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As we have said before, the procurement of innovation and sustainability in goods and services is not just about R&D, but the design and delivery of public services, processes and models. This is what is behind the Procura+ Awards, rewarding, encouraging and then showcasing public procurers that adopt a more innovation-led and sustainable approach to buying that will ultimately be for the good of the community.

The Awards recognise three categories of excellence: Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Tender Procedure of the Year. Six finalists have been chosen and we will give you a brief description of each entry over the next few days. The overall winner will be announced at The Sustainable City Development Conference 2016, on the 30th November in Malmö. This conference focuses on how European cities can work towards putting the UN’s 17 new Sustainable Development Goals into practice.

The first two innovations in line for the award are in the Sustainable Procurement of the Year category:

City of Copenhagen, Denmark – organic fruits and vegetables

The City of Copenhagen aims to procure only healthy, sustainable and appetising foods for its food and catering services across its municipalities. It has set a target to supply 90% organic food across its 900 canteens. In 2014 it insisted that bids for its organic fruit and vegetable contracts would include not just variety but diversity.

Procurers and suppliers held open communications to relay the needs for the future food supply. Bidders were provided with “seasonal wheels” to fill out, in order to help balance costs and ensure seasonality of produce. The procurement rewarded those suppliers who offered the most varieties of each type of produce, with a focus on seasonality and biodiversity in agricultural production.

Through this contract, the City procured 100% organic fruit and vegetables of different varieties.

City of Wageningen, Netherlands – furniture for the refurbished City Hall

When sourcing furniture for their newly refurbished City Hall, the City of Wageningen wanted to apply circular economy principles (meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations).

Following extensive market consultation, suppliers were selected against very clear circular criteria: those that produced in a sustainable way, with no use of toxic substances, glue or staples. Each had to be verified. They also took into account social return on investment, and delivery without packaging.

This resulted in the procurement of quality furniture, within budget, that can be used over and over again. The City managed to save an estimated 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In our next post we will highlight the next two entries – in the field of Innovation Procurement of the Year. And we will be bringing you more detailed information on the winning procurement once it is announced with some first-hand insight from the winning party. For now – you can read more on the Porcura+ website and if you would like to know more about the judging process and criteria, you can read our interview with one of the judges from last year.

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