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Commission Staff working document EU - Green public procurement criteria for food, catering services and vending machines

  • Published on May 19, 2022

EU green public procurement (GPP) criteria are designed to make it easier for public authorities to purchase goods, services and works with reduced environmental impacts. The use of the criteria is voluntary. The criteria are formulated in such a way that they can, if deemed appropriate by the individual authority, be (partially or fully) integrated into the authority’s tender documents with minimal editing. Before publishing a call for tenders, public authorities are advised to check the available offer of the good, services and works they plan to purchase on the market where they are operating. This document lists the EU GPP criteria developed for the food, catering services and vending machines product group. An accompanying technical report provides the full rationale for the selection of these criteria and gives references for further information.

The product group is divided into three parts — food procurement, catering services and vending machines.

The criteria are split into selection criteria, technical specifications, award criteria and contract performance clauses. The criteria are of two types:

Core criteria — which are designed to allow for easy application of GPP, focusing on the key area(s) of environmental performance of a product and aimed at keeping administrative costs for companies to a minimum.

Comprehensive criteria — which take into account more aspects or higher levels of environmental performance, for use by authorities that want to go further in supporting environmental and innovation goals.

The formulation ‘same for core and comprehensive criteria’ is inserted if the criteria are identical for both types.

According to the available evidence from scientific literature, the following conclusions were drawn on the environmental impacts of the product group food, catering services and vending machines through its life cycle:

The key environmental impacts of food procurement are associated with the food’s production and include environmental impacts such as the combustion of fossil fuels and energy use for different activities, land use or land-use change and water use and water pollution. However, there are other environmental impacts that are associated with specific food product categories. These include:

the production and use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers associated with food product groups such as meat, milk and cheese, eggs, fruit and vegetables, bread and cereals, oils and fats and hot and cold drinks;

the soil degradation associated with product groups such as fruit and vegetables, bread and cereals and oils and fats;

emissions of methane and nitrate are environmental impacts associated with various product groups; and

the depletion of fish stocks or the production of feed for fish and the use of antifouling treatment in fish cages associated with fish and seafood.

In terms of catering services, energy and water use are important contributors to the overall environmental impact, as are waste generation and waste management. It should be noted that reducing the food waste is crucial to reducing the overall environmental impact of the catering service.

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