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This month’s European Commission News Alert on green public procurement (GPP) is now available online here . The lead article features a collaboration and best practice exchange between three Italian regions (Basilicata, Lazio and Sardinia) and the Romanian Ministry of Environment.

The start of the project saw internal GPP working groups set up in each administration to bring together the most suitable ‘activators’ to promote and anchor new approaches to procurement. Training, technical workshops and a European roundtable have taken place in Romania, while a number of workshops, roundtables, and study visits have been carried out in Italy”.

We also learn about how the City of Ghent in Belgium has made its purchase of cleaning materials environmentally sound. In their recent tender evaluation, “a significant number of points (30% of the total) were given to those companies which could demonstrate sustainability in terms of deliveries, waste prevention and minimisation and any further innovative approaches or goods”.

30% is a high weighting; we don’t intrinsically disagree with that, but it would be interesting to know if that led to some compromises on the cost of the items. In other words, is the City paying significantly more than it could have because of their choice of environmentally friendly products? All these green issues can have trade-offs, and it would be useful to understand those in this case.

Then the newsletter features an article from Carsten Wachholz, who is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). He campaigns for stronger action on resource efficiency, with ambitious proposals in the areas of eco-design, GPP, labels, nd related fields of product policy. Set up in 1974, the EEB is Europe’s largest coalition of grassroots environmental organisations. Here, he talks about the impact NGOs (non-governmental organisations) can have on green public procurement.

“Through proximity to politicians and decision makers in an administration, it is also possible for NGOs to increase the pressure on public authorities to adopt greener procurement practices, whilst at the same time advising how to do it. Providing access to guidelines and criteria for implementing GPP call for tenders would be an asset for NGOs, especially if they can build on existing EU work”.

A useful aspect of the newsletter is that it directs the reader to other resources and news stories. That includes a couple of documents around environmental issues and road construction, and news about various conferences.  We have already mentioned here the Conference on Innovation Procurement in Tallin on October 17th.18th, but now we see that the Circular Procurement Congress is also in that city on October 19th.  It looks like we will just have to be in Tallin in mid-October; it will clearly be THE centre of European public procurement for that week at least!

The newsletter also highlights that entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Procura+ Awards – the closing date is 30 June 2017. The 2017 Procura+ Awards ceremony will be held at the Third Major eafip Event on Innovation Procurement in Tallinn, Estonia on 17 October. There are three categories; sustainable procurement of the year, innovation procurement of the year and tender procedure of the year. You can read more about that here.

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