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Partnership for Green Public Procurement in Denmark

  • Published on July 7, 2015
In 2006 the Ministry of the Environment and the three largest municipalities of Denmark (Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense) started the Partnership for Green Public Procurement (GPP). Since then nine municipalities, two regions and a water company have joined. GPP is an effort seeking to protect the environment and drive the market in greener direction by joint procurement measures. The municipalities are responsible for the majority of public procurement and constitute a considerable volume. Today GPP represents ~5,5 billion Euros/year – about 13 % of the annual public procurement in Denmark. GPP is a shortcut to strengthen the specific work with green procurement and strong signal to suppliers on the market that they must have the best and most environmentally sound products. By setting and using uniform criteria it becomes easier for the suppliers to comply with the criteria. The idea is: the more authorities using GPP's criteria the more effect it will have on the market.
The work of the Partnership is constructively and openly aimed at developing concrete green procurement criteria and targets that will make a difference to the environment, locally as well as globally, and at solving procurement challenges in targeted working group processes. The green procurement criteria and targets constitute a guide for municipalities wanting to incorporate environmental requirements in their procurement practices. Moreover, the Partnership is an important forum for sharing knowledge and procurement solutions. The Partnership is based on joint, mandatory green procurement criteria and targets. It strives to renew previous procurement objectives and to formulate new objectives each year, leading to a positive effect on global and local environment. The partnership offers a forum for visibility, sharing experiences with others, and access to environmental professional procurement knowledge and tools. It also encourages to think in long-term and to consider entire lifetime of the products and services, and finally by using uniform environmental criteria it becomes easier for the suppliers to comply with the criteria. For its members, the Partnership sets the following obligations: To follow jointly specified procurement criteria and targets, to have a procurement policy in which environmental concerns play a significant part, to publish the procurement policy on the respective authority's website and to take actively part in the working groups established to solve joint procurement challenges and develop specific criteria within different product areas. The members of the Partnership start following the procurement criteria gradually and depending on the capacity of the member, it may require a long process before all criteria are in full use. The Partnership is supported by a Secretariat financed by the Danish Environment Protection Agency. The objectives of the Partnership and the Secretariat are: 1. To strengthen the organization of the Partnership, internal knowledge sharing and cooperation with relevant actors. - Various events: meetings, seminars and workshops - Dialogue with external parties such as Eco-labelling Denmark - Establishment of a system for knowledge sharing, so that members can easily find relevant examples, good practices and references to employees with similar challenges in other municipalities 2. To expand the circle of partners and stakeholders to achieve more green procurement and make a greater impact on suppliers and manufacturers. - Finding new members - Expanding visibility of the Partnership e.g. by a new website - Collaboration with external stakeholders in planning and implementing of Green Procurement Week 3. To implement procurement objectives in a timely and useful manner. - Implementation of common binding green procurement criteria and targets - Development of best practice cases - Development of advisory material - Development of a practical model for effective implementation of the GPP - Designing and implementing a monitoring system 4. To update existing purchasing goals. - Continuous work with the green procurement criteria and targets includes update of existing criteria and targets, and development of new ones - Old targets are continuously updated to reflect the latest knowledge and technology in the field, considering both national and international legislation. Success factors The growing number of members is a success indicator. Several public entities are interested in joining and the Partnership aims for at least four new members in 2016. The Partnership supports implementation of environmental requirements on procurement and thus influences the market, making a positive impact on the global and local environment. The working groups allow joint learning and handling of joint implementation challenges, which offers the members a peer support based forum for development of green procurement. Novelty The binding procurement targets are a novelty in the Danish context. The launch of the Partnership has contributed significantly to knowledge sharing between the public procurers, this being another main novelty factor. Innovation takes place in the working groups handling joint implementation challenges, testing means of communication, and discussing the next generation procurement targets. The municipalities and regions have a need to get together and work on ways to bring procurement practices beyond the law to do more for the environment than is required. Sustainability Impacts The partners follow the environmental criteria agreed in the Partnership. Following the green procurement criteria has an impact on environment, but the actual total environmental impact has not been calculated. Procurement cases in some member organisations of the partnership show environmental and economic savings. One of the targets of the Partnership for 2014-2016 is to organize a thorough follow-up and collect data on environmental impacts. Cost-effectiveness The Partnership affects cost-effectiveness of public purchases by encouraging the members to work with the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) methodology, providing good examples on cost effective green procurement and setting e.g. energy efficiency criteria within selected product areas. The members of the partnership have agreed to use TCO calculations when procuring energy using products. Where national TCO methods exist these are the ones used (e.g. lighting and professional refrigerators/freezers). Challenges and potential for further development Main challenges of the Partnership include among other actual implementation of the green procurement practices in large organisations; collection of data on the actual volume and impact of green procurement and control of suppliers. Experiences of the members show that it is a challenge to ensure that all links in the members' procurement practices - from local purchases to local childminder - understand the relevance of procurement objectives and comply with these. Therefore, it is important to work for establishing methods for implementation and follow-up of the partners' organizations. The next steps of the Partnership include expanding the Partnership with new members, enhancing internal exchange of experience in the Partnership, support implementation at local level, following the targets, and ensuring international exchange of experience. Strengthening of knowledge sharing and facilitation of learning are also important next steps. To emphasize the importance of green procurement a Nordic Green Procurement week is hosted in 2015. Contact persons for more information: Ann Lea Egebæk, PlanMiljø ApS, Iben Kinch Sohn, Danish Environmental Protection Agency,

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