The European Commission has announced that its Buying Green! Handbook has now been fully translated and is available in all 23 EU languages.

So if you want to read all about green procurement and sustainability issues in Swedish or Hungarian, as well as English, French and German, you can now do so by downloading the document from this page. This fully revised edition was published in the main languages this spring, and is a substantial piece of work, checking in at 80 pages. It incorporates the changes and new rules arising from the new 2014 Directives, and this is how the “Introduction” in the document frames its purpose.

“Green Public Procurement (GPP) is an important tool to achieve environmental policy goals relating to climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production – especially given the importance of public sector spending on goods and services in Europe.

GPP is defined in the European Commission’s Communication Public procurement for a better environment as “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”. This handbook outlines the possibilities to pursue GPP under the 2014 Procurement Directives”.

Within its contents, it contains a host of useful material covering everything from setting the strategies around green procurement to detailed guidance about “green” requirements and specifications, evaluation methodologies and contract performance clauses. Whilst “buying green” is just one of the “policy through procurement” areas that buyers need to understand (along with supporting smaller firms, innovation, social value and so on), it is an important one and critical in some major spend categories such as energy, waste disposal or construction.

The handbook tries to de-mystify green procurement, which is important as many contracting authorities may feel positive towards the concept, but unsure quite how to make it work. Some authorities will fear challenges from unhappy bidders if they include green conditions or evaluation elements, so just avoid it altogether through a lack of knowledge, understanding and confidence. The handbook should help anyone who feels unsure about what to do and lead them through a robust process for introducing the key principles of green public procurement.

As well as the guidance, which is the major element of the handbook, there is a section on the relevant sectoral legislation, and a range of short case studies illustrating the main points throughout the doument. These are in general interesting and relevant. For instance, next to the short section on “Networking”, we get this case study from Denmark.

Read the full article at Public Spend Forum Europe.

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