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24 May 2016

Save the date: Procura+ Seminar 2016

ICLEI in cooperation with the Forum CompraVerde-BuyGreen conference have announced the 2016 Procura+ Seminar, which will take place 14 October 2016 in Rome, Italy. The full-day seminar is organised together with the SPP Regions and GPPbest project consortia.

The Procura+ series of seminars provide an opportunity for face-to-face exchange amongst purchasers from all levels of government and procurement stakeholders. The 2016 Seminar will explore how working together in networks – from regional to European level – can increase capacity and support implementation of sustainable and innovation procurement. The programme will include keynote presentations, workshops and interactive sessions aimed at building and strengthening existing networks.

The Procura+ Participants and Strategic Partners meeting will take place on the afternoon of 13 October, the day before the Procura+ Seminar. All are welcome to attend, get involved and receive a flavour of the activities the Procura+ Network has to offer.

Detailed information about the events will be made available on the Procura+ website. You can contact ICLEI with any questions or queries at rome2016@iclei.org.

28 April 2016

ICLEI celebrates 20 years of work on Sustainable Public Procurement

Last night, ICLEI marked 20 years of work on sustainable procurement at a ceremony in Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum. The event formed part of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns and also provided the opportunity to showcase the new-look SP Platform and the revamped Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. Over the last 20 years, through its activities on sustainable and innovation procurement, ICLEI has been involved in 150 projects; organised 100 conferences, seminars and workshops; trained over 2,000 people; supported 300 cities in more than 50 countries, and saved 1 million tonnes of CO2.

Over the last two decades, many ICLEI Members have been including sustainability criteria in their procurement policies and procedures to achieve resource efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible societies. ICLEI has also worked with sustainable procurement experts from cities across Europe on numerous projects and initiatives related to SPP. These include specific initiatives such as installing 20,000 energy efficient light bulbs in Copenhagen (Denmark), broad policy aims such as Rotterdam’s (The Netherlands) commitment to 100 percent green procurement from 2015 onwards and European-wide initiatives such as the GPP 2020 project, which has brought together central purchasing bodies across Europe to achieve savings of over 700,000 tonnes CO2e to date.

“In 20 years a lot has been achieved in the field of sustainable procurement. We have had the pleasure of working with committed and creative experts from cities large and small to develop and implement sustainable procurement strategies which have helped to create low-carbon, socially responsible societies.The work done so far provides a good basis for continuing to strengthen our relationships and contribute positively to the sustainable and innovation procurement community over the next 20 years,” said Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre. Organisations or public authorities involved in sustainable procurement are invited to share their achievements and thoughts on SPP using the hashtag #SPPecialists.

For more information, visit SP Platform.

18 March 2016

€130 million in funding available for innovation procurement

The European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme is making €130 million in funding available for pre-commercial procurement (PCP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) projects. The funding will be available in the areas of research infrastructures, ICT, health, security, energy, transport, space, and climate change and environment. The deadline for submitting a proposal to the open call is 12 April 2016.

90 percent of the coordination and procurements costs for PCP activities in any domain of public interest that requires ICT based solutions will be financed. The call is targeted at procurers from different countries that are facing similar challenges and wish to undertake a PCP together. A list of potential partners in the form of key ICT procurers within EU Member States is available on the eafip website.

The funding rate for PPI activities is at 35 percent. PPI works to make public services more dynamic through employing innovative solutions, while PCP focuses on the development and testing of innovative solutions from the ground up. Further details of how to access EU funding for innovative procurement are available on the Europa website.

For more information, visit ec.europa.eu

1 March 2016

Rotterdam unveils plans to reduce city centre traffic pollution

A new environmental zone in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) has halved the number of severely polluting cars entering the city. Every day up to 700,000 vehicles enter Rotterdam, of which 1.18 percent were older models whose emissions were considered extremely harmful. From 1 January 2016 the Dutch city announced that such vehicles would be banned from entering. Since then, the number of dirtier cars in the city has dropped to 0.66 percent.

There is currently no penalty for violating the ban. However, from 1 May drivers flouting the new rules will be hit with a €90 fine. Deputy Mayor of the City of Rotterdam Pex Langenberg said that the results were pleasing, but also reminded citizens to take advantage of the car-scrapping scheme to get rid of their dirty vehicles once and for all.

Rotterdam is offering a subsidy of between €1,000 to €2,500 for citizens to scrap their old vehicles, and an additional subsidy if they buy an electric car. The exclusion of vehicles that do not meet the new environmental zone target cuts emissions of soot by between 20 and 30 percent, the city calculates.

For more information, visit gezonderelucht.nl [in Dutch].

1 December 2015

Study shows that use of innovative materials could reduce road emissions

If conventional materials and construction processes were to be replaced by more innovative, environmentally friendly alternatives, the total emissions released in the laying of new roads in the Netherlands could be cut by around a third, a new study suggests. A selection of road types representative of Dutch transport corridors were used to establish a baseline reading, which took into account emissions from construction, maintenance, and lighting.

