Projects involving recycled textiles, eco-labelled school buildings and remanufactured furniture emerged as Europe's most sustainable and innovative public procurements at the 2017 Procura+ Awards held on 17 October in Tallinn (Estonia) as part of the eafip Conference on Innovation Procurement. The conference is held in the context of Estonia's Presidency of the EU. The winning public procurers were:
Municipality of Hyvinkää, Finland
Sustainable Procurement of the Year was awarded to the first Nordic Swan eco-labelled pre-school in Finland, which was constructed after a market dialogue process and included sustainability measures on energy use, chemical products, building products and health factors.
Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands
Innovation Procurement of the Year was awarded for two contracts supplying towels, cloths and overalls to Dutch military personnel. This produced estimated savings of 233 million litres of water and 69,000 kg of CO2, based on a technical requirement of textiles containing at least 10% recycled post-consumer textile fibres.
Public Health Wales (National Health Service, UK)
Tender Procedure of the Year was awarded for the use of a supplier open day and contracting social enterprises, Public Health Wales was supplied with over 2,500 furniture items of which only 6% were new purchases. This diverted 41 tonnes of waste from landfill with a CO2 saving of 134 tonnes, creating full time jobs for seven disabled and long term unemployed people.
For more information about the finalists and winners, visit the Procura+ website.
The European Commission has released a communication to the EU Institutions aimed at carrying out public procurement more efficiently and sustainably at a meeting in Strasbourg on 3 October. The Commission is encouraging member states to focus on six priority areas of improvement. It also announced a helpdesk and support mechanism for procurers working on large infrastructure projects, and a targeted consultation on stimulating innovation procurement.
The six priority areas identified for member states are: greater uptake of innovative, green and social criteria in awarding public contracts; professionalisation of public buyers; improving access by SMEs to procurement markets in the EU and by EU companies in third countries; increasing transparency, integrity and quality of procurement data; digitisation of procurement processes; and more cooperation among public buyers across the EU.
Public procurement represents 14% of the EU's GDP, approximately €2 trillion. The Commission recommends that steps should be taken to improve the skills, knowledge and procedural understanding of public procurers, in addition to making better use of digital technology to professionalise the procurement process.
For more information, visit the European Commission website.
The European Commission has launched a call for an Innovation Procurement Broker to develop and implement a sustainable method to facilitate public procurement of innovation (PPI), with a special focus on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency within the European Single Market. The brokers are intended to address a gap in the relationship between those public buyers interested in buying innovative solutions and innovative SMEs, especially startups.
The deadline for proposals is 21 November 2017 and the call is open to consortia coordinated by a public body and involving a public authority. "Innovation brokers" is one of the initiatives suggested in the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative by DG GROW and financed through the COSME programme.
Full details of the call for proposals and guidance for applicants are available online. The successful Innovation Procurement Broker will promote and manage two networks of stakeholders in the European innovation eco-system, advise public buyers on the definition of their actual procurement needs, define innovative products or services which meet these needs, and propose recommendations, provide advice and strengthen knowledge sharing.
For more information, visit the European Commission's Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) website.
The Province of Zeeland (Netherlands) has undertaken an innovation procurement to commission a public works contract to widen a major road in the Netherlands from one to two lanes, and to build four new viaducts.
Zeeland carried out a process of competitive dialogue to take account of the challenges of purchasing bio-based solutions (such as geotextiles, biodegradable underground tree anchoring systems, etc), which are not widely available on the market. This competitive dialogue approach enabled them and potential suppliers flexibility to discuss ways of describing and meeting the needs.
During the dialogue process, the companies responding to the initial expression of interest were asked to deliver two specific bio-based products, plus one or more products from a pre-identified list, provided by the contracting authority, of market-ready bio-based options for on-site piloting. The two bio-based products proposed by the contractor were then applied to the road's under-layer. The winning contractor also piloted the installation of cabinets for traffic light installations made from bio-based composites.
For more information, read the case-study on the InnProBio website.
After almost 3 years, the Horizon 2020 PPI4Waste project ended with an international conference in Brussels on 12 September bringing together public procurers and suppliers committed to boost innovation in the waste sector.
One major conclusion from the PPI4Waste project was the need for a more coordinated approach for PPI in the waste sector. A roadmap for joint or coordinated PPI in waste management was produced by the project partners and will be made available on the project website. Amongst its conclusions, it is recommended to continue the cooperation on the topic of PPI, for example through the communities created during the project.
ICLEI's Procurement Forum will host a successor discussion group on Waste and Resources, open to public procurers, innovation experts and others, as a follow-on from the Interest Group and Purchasing Community established during the project. This will work closely with the UrbanWINS project partnership on resource efficiency and urban metabolism, and feature discussions on PPI in waste, circular economy, legislation and policy, among others.
For more information, visit the PPI4Waste project website.
The UrbanWINS project's CityMatch Exchange Programme has announced its first two study visits in Procura+ network participant cities Rome and Cremona. The aim of the CityMatch Exchange Programme is to foster staff exchange between public authorities to develop competence, share knowledge, ideas and working methods on sustainable an innovation procurement in the waste and resources sector.
