“Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement could save about a million lives a year worldwide by 2050 through reductions in air pollution alone.” This is the main finding of a WHO report released this week at the occasion of the COP24 currently taking place in Katowice (Poland). One of the most dangerous and costly public health threats, air pollution in urban areas is one of the top policy priorities in the EU and worldwide.
Cities themselves can be part of the solution by purchasing low emission vehicles. Only a year ago the fleet for service and police vehicles of the Catalan Association of Towns and Counties consisted of 95% diesel vehicles, which contribute significantly to poor air quality. Thanks to a new framework agreement awarded in 2018, 308 new vehicles were purchased, over 80% of which are low or zero emission vehicles.
The call for tender for the new framework contract was developed as part of the European project SPP regions, which promoted the creation and expansion of European regional networks of municipalities working together on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and procurement of innovation. Collaboration among the public bodies sends a stronger signal of demand for sustainability and innovation to suppliers and help local authorities achieve ambitious sustainability targets.
Read the full case study here.
More inspiring examples of how public procurement can promote health and air quality can be found in our Resource Centre.
This week, all eyes are on Katowice (Poland) and the Climate Change Conference COP24, where countries have to agree on how they will achieve the the goal of minimizing climate change to less than 2°C warming, decided three years earlier at COP21 in Paris. In his opening address Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary-General) highlights which steps need to be taken immediately to get closer to reaching this goal – one of them is the electrification of transport, which accounts for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to dangerously poor air quality in cities.
A new report titled “Electric buses arrive on time“ (Transport & Environment), examines the transition towards sustainable, low carbon transport through public procurement. It maps out the shift from diesel powered to electric busses in Europe. “In 2017, the number of electric bus orders more than doubled - from 400 in 2016 to more than 1,000. In 2018, the market share is estimated to be around 9%, marking the transition from niche to mainstream and the beginning of a steep and necessary uptake curve.”
Electric buses already offer a better total cost of ownership (TCO) than diesel buses when external (public health) costs are included. Beyond costs, electric buses offer many additional benefits compared to their fossil fueled counterparts: superior image and comfort, no stranded assets from investing in gas infrastructure, using locally produced (renewable) energy and ensuring energy sovereignty by replacing oil consumption.
The earlier cities transition to a zero emission bus fleet, the better.
However, there are challenges to implementation, for instance coping with the higher capital costs of zero-emissions buses. Lucien Mathieu, author of the report and transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E, has a solution for that, too: “a grant could be made available through the new EU budget from 2020. This should be complemented by a Europe-wide zero emission sales target for new buses.”(Euroactiv)
For inspirational examples of zero emission public procurement, visits the website of ICLEI led European project BuyZET, in which cities use procurement of innovative solutions for zero emission urban delivery of goods and services.
For more case studies on the topic of clean urban transport, head over to our resource centre.
A recently published report titled ‘Building circularity into our economies through sustainable procurement’, (UNEP) explores how to integrate circular economy in public procurement. The report highlights the power of institutional purchasing and advocates for circular procurement as a tool that advances the sustainability goals.
The report outlines two pillars of implementing circular public procurement and provides guidance for public authorities on how to put them into action:
Pillar 1 - Promoting circular supply chains by procuring more circular products, materials and services - such as using circular procurement criteria in tender specifications.
Pillar 2 - Promoting new business models based on innovative and resource-efficient solutions - such as adopting supplier take-back systems
These strategies need to be enabled by cooperating with other organizations or new legal instruments that favour circularity in value-chains. For purchasing units wishing to get started, the report provides lessons such as ‘start with easy wins’ or ‘engage suppliers at an early stage’.
Additional powerful drivers to advance the inclusion of circularity in procurement practices are setting ambitious targets - as cities around the world did as part of the Global Leads City Network on Sustainable Public Procurement (GLCN), as well as knowledge sharing and actively contributing to international initiatives such as Procura+.
The report draws from previous work by, among others, the EU and ICLEI, showing that circular public procurement is already applied by forward thinking public bodies. There are many good practice cases to learn from, which you can explore in our Resource Centre.
Read the full report here.
The draft results are out of the Benchmarking of National Policy Frameworks for innovation procurement across the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland.
The benchmarking exercise is led by the European Commission following recommendations from the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) to create an EU-wide measurement framework for innovation procurement, and an EU knowledge sharing service to exchange experiences. The exercise is done across all 28 European Member States plus Norway and Switzerland with expenditure measurement across different sectors of public interest (e.g. health, transport, security etc.) and strategic expenditure categories, such as ICT, that fuel public sector modernization.
The next step needs support from the procurement community and interested stakeholders: Any comments on the country profiles? Good practice examples you want to share? Provide your comments on the Country Profiles and share any good practice examples via the online consultation - by 15 January 2019.
“We are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and the enormous impact we have on it. We may also be the last that can act to reverse this trend. From now until 2020 will be a decisive moment in history” – concludes the Living Planet Report 2018, recently published by WWF. The report shows the devastating environmental consequences of our way of production and consumption for biodiversity. For instance, almost 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.
The report emphasizes that biodiversity loss is not only unfortunate in and of its own, but it risks the very foundation of human prosperity: “As we better understand our reliance on natural systems it’s clear that nature is not just a ‘nice to have’.” Healthy ecosystems offer services worth about US$125 trillion a year that enable us as human species to thrive.
The report highlights that “Consumption is the driving force behind the unprecedented planetary change we are witnessing, through the increased demand for energy, land and water”. Thus, procuring products, goods and services sustainably across sectors and along supply chains is a significant part of the solution to re-design how humans can thrive within capacities of the Earth’s ecosystems.
