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30 September 2014

EcoProcura highlights strategic potential of sustainable and innovation procurement

After three days of exciting exchange, delegates at the EcoProcura conference in Ghent (Belgium) concluded that for Europe to gain maximum benefit from procurement practices, sustainable and innovation procurement must be placed at the heart of strategic decision making. The European Commission’s revised Public Procurement Directives will play a significant role in harnessing the capacity of the public sector to foster sustainable and innovative solutions, and move procurement from being seen as an administrative to a strategic concern.

The conference, organised by ICLEI and the City of Ghent, demonstrated the consensus that the pressing issues facing Europe today require public authorities to work with the market to develop sustainable and innovative solutions, rather than viewing the market as unchangeable. These outcomes will inform policy processes, and will be fed into the Procura+ Campaign, a movement of public authorities at the forefront of sustainable and innovation procurement in Europe. At the close of the event, the City of Ghent demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by signing a strategy on sustainable procurement and a Charter that obliges the city to spend 10 percent of its ICT budget on innovative solutions.

“Sustainability and innovation are moving from secondary considerations to central elements of procurement as highlighted by the recently revised European Union Public Procurement Directives. ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Campaign, Procura+, is playing a crucial role in this movement. This year it celebrates its 10th anniversary of supporting public authorities in implementing sustainable procurement. I urge all public authorities to rethink the importance of procurement in making the shift towards sustainable patterns of production and consumption to the benefit of our society, the environment and future generations.” said Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland) and Procura+ Chair.

For more information, read the full EcoProcura outcomes article.


26 September 2014

Winner of the Public Procurement of Innovation Award announced

Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam (the Netherlands) was announced as the winner of the Public Procurement of Innovation Award at a ceremony held during the EcoProcura conference, in Ghent (Belgium) yesterday. The Dutch hospital, which overcame competition from five other finalists, was praised by the jury for its innovative robotic bed washing facility. The award was presented by Bonifacio Garcia Porras of DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission.

The Erasmus University Medical Centre asked the bidders to design a more cost and environmentally efficient solution to disinfect the hospital's 70,000 beds and mattresses. The contract was won by IMS Medical, who proposed a creative approach - high precision cleaning robots that disinfect the beds in a conveyor belt format, similar to the set-up employed by car manufacturers. Through the facility, the cleaning costs per bed were lowered by 35 percent compared with the existing solution, and the CO2 footprint reduced by 65 percent. The City of Oslo (Norway), Région Rhône Alpes (France), and A Coruna City Council (Spain) were given honourable mentions during the ceremony. A more in-depth profile of each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, is available here.

The jury also praised the private companies who supplied the innovative solutions, with each company involved in the procurement processes commended for contributing to a more efficient and competitive Europe. "Public procurement has a significant role to play in stimulating innovation to ensure that Europe successfully meets future economic, social and environmental challenges. Procurement requirements that demand innovative solutions can stimulate new sources of jobs and growth in Europe. I warmly congratulate the winner of the PPI Award and I hope that the procurement practices of the winner and the nominees will act as an inspiration to others." said European Commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci.

For more information, read the press release.


24 September 2014

Eight new case studies published by GPP2020 project

GPP 2020 aims to mainstream low-carbon procurement across Europe in support of the EU’s goal to achieve a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20 percent increase in the share of renewable energy, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020.

A core aim within the GPP 2020 project is to tender and contract low carbon products, works and services. Through these tenders CO2 emissions are reduced and a more energy efficient economy is encouraged. To achieve long term sustainability, the tenders need to be replicable for other local authorities interested in making their procurement greener.

In line with this, each tender issued by one of the GPP 2020 partners is documented as a ‘tender model’, using a case study format. These tender models are easily accessible through the project’s searchable tender database. Eight new tenders have been published, with more to come.

To view the tenders, read the first article in the GPP2020 newsletter.


18 September 2014

Austrian public procurers eligible to apply for €80,000 to support innovation

Public procurers in Austria who wish to purchase an innovative product or service but are struggling to find sufficient budget can avail of a nation-wide competition to win up to €80,000 worth of procurement support. The IÖB project competition is open for submissions until 12.00 on 31 October 2014.

Following an evaluation, the most innovative submissions will be gifted IÖB-service vouchers with a total value of €80,000. The voucher can be redeemed for (partial) compensation of costs for the implementation of the innovative procurement procedure. All Austrian public authorities and public sector clients who are subject to the Federal Procurement Act, including federal, state, local and community organisations, as well as public institutions, are eligible to enter the competition.

Based in Vienna, the IÖB service agency aims to increase the uptake of procurement of innovation within the Austrian public sector. Their website provides relevant information on each stage of the procurement process.

For more information, visit the IÖB website [in German].


