MODULE 4.1: PROCUREMENT
Assess status and explore use of tools and methodologies
Has the approached used to date been effective?
It is important to properly and coherently review the current status of the Green Public Procurement (GPP) process as a starting point, when exploring how you can improve practices.
- Identify in all municipal departments how procurement is addressed, if GPP procurement criteria are being used, and correctly applied.
- Explore if political leaders and staff understand why GPP is important and what is possible. From constructing energy efficient public buildings to buying low emission vehicles, from buying organic or Fair Trade food to installing water-saving toilets public procurement can have a huge impact in driving the market towards sustainability” (see: Procura+ Manual, 3rd edition).
A major barrier making GPP successful is that often departments within a local government do not work close enough together while aiming to implement GPP. Therefore, GPP comes along with an analysis of the current situation, processes and procedures asking key questions such as “who is supporting day-to-day procurers setting the right environmental criteria?”, “who provides legal support for GPP?” and “how can the central procurement unit be strengthened?”.
Exploring sustainability criteria – taking a wider approach
- Check that you are aware of the most updated different criteria when dealing with all services and products relevant to energy (e.g. latest labelling for optimised energy efficiency).
- Determine whether the municipal departments and procurement officers are informed of these and engaging (i.e. internal procedures and processes are clear). Are all departments on board when considering GPP?
- Social criteria in tendering energy efficient products, services and works: Here GPP focuses on the environmental and economic aspects of public procurement. The overarching concept is about Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) that adds a third dimension, the social dimension, to the aims that public procurement can achieve.
- Example: By reducing the amount of hazardous substances in electronic products such as computer screens the health and safety situations of workers in such industries can be improved, users are also not endangered through the product, and waste recycling workers also have fewer toxic substances to deal with. For example, TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screens are mercury-free, with background lighting coming from Low Emission Diodes (LEDs) rather than from mercury-containing lamps. LEDS are energy efficient solutions – so all in all a win-win solution for environment and energy use.
- According to the European Commission (EC) Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP) “means procurement operations that take into account one or more of the following social considerations: employment opportunities, decent work, compliance with social and labour rights, social inclusion (including persons with disabilities), equal opportunities, accessibility design for all, taking account of sustainability criteria, including ethical trade issues and wider voluntary compliance with corporate social responsibility (CSR)”. (Source: Buying Social, 2010).
- Ensuring compliance with social criteria, i.e. applying efficient verification schemes, is a new trend. Take a look at the LANDMARK legal and practical guide.