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26 November 2015

Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement to hold Summit at COP21

Participants of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement will showcase their achievements during their 1st Summit, to be held at COP21 in Paris (France). The event will be hosted in ICLEI’s Cities and Regions Pavilion – TAP 2015 on the afternoon of 5 December, from 16.00 until 17.15. During the Summit, cities in the network will outline how they intend to fulfil the commitments they have signed and will exchange experience and knowledge. The programme is available online.

Auckland (New Zealand), Denver (USA), Oslo (Norway), Quezon City (Philippines) and Warsaw (Poland) are the latest participants to join the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement. The Network is a joint initiative of Seoul Metropolitan Government and ICLEI to promote sustainable public procurement (SPP) and related environmental, societal and financial benefits. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) have welcomed the initiative and are looking forward to its integration in the 10YFP on SPP Programme. The Network was launched in April 2015 with Seoul (Republic of Korea), Cape Town (South Africa), Helsinki (Finland), Ghent (Belgium) and Rotterdam (The Netherlands) as founding participants.

“These global SPP ambassadors are joining efforts to raise awareness on the benefits of sustainable public procurement and public procurement of innovation, as well as combating climate change with their activities,” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General. “Network participants show their commitment to improve the quality of life for their citizens, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, foster new markets, create new job opportunities and save money for their administrations.” The latest updates are available on twitter by following @GLCN_on_SP.

For more information, contact, or visit the website.


25 November 2015

Market consultation launched to find innovative office catering solutions

Following a prior information notice (PIN) published in October 2015, Environment Park (Envipark), a partner in the EU-funded INNOCAT project, is inviting suppliers and catering service providers to take part in a market consultation on eco-innovative office catering by filling out an online questionnaire. Around 100 Envipark employees eat in the staff canteen and the organisation is interested in using eco-innovative processes to reduce the associated costs and impacts.

Following an audit carried out with lead buyer Arpa Piemonte in early 2015, Envipark identified two focus areas for its upcoming tender on eco-innovative office catering services: reducing power consumption and improving the management of biodegradable waste (including reducing packaging). Based on the audit, Arpa is now launching a market consultation process to ensure the interest and capacity of catering service providers to meet its requirements.

To provide a clear overview of the eco-innovative aspects required in the future tender, a Market Sounding Prospectus has been published and is available in English and Italian. The next stage of the process is a market consultation. Both catering service providers and manufacturers are invited to take part in a market consultation survey (in Italian) by 15 December 2015 to share details of their solutions and confirm their interest in being involved in further market engagement activities related to this process.

For more information and to view the survey, visit the Office Catering page.


19 November 2015

Local government spending power can drive shift towards innovation

Innovative reforms in the way cities purchase goods and services is leading to greener, more efficient and more cost-friendly municipal services. In the past when faced with an outdated product, procurers often asked suppliers for the most updated version of the item, ignoring the potential to find a more innovative solution. Today, this mindset is changing.

Public procurers are reaching out to the entrepreneurial community, encouraging the private sector to come up with clever solutions to recurring issues. Increasingly local governments are focusing on the problem rather than on specifications, giving the market greater leeway to propose answers. San Francisco (USA), for example, issued a one-page, easy to understand call for solutions to replace its outdated street light network. The city ended up accepting an innovative proposal from a Swiss company.

The product provided was superior to the old street lights in a number of ways – the lights were environmentally sound, could be remotely controlled (including dimmed on command), and collected data on the surrounding conditions. The new bulbs also reduced light pollution, lasted longer than traditional bulbs, and used less energy. Through making even minor changes to the way they spend their budget, local governments can have a significantly positive impact on their city.

For more information, visit


18 November 2015

InnProBio invites procurers to share their experience of procuring bio-based products

The InnProBio team is inviting stakeholders to take a survey that will assess their experiences with public procurement of innovation (PPI) and with public procurement of innovative bio-based products (wholly or partly derived from biomass) and their associated services. The answers will help to map the hurdles to the procurement of bio-based products and services and ways of overcoming them.

The short survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and all responses will be kept anonymous. Two different surveys are available - one specifically for purchasers, the other for companies (as suppliers or service providers to the public sector). The questionnaires are available in English, German and Polish.

The InnProBio project is a European Commission funded project that aims to build a community of public procurement practitioners interested in PPI of bio-based products and services. Bio-based products and services can contribute to meeting the EU’s climate protection goals, which has led the European Union to declare it a high priority sector.

