European Procurement Programs
"Public authorities could, for example, request that energy for public buildings is supplied from a renewable source, or that food for a school canteen comes from organic produce. From the very start of the public procurement procedure, public purchasers can orient their policies towards products and services that better protect the environment."
EU Commission Issues Guidelines for Environment-Friendly Procurement
Public procurement agencies in Europe account for over 1,000 billion euros every year in the European Union, which constitutes 14% of the EU’s GDP. Since the public sector is large enough to positively influence economies of scale, Europe has implemented several directives that guide public procurement towards green purchasing practices. These Directives provide guidance to public authorities working to integrate environmental and social considerations into their purchasing decisions. To learn more about government initiatives in Europe to build market demand for green products, please visit the EU procurement site.
In addition to government initiatives on green procurement, several nongovernmental projects have also been instrumental in providing public authorities with the tools and resources needed to successfully purchase green products.
- ICLEI’s European Eco-Procurement Initiative provides ongoing assistance to local authorities through networking services, workshops, and a magazine. ICLEI also demonstrates how the cumulative buying power of public authorities can build the market demand needed to increase the competitiveness of greener products. For more information, visit ICLEI’s European Eco-Procurement Initiative website.
- A coalition of fair trade activists, environmentalists, and consumer organizations are working together to promote and implement policies that strengthen the environmental and social provisions of the EU’s public procurement regulations. These regulations are very important, as they provide guidance on procedures for the award of public supply contracts, public service contracts, and public works contracts. For more information visit the Coalition for Green and Social Procurement website.
- The Danish Ecological Council has helped Denmark’s EPA establish an aggressive procurement program for Denmark’s 14 counties, which are responsible for 275 municipalities. Recognizing that many municipalities do not have the time or informational resources to make green procurement decisions, the Council has worked to establish centralized resources that provide clear guidance to municipalities. For more information please visit the Danish Ecological Council website.
The European Eco-labeling project is important resource for procurement agencies as it helps them identify environmentally preferable products that have been verified by a third party. For more information, visit their website.