How Green Public Procurement is becoming based on transparent metrics
If you sell to the government, you’d better understand full product transparency.
The real demand for sustainability is coming from B2B and public procurement. There are three key buying powers in the world today: governments, corporates and citizens. Both government and corporate procurement teams are now making big buying decisions through tendering processes, based not just on price but also on the environmental and social facts surrounding a particular product or service. The problem today is that there is little or no transparency on the real social and environmental impacts of products and services, so buyers from government and the corporate world have to invest vast amounts of time and money developing lengthy and time-consuming sustainability questionnaires. Often the focus of these is less on relevant aspects of the product or service and more on labels and certificates, which are pounced upon as some kind of proxy environmental assurance. FPT, however, will enable public and B2B procurers to make informed choices based on real facts, while saving lots of time and money on the wasteful bureaucracy that is connected with form-filling.
Public procurement is a huge market and it’s a willing one
According to the European Commission white paper, Public Procurement for a Better Environment each year European public authorities spend up to 16% of the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product on products and services such as buildings, transport, cleaning services and food. This amounts to approximately 2 trillion euros annually. That is massive by anyone’s standards. Imagine the transformational power that could be brought into being if this buying power was used to favour goods and services with lower impacts on the environment. Through their procurement policies, governments could make a significant contribution to the speedy development of a market for sustainable goods. As we have seen previously in the car industry, new legislation can change the rules of the game dramatically, and regulation to introduce sustainability into government procurement would certainly do that. That’s why Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been adopted and targets set in 21 member states.
Here are some EU figures.
CO2 emissions would be cut by 15 million tonnes per year if the whole of the European Union adopted the same environmental criteria for lighting and electronic equipment as the city of Turku in Finland, where citizens have reduced electricity consumption by 50%. If the European public sector alone were to adopt the Danish Ministry of the Environment’s guidelines for cars, CO2 emissions would be cut by around 100,000 tonnes per year and fuel and operating costs by a third. But if all cars operating in Europe met these standards, then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 220 million tonnes, contributing significantly to the EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020.
This is an example of a simple yet very powerful and wide reaching action that could immediately reduce our negative impact on the planet by dramatically reducing emissions and pollution.