To take part in the survey, visit the InnProBio website.


13 November 2015

EU GPP Helpdesk webinar to focus on engaging the market

A webinar to discuss how public procurers can work with the market to develop more environmentally friendly solutions will be held by the EU GPP Helpdesk on 24 November 2015 between 14.30 and 16.00 CET. The online meeting will look at how effective market engagement can enable procurers to gain a better understanding of what goods and services are currently available, and what suppliers are capable of offering in the future.

A series of presentations will be given by noted speakers from across Europe, including Abby Semple, Legal Expert, Public Procurement Analysis, and a representative of the award-winning Federal Procurement Agency of Austria. To provide the private sector’s perspective, the meeting will be addressed by Aren Mijs, IMS Medical, The Netherlands. Michael Sorensen of the European Commission’s Directorate General for the Environment will introduce the webinar.

The webinar will also look at key legal issues which must be considered before, during and after a market engagement process, and how market engagement can help businesses to meet the upcoming needs of public authorities. Participation is free of cost and open to all interested parties.

For more information and to register, contact


11 November 2015

Barcelona invites cities to follow its lead on sustainable procurement

Public procurers from across Europe are gathering at the 2015 Procura+ Seminar in Barcelona (Spain) today to learn from the city’s experiences of using sustainable procurement to reduce its ecological footprint and improve citizens’ quality of life. Organised by ICLEI, the seminar is an annual event that, through practical workshops and facilitated discussions, offers inspiring examples of sustainable and innovative procurement.

“By bringing procurers from all regions of Europe together, the Procura+ Seminar provides an excellent environment for exchange and learning. Barcelona is the ideal host city, having used their purchasing power to drive a shift towards sustainability. It is my hope that the procurers in attendance go away with a greater sense of the benefits that smart procurement choices can bring,” said Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director with ICLEI Europe. "Responsible public procurement is a very important part of Barcelona's broader approach to sustainability," added Janet Sanz, Deputy Mayor for Environment, Urban Planning and Mobility.

Similar to many cities in Europe, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving social conditions are priorities for Barcelona. Procurement is a key tool in this mission, as it enables the city to set ambitious environmental targets and encourage innovative thinking to address social challenges. Barcelona is an integral member of the Procura+ campaign, working closely with ICLEI and other local authorities to create a European movement for sustainable public procurement. This work has led to a number of impressive results. A recent example includes a 48 month contract for the rental of 198 electric scooters by the Barcelona City Police, which is currently being rolled out as part of the GPP 2020 project. By 2018, over 80 tonnes of CO2 will have been saved through this one contract alone.

For more information, visit the seminar website.


5 November 2015

Solar-powered benches come to London

New solar-powered smart benches capable of charging up to six electronic devices at once have been rolled out in London’s financial district, Canary Wharf (United Kingdom). The four benches also track air quality and noise levels in the surrounding environment, and include an emergency call button.

Speaking to Cities Today, Miloš Milisavljević, CEO of Strawberry Energy, the company behind the benches, said that the benches meet the needs of the mobile generation. “We [want] to enhance the smartness of public spaces, and our ultimate goal is to create a network of smart devices all across the world. Our technology is part of a modern smart city that cares for its residents, commuters and visitors,” he added.

10 more benches are expected to be installed across London in the coming months. The benches were previously honoured by the Institute of Sustainability and the Mayor of London’s Office, winning the “Connecting people and creating communities” competition. Each bench costs £5900.

For more information, visit Cities Today.


3 November 2015

Funding offered to help get innovative projects off the ground

Up to €40,000 is being offered by IÖB, an Austrian organisation that aims to enhance the uptake of innovative procurement in the public sector, to help bring procurers’ innovative ideas to life. The fund, which has a total of €80,000 to split between two to four procurers, aims to support the mass production and procurement of innovative ideas that will improve quality of life.

Contracting authorities including ministries, municipalities, provincial government offices, hospitals, schools, and so on can apply for the funds online. To do so, applicants must first fill in a 12 question test, which will determine whether or not their idea is innovative. If they pass the test, they are invited to submit a description of their innovative project by 16 November 2015. A jury will then evaluate all submissions (the evaluation criteria is available to view on the IÖB website).

The amount of funding allocated will be dependent on the points scored during the evaluation check. Once the procurement is underway, successful candidates will be expected to create a final report and submit it together with a financial report to the IÖB service center. To help spread the word about their innovative procurement, the candidates will gain support from the IÖB communications department.

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