16 September 2014

Clean Fleets project invites comments on new tools

The Clean Fleets project is inviting interested parties to comment on the draft 'Guide to procuring clean, energy efficient vehicles’ and the new Life-Cycle Costing (LCC) Tool ahead of finalisation. The guide is designed to assist public authorities and public transport operators in purchasing clean and energy efficient vehicles in full compliance with European legislation, in particular the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD). The LCC Tool has been developed to calculate the life-cycle cost of vehicle fleets.

The European Commission funded guide is primarily targeted at procurers and fleet managers, but is also of relevance to policy makers and others involved in the transport sector. It presents how environmental criteria can be introduced into the different stages of procurement procedures, together with information on relevant topics. The LCC tool has been developed to be of use to public procurers specifically.

To shape the comments, those interested are asked to respond to four short questions on each of the two project outputs, relating to issues such as how useful the tool is and whether any pertinent information is missing. Respondents can do so by contacting by 3 November 2014. Both products will be provided free-of-charge.

To view the questions, visit the Clean Fleets website.


12 September 2014

US Government document showcases innovative procurement practices

The White House has recently released a document highlighting an array of pioneering procurement case studies carried out by the United States Federal Government. The case studies cover a range of procurements, from NASA's competition to find innovative ways to change the future of commercial space travel, to simplifications made in contracting rules by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The document aims to show ways that federal agencies are achieving more innovation per taxpayer dollar.

“The federal government has long used its buying power as one of the world’s largest customers to accelerate well-known innovations, from the first microchips to the global position system,” wrote White House officials Tom Kalil and Lesley Field in a blog post. “Today, federal agencies continue to leverage innovative procurement practices that spur the private sector to develop advanced technologies to better serve the American people.”

The document shows how competition between businesses can be used to boost innovation, referencing NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) as an example. “All of these innovative contracting efforts are aligned with President Obama’s management agenda to deliver a 21st century government that is more effective, efficient and supportive of economic growth, including specific cross-agency initiatives on smarter IT delivery, strategic sourcing and shared services.” Kalil and Field added.

For more information, visit


10 September 2014

Cost and environmental savings highlighted by WRAP project case studies

Ten new case studies highlighting potential cost and environmental savings made by Facilities Management (FM) clients (those tasked with the management of services that relate to the functioning of a building such as security, maintenance and cleaning) through greater procurement efficiencies have been published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) project.

About 70 individual procurements were supported by WRAP with an estimated lifetime contract value of £5.3 billion. The savings over the lifetime of the contracts will be in the region of £39 million, preventing 125 kilo tonnes of waste, and saving 13.5 million kWh of energy and 15,000 m3 of water.

The case studies feature organisations from the public and private sector, including Oxfam International, Sunderland City Council, Senator International Ltd, and more. The case studies cover a range of sectors, such as furniture, catering, uniforms and laundry, ICT services, waste management and textiles.

For more information, visit the WRAP case studies page.


4 September 2014

ENIGMA study visit looks at the inspiring qualities of public lighting

A study visit focusing on the inspiring qualities of light and the potential economic and social benefits that interactive light displays and light festivals can have will take place in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) from November 12 – 13 as part of the ENIGMA project. Led by the City of Eindhoven, the project aims to implement a transnational pre-commercial procurement (PCP) procedure in the field of public lighting together with partner cities Malmö (Sweden), Stavanger (Norway), Espoo (Finland) and Bassana del Grappa (Italy).

The study visit will take in the acclaimed GLOW festival, and will provide an opportunity for public procurers to discuss the topic of innovative public lighting with other interested stakeholders. Following the study visit, select participants will have the chance to take part in a one and a half day “work shadowing” event within the City of Eindhoven, providing a unique opportunity to gain insight into the inner workings of a pioneer city and to exchange with a range of professionals.

A maximum of two representatives from public authorities will be able to take part in this work shadowing. An agenda is available for the event, and registration is possible online. A limited number of travel and accommodation grants are available, with registrants required to mention if they wish to apply for one and their motivation for taking part.

For more information, visit the ENIGMA website.


2 September 2014

UN document outlines PPI Platform’s impact on Europe

A supplement to the 2013 Annual Statistical Report on United Nations Procurement has focused on procurement and innovation, providing an overview of the current debate and status of innovative procurement through a collection of articles from academia, the public and private sectors, and the UN itself. The document contains a lengthy article on the Procurement of Innovation Platform, detailing its contribution to innovative procurement in Europe.

The article touches on the procurement forum as a means to connect public procurers, the Guide to Procurement of Innovation, which offers detailed information aimed at those with a stake in successful innovation procurement, and the procurement of innovation award, which recognises the outstanding procurement activities of European public procurers. The supplement also contains an overview of procurement of innovation around the world.

In his foreword to the supplement, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states: "Innovative procurement offers tremendous opportunities to use government buying power to shape the world around us for a better tomorrow. Through investment in new technology and research, the promotion of domestic manufacturing, increased transparency and accountability in public fund management, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises, procurement systems can help develop national capacity and attain sustainable development goals."

For more information, visit the UNOPS website.