Green Public Procurement

Recent developments

In April 2014, draft criteria and technical report for Green Public Procurement of water based heaters were made public by the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS). The work is being developed for the European Commission's Directorate General for the Environment and follows the recent publication of Ecolabel criteria for this product group.

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In 2011 the Commission issued the handbook Buying green, designed to help public authorities successfully plan and implement GPP. It explains the possibilities offered by European Union law in a practical way, and looks at simple and effective approaches to greening contracts. This handbook has been produced for public authorities, but many of the ideas and approaches are equally relevant for corporate purchasers. It should also help suppliers and service providers – particularly smaller companies (SMEs) - to better understand the environmental requirements increasingly encountered in public tenders.

"Buying green" handbook

"Buying green" summary

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Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.

GPP is a voluntary instrument, which means that individual Member States and public authorities can determine the extent to which they implement it.

Public authorities are major consumers in Europe: they spend approximately 2 trillion euros annually, equivalent to some 17% of the EU’s gross domestic product. By using their purchasing power to choose goods and services with lower impacts on the environment, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production.

Green purchasing is also about influencing the market. By promoting and using GPP, public authorities can provide industry with real incentives for developing green technologies and products. In some sectors, public purchasers command a large share of the market (e.g. public transport and construction, health services and education) and so their decisions have considerable impact.

In 2008, the European Commission adopted its Communication “Public procurement for a better environment”  which set an indicative target that, by 2010, 50% of all public tendering procedures should be green. To measure the achievement of this target, the European Commission is now looking at the level of uptake of GPP for 10 product and service groups. A questionnaire to be filled in by public procurers in the 27 EU Member States has been drafted in order to gather information if and how green elements are included in public procurement procedures. The results will be presented at the end of 2011 in a report which will feed into the process of deciding on future steps in EU GPP policies.

Green Public Procurement
Green Public Procurement