

17 February 2016

A webinar looking at experiences with procuring low-carbon street lighting will be held by the GPP2020 project on 23 February 2016. The event is free of charge and all stakeholders working in the field of procurement are invited to join. The pre-procurement phase of purchasing low-carbon street lighting will be discussed, with participants exchanging experiences of drafting GPP and low-carbon criteria (with a focus on technical specifications and award criteria).

Suitable means of contract management and monitoring will also be looked at, along with the barriers and opportunities experienced during green tendering. In addition to issues that arise within the procurement process, the webinar will explore the impact of light pollution on humans and nature.

Speakers include Jelena Kremenjas of UNDP Croatia and Andrej Mohar of Dark-Sky Slovenia. The meeting will be facilitated by Alenka Burja of Umanotera, Slovenia. Registration for the webinar, which runs from 11.00 to 12.30 CET, is available online. The EU-funded GPP 2020 project aims to increase the uptake of low-carbon procurement across Europe.

For more information, download the programme [PDF].

Medical waste disposal tender sees Emilia-Romagna achieve green outcome

11 February 2016

In December 2013 Intercent-ER, the central purchasing body for the Italian Region of Emilia-Romagna, issued a joint procurement initiative for the sustainable management of hospital waste, which saw the organisation not only achieve an impressive environmental outcome, but also come in under budget. When published, the estimated value of the tender was €54 million, but when awarded the contract cost only €37.2 million.

To compete, bidders were required to have an environmental management system, such as EMAS, in place. The winning supplier also had to have the capacity to sort through and analyse the disposed medical waste to determine chemical and physical properties. It then needed to provide containers and labels to dispose of it appropriately, and was required to use low-carbon methods of transport.

50 percent of the points were awarded for quality, with the other 50 percent given for price. Environmental considerations were included in the quality criteria, such as guarantees around the traceability of the waste, a proposal for procedures for emergency situations, and a requirement to provide Life-Cycle Assessment using the standard ISO 14040.

For more information, read the GPP News Alert example.

JRC study envisages possible future scenarios on the path to 2035

9 February 2016

A new study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) looks at the long term industry trends for sustainable resource use, and the consequences these trends will have on emission reductions and environmental resources, as well as employment and economic opportunities. The study envisages possible future scenarios that could arise as we move towards 2035 and the potential impacts on EU policy. It also highlights desirable possible futures.

Within each scenario, the authors simulate a landscape populated by different eco-industries, incorporating predicted trends such as the global population reaching 8.6 billion, global warming reaching 2 degrees Celsius, and an increase in people living in urban areas. Continuing technological development in the fields of ICT, biotechnologies, mobile technology, and so on is also accounted for.

To illustrate these complex scenarios, the authors created four characters: Clement, Sophia, Leo and Leila. Each character, who is possessed of different attributes, is placed into each of the scenarios; naturally, each character adapts better to a different version. By creating these predicted worlds, the JRC is helping policy makers to consider and engage with future issues, enabling them to plan in advance.

For more information, visit the JRC website.

GPP 2020 tutorial videos outline how to calculate energy and CO2 savings

4 February 2016

A series of videos have been produced to guide users through the GPP 2020 carbon and energy calculators, a collection of excel tools which help procurers and decision-makers to measure the energy and carbon emissions saved by opting for a low-carbon tender rather than a standard tender. By providing this information, procurers and decision-makers can make smarter procurement choices.

Calculators are available for four product groups: Energy Contracting, Office ICT, Street Lighting, and Vehicles Calculators. Each video shows the tool being used to calculate savings in real-time, with a clear voice over explaining the process. The tool works by calculating an estimated saving against a standard tender for each product, thereby providing a clear idea of the impact of including low-carbon criteria in the tender.

The tool’s methodology draws on existing calculation tools and takes into account the product or services’ environmental product declaration, using this information to calculate life-cycle costs. The country context is also taken into consideration. The EU-funded GPP 2020 project is working with public procurers to implement more than 100 low-carbon tenders, thereby achieving a significant reduction in CO₂ emissions.

For more information, visit the GPP 2020 website.

Guidance on purchasing energy efficient kitchen equipment available in Finnish

3 February 2016

New guidance on procuring commercial kitchen equipment has been published by Motiva, a partner in the EU-funded INNOCAT project. The professional kitchen guide provides information on choosing energy efficient and environmentally friendly kitchen equipment for professional use.

The guide includes environmental criteria for the most common dishwashers and refrigerators, covering a wide-variety of models and device types. As dishwashing is responsible for about 80 percent of the water used in kitchens and about 40 percent of electricity consumption, ensuring that caterers purchase the most efficient equipment possible can have a significant impact on the water and carbon footprint of food preparation.

The guide also outlines what potential procurers should look for, noting that the lower the noise output of the washing machine the greater the energy performance, and the greater the availability of spare parts the longer the washing machine will be operational. Motiva aims to continuously update the guide, adding information on more efficient models as they appear on the market.

For more information, download the professional kitchen guide.