For a shift in processes, practices and structures, concepts such as circular procurement or sustainable public procurement (SPP) are necessary and already applied by forward thinking public authorities. To learn how your procurement department can make a change have a look at our Resource Centre.
If you want to get involved in this important transition, consider becoming a Procura+ member, joining a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement.
The EU Parliament approved an EU wide ban of several single-use plastic items by 2021 and adopted strict recycling regulation over other plastics such as beverage bottles, food containers at rates of up to 90% by 2025. This ban is a significant contribution tackling plastic pollution in the environment. Single-use items included in the ban such as cutlery, straws or cotton buds make up over 70% of marine litter. The intention behind banning the items is “…to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.” says Frédérique Ries (MEP ALDE, Belgium).
The single use plastic items covered by this regulation were selected since there are sustainable alternative readily available. However, this ban could have implications on how public procurement is handling catering and event management as these often rely heavily on reusable cutlery. Procurement will need to consider alternatives such as reusable cutlery and dishes, which come with a different set of service requirements.
As part of the ICLEI project InnProBio the Swedish region Skane has set a cutting-edge example for how public procurement can tackle the issue of plastic pollution. Through innovation procurement the region has managed to introduce a new product in all regional hospitals: Their disposable aprons are now made from a newly developed biobased material that meets high performance and sustainability criteria. Learn more about the procurement procedure, results and lessons learned, here.
For more information on the EU single use plastic ban go here.
How far away is a future where all IT products have a circular and sustainable life cycle?
It might come closer when there are specific criteria for helping suppliers and buyers to contribute to a more sustainable future toward the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. TCO did exactly so, launching a wide range of updated and new criteria, designed to promote a circular approach to IT products along with transparency and responsibility in the supply chain.
Want to learn more about the criteria? Then, join the launch event 14.00-17.30 on December 4, 2018, in Brussels.
The event is moderated by human rights lawyer and author Parul Sharma, who has led the Swedish Government’s delegation for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The keynote speaker is the sustainability expert and award-winning designer Leyla Acaroglu. Challenging the audience with thought-provoking ideas, she will talk about how innovation can help drive positive environmental and social change and how disruptive design solutions can help promote the circular economy.
In the 20th century, we dug up, chopped down, drilled for or harvested 34 times more construction materials, 27 times more ore and minerals, 12 times more fossil fuels and 3.6 times more biomass than in all years before. Today, two-thirds of us live in cities, draining nature of materials to build homes, schools, hospitals, roads, transport systems and factories. Urbanization, together with a growing middle-class, has increased demand for consumer goods.
Hence, re-thinking how we manufacture industrial products and deal with them at the end of their useful life could provide breakthrough environmental, social and economic benefits, according to a new report by the International Resource Panel and UN Environment, released at the World Circular Economy Forum, in October 2018.
The report highlights that if products were re-manufactured, comprehensively refurbished, repaired and directly re-used, the amount of new material needed could be significantly reduced – by 80-98%for re-manufacturing, 82-99 %for comprehensive refurbishing, and 94-99 per cent for repair.
The implementation of value-retention processes (VRP) can be steered by governments through public procurement strategies with a leading-by-example approach. For instance, through policies, which provide a level playing-field for VRP product options in order to establish new markets for early-stage product innovations or low rates of adoption for innovative processes.
As one example, the project Circular PP aims to address the societal challenge of resource efficiency through procurement. It demonstrates how public authorities can exploit synergies between public and private stakeholders in their procurement, with the goal of creating innovative circular processes and products.
If you like to know more about how to integrate circularity into public procurement, consult our guide.
The full report mentioned above is available here.
This month, the EU Commission put forward a new bioeconomy strategy including 14 specific steps towards implementation. The underlying aim of the strategy is to help address global challenges such as climate change by providing innovative solutions that deliver on targets around circular resource management and local economies.
"It has become evident that we need to make a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and discard goods. By developing our bioeconomy – the renewable segment of the circular economy – we can find new and innovative ways of providing food, products and energy, without exhausting our planet's limited biological resources. Moreover, rethinking our economy and modernising our production models is not just about our environment and climate. There is also great potential here for new green jobs, particularly in rural and coastal areas.” - Jyrki Katainen (Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness)
Public procurement can play an important role in the transition to a biobased economy. InnProBio, a European project that finished earlier this year, focused on bio-based innovation in public procurement. The results aim to assist European public entities in their purchasing decisions and actions when it comes to bio-based products and services. Click here to see all available resources published by the project.
The full bioeconomy strategy can be accessed here.
Being stuck in traffic or experiencing delays is very common. In Belgium, for instance, the average driver typically spends up to 39 hours in congested traffic. Clearly there is a huge need for traffic management solutions which engage with all the complexities of mobility - and this is exactly what the City of Ghent has devised with its TMaaS - Traffic Management as a Service, which recently won the Civitas ‘Bold Measure Award’.
The ICLEI member used innovation procurement to purchase a traffic management platform which could revolutionise mobility in Ghent. How is this going to change traffic more specifically? If everything rolls-out as planned, users can be informed about issues around their mode of transport, and City of Ghent employees will be able to use the information to adjust traffic lights, inform residents, evaluate and prepare mobility measures when needed.
The traffic platform provides governments and citizens with a wealth of traffic information in real time aimed to optimise urban mobility. It combines mobility information from data and transport companies and other players and communicates them automatically to citizens. As a cloud-based platform, no major hardware investments are required. It is directed at public procurers working for small- and medium-sized cities.