The first visit will be hosted by the Metropolitan City of Capital Rome on 12-13 October 2017. Participants will discover how furniture circular procurement and Green Public Procurement monitoring work in practice. The second study visit will be hosted by the Municipality of Cremona on 20-23 November 2017. Participants will be engaged in the European Waste Management week exploring on food and organic resources and waste management collection systems.
Applications to attend either study visit from interested staff in public authorities working in the waste and resources sector are currently being invited and can be sent to Philipp Tepper at the ICLEI European Secretariat. Travel and accommodation costs up to €600 can be covered by the project for attendees.
For more information on staff exchanges, visit the UrbanWINS website.
A new national research and communication project dealing with bio-based products in public procurement is being carried out by the University of Würzburg, Germany. The project’s aim is to bring together and intensify information exchange between public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products. As a result more bio-based products should be purchased by public contracting entities so that the vendors will be put into a better market position. The intensified procuring of bio-based products by public contracting entities will give positive signals to private companies and consumers to do the same.
In order to bring together public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products, scientifically sound knowledge of procurement- as well sales-related processes and issues is needed. Empirical studies are to be conducted periodically in order to analyze developments in time and the effects of measures taken during the project.
In the first empirical study more than 1000 public entities answered a questionnaire to determine their knowledge of procuring bio-based products. Based on the results a web-based communication platform that brings together public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products was developed and implemented.
Public procurers can access the German communication platform here.
Suppliers of bio-based products can use this link.
Six finalists for the 2017 Procura+ Awards have been announced, representing outstanding sustainable and innovation procurements carried out in Europe. All six are competing across three award categories: 'Sustainable Procurement of the Year', 'Innovation Procurement of the Year’ and 'Tender Procedure of the Year'.
The finalists are ATC Torino (Home Territory Agency of Central Piedmont) (Italy) for building energy performance solutions; the Netherlands Institute for Safety for sustainable fire service clothing; Hyvinkää Municipality (Finland), for its eco-labelled pre-school building; Public Health Wales (UK) for remanufacture of office furnishings; City of Lahti (Finland) for asphalt from waste roofing materials; and Ministry of Defence Netherlands for procurement of textiles from recycled fibres.
The winners will be announced and the awards presented as part of the Third Major eafip Event on Innovation Procurement in Tallinn, Estonia on 17 October. The finalists were chosen after extensive deliberations of a jury comprised of procurement experts Philippe le Quement (DG Growth), Maria Pagel Fray and Casper Marott (City of Copenhagen), Paula Trindade (LNEG), Floris den Boer (PIANOo), and Philipp Tepper (ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability).
Jury member Philippe le Quement said: “We were incredibly impressed by the quality of applications to this year’s awards and it was a real pleasure to learn more about the impressive strides being taken across Europe in innovative and sustainable procurement”.
The category 'Innovation Procurement of the Year' acknowledges PPI and public authorities as launch customers, while 'Sustainable Procurement of the Year' rewards the outstanding environmental, social and economic impacts of a procurement. 'Tender Procedure of the Year' recognises exceptional approaches to sustainable and innovation procurement.
For more information on the finalists, visit the Procura+ website. Initiated and co-ordinated by ICLEI, Procura+ is a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement.
The BuyZET project's Observer City Group has been established and an Interest Group comprising cities and public authorities to closely follow the project's activities is currently open to new members. The seven Observer Cities - Brussels (Belgium), Southampton (UK), Bologna (Italy), Jerusalem (Israel), Bielefeld (Germany), Manchester (UK) and Munich (Germany) - will monitor and discuss the activities of the project, participate in expert meetings and join or form Buyers' Groups.
The Interest Group has already recruited Rijkswaterstaat (Netherlands) and the Albanian Ministry of Transport, as well as the cities of Budapest (Hungary), Torres Vedras (Portugal) and Helsinki (Finland). Other cities and public authorities are invited to join the Interest Group to gain access to useful resources and the project’s activities. The Interest Group will enjoy privileged access to project’s activities, access to project meetings and study visits, participation in webinars, buyers groups, access to an online project discussion group and more.
The BuyZET project is a partnership of cities aiming to achieve zero emission urban delivery of goods and services through innovative procurement approaches.
For more information, visit the BuyZET website. To join the BuyZET Interest Group, contact the ICLEI European Secretariat.
The eafip initiative is hosting a Workshop on innovation procurement in public construction open to all public procurers on 14th November 2017 in Prague. The aim of the workshop is to highlight the benefits of innovation procurement of ICT solutions through the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) approaches across Europe, with a particular focus on construction.
The workshop will feature presentations, networking and discussion on the EU funding opportunities for PCP and PPI (in the framework of the Horizon 2020 calls), case studies and lessons learned from previous procurements, and an introduction to the eafip Toolkit for innovation procurement.
The event will be held in English is free of charge. Lunch and coffee will be provided. Registration via this website is compulsory and places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. A provisional agenda is available for consultation here.
For more information and to register online, visit the eafip website.