Innovative materials that could reduce emissions include: treatments that increase the lifespan of binder materials in asphalt; low-temperature asphalt production processes; and road lighting powered by LEDs or renewable energy. Lighting is responsible for around one fifth of road emissions in the Netherlands, meaning there is considerable scope for improvement through the use of innovative lighting. Dutch road infrastructure currently produces 2200 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalents per year, which new materials could reduce to 1600 kilotonnes annually, the study found.

Through Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch infrastructure body, the Netherlands has introduced a green procurement policy for all road construction projects, which takes into account the life cycle cost of the overall construction. It also encompasses a CO2 emissions certification scheme that calculates the carbon footprint of companies working on the projects. The EU has set a target for the European transport sector to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2050 compared to the level recorded in 1990.

For more information, download the Science for Environment Policy [PDF].

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.

9 November 2015

The Metropolitan City of Turin wins the International Forum CompraVerde Award - Best Policy GPP

The Metropolitan City of Turin has been awarded the International Forum CompraVerde Award – Best Policy GPP, within the category of Public Administration Section medium-large. The jury selected the Metropolitan City of Turin because of its green public procurement policy, established and steadily developed over the years with APE Project. Their capacity to engage other organisations in the area has expanded the impact of green purchasing in terms of environmental protection.

This has been the eight edition of this award dedicated to public adminIstration implementing green public procurement practices.

Forum CompraVerde pursues to be a meeting point for different actors involved in expanding and sharing knowledge in the field of green public procurement. The objectives of CompraVerde are to promote a widespread culture of GPP, offer a place for of good practices of public, private and no-profit companies; support networking and discussion between institutions, enterprises and organized civil society; make demand and products/ services supply meet, and support green products production.

29 October 2015

Check the six reports on best practice in regional SPP/PPI networks

Three existing network SPP Regions partners – Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat (Barcelona region), Acquisti Pubblici Ecologici (Torino region) and RGO (West France region) – and three other regional SPPI networks – ÖBS (Austria), Partnership on Green Public Procurement (Denmark) and Regione Autonoma della Sardegna (Italy) – have documented their experience in six best practice reports.

The documents focus on aspects that are relevant to potential replication in other regions, such as organisation structure, activities and tools, hurdles identified, monitoring of activities and results, and major successes achieved.

These reports will help new established networks within the SPP Regions project to develop their implementation plans, as well as new regions that might be interested in joining the project. The six reports can be downloaded from the Resources section of the SPP Regions website.

28 October 2015

Austrian wastewater recycling system wins prize for most innovative procurement in Europe

The procurement of a machine that vaporises waste-water to remove waste particles saw the Federal Procurement Agency of Austria awarded the Public Procurement of Innovation Award at a ceremony in Paris (France) last night. The Federal Procurement Agency received a trophy for innovation procurement excellence, together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”. They will also have a case study published on the Procurement of Innovation Platform in the coming weeks.

Four other finalists from across Europe were also in competition for the award (more information on each finalist is available on the PPI Platform website). “The quality of each of the finalists meant that choosing the overall winner was very difficult. It was an exceptionally close competition,” said Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director at ICLEI Europe and jury member. “We felt that the procurement of the vaporising system best showcased the impressive work being carried out, as well as the type of solution that public procurement of innovation can achieve. The procurement brought together the institutional knowledge of public procurers with the ingenuity of the private sector.”

The innovative solution is used by the Austrian mint to clean water contaminated during the production of coins and notes. Vaporisation of the waste-water takes place in a vacuum, allowing for fresh water and waste particles to be separated. Once the filtering process is complete, 97 percent of the water can be reused. The ceremony was held as part of the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement event, organised by EAFIP.

For more information, visit the PPI Platform.

22 October 2015

Energy Performance Contracting helps cities to replace inefficient street lights

An innovative method of financing the upgrade of street lights is being promoted to local governments by a new EU-funded project. Street lighting can account for up to 50 percent of a municipality’s total electricity consumption - by applying modern technology, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs), a reduction in electricity use of between 30 and 70 percent can be achieved.

The Streetlight-EPC project helps local authorities to avail of Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), a process whereby replacement and refurbishment costs are covered by an external energy service company (ESCO), who is then reimbursed through the cost savings generated as a result of the lower electricity consumption. As such, the ESCO will not receive payment unless significant energy savings are achieved.

The EPC approach has the benefit of transferring the risk from the local authority to the ESCO. The project is carrying out EPC projects in nine European regions, including the establishment of helpdesks that provide support to municipalities and SMEs. The project is particularly timely, as under an EU Regulation 80 percent of currently used street lamps are to be phased out by 2017.

For more information, visit the Streetlight-EPC website.