The definitive guide to the Green Public Procurement

  •   December 15th, 2014
  •   Category: Regulations
  •   Posted by: Ecodyger

What’s GPP?

GPP is short for Green Public Procurement and indicates a voluntary instrument of environmental policy designed to encourage the adoption of environmental criteria in procedures for purchase of goods and services by the public administration. In essence it is to take account of environmental aspects when buying goods, services or works.


Implementing the Green Public Procurement means to review the procedures for the purchase of goods and services and for the realization of the works which are not limited to only their cost, but also include environmental impacts they may generate over lifecycle.

GPP means directing public demand towards products, services and public works that:

  • Reduce the use of natural resources;
  • Reduce energy consumption and use renewable energy sources;
  • Reduce waste production;
  • Reduce polluting emissions;
  • Reduce danger and risks;
  • Optimize the offered service.

The 5 phases to implement the GPP

The review of ecological purchasing procedures requires the construction of a series of preparatory activities for the editing/preparation of a tender notice. GPP should therefore be understood as a process consisting of several stages, which go well beyond the purchase of a good or service itself.

Following the instructions given in “Buy Green! Handbook” (link) of the European Commission, a public body that wants to implement GPP should:

  1. Identify the products, services or works more suitable to be made “green”. A product is defined green on the basis of the environmental impact and other factors, such as the presence of environmental information, the availability of the market, the best technologies available, costs and visibility;
  2. Identify your needs and express them appropriately, introducing environmental considerations from the beginning, when the object is fixed , that is, the content of the purchase, and writing clear and precise technical specifications, which meet appropriate environmental parameters;
  3. Establish criteria for the selection of candidates taking into account the green public procurement directives, informing and involving potential suppliers, service providers or contractors that they can use statements and environmental management systems to demonstrate compliance with the criteria in question;
  4. Establish the award criteria to determine the offer presenting the best value for money or the “most economically advantageous” offer. Since the latter is always made up of various sub-criteria, these may also be of an environmental nature. So, even if the contracting authority has not provided specific environmental techniques in the notice, it can still achieve a similar result in the award stage attributing some weighting to the environmental quality of the offers;
  5. Use contract performance clauses to put more relevant environmental conditions in addition to green procurement.

These 5 phases involve the definition of a true Strategy of purchases that is able to:

  • provide for an appropriate training for the purchasing staff;
  • ensuring access to environmental information;
  • determine the priority in choosing the contracts most suitable to support a green policy.

GPP in Italy

In Italy goods and services covered by the “green procurement” by the government are increasing: paper, textiles, furniture, office, food services and internal doors, lighting and computer equipment, energy services for buildings, vehicles for road transport

The GPP in Italy is possible in the transposition of two ministerial decrees, that of April 11, 2008 and the next update of April 10th  2013. A contract of public administration is considered green if the tender notice issued by it contains rules securing certain environmental conditions for a given sector. Companies wishing to participate have to provide goods or services which comply with the environmental conditions laid down.

The push of Europe toward the GPP

At European level, the GPP was encouraged with the publication of the “Green Book on Integrated Product Policy” (link) in 1996.
However, the first major turning point came with the 2004/18/EC (link) and 2004/17/EC (link), rules on public procurement in general and in the special sectors (water, energy, transport and postal services). These two Directives introduce the possibility of including the “environmental variable” as a requirement of procurement and award criteria.

In essence, the implementation of GPP leads to the drafting of green tenders, but not necessarily the preparation of a green tender corresponds to the implementation of a comprehensive policy of GPP.

What are the conditions to say that a public administration adopted the GPP?

We can say that a public entity has adopted the Green Public Procurement if it meets all of the following four conditions:

  1. adopted a policy of green purchasing, pledging to implement it by a formal act;
  2. undertook the necessary information / training within the institution;
  3. defined the objectives of environmental improvement, the percentage of goods and services from eco-convert, goods and services on which to intervene with the introduction of the ecological criteria (could turn into a Plan of Action);
  4. has begun to enter the ecological criteria in public procurement.

GPP and new technologies

The progressive implementation of GPP policies in public administration is giving some attention to new technologies that allow a sustainable management of waste at the source.

Thanks to these technologies is realized a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, since it dramatically reduces the amount of waste that needs to be collected and transported to then be conferred in recovery plants (eg. Industrial composting), biogas or landfills and incinerators. Landfills and incinerators are still the mainly adopted solution in the countries of the former Soviet Union’s recently added to the European Community and the Scandinavian countries. In Scandinavian countries, for example, the transfer to the incinerator remains the first choice in the disposal of solid waste, including organic waste.

Ecodyger and GPP

In concrete, for example, we can point out that a growing number of public authorities in notices that assign the management of the catering of school canteens, hospitals, public companies give relevant points to those who apply to the call and present eco-sustainable solutions in the management of wet waste-organic.

We can cite the recent introduction of Ecodyger Pro (link) in some major hospitals and schools in Milan, Napoli, Cesena, Savona that will be followed shortly by others in Rome, Catania and other important provincial capitals.

We would like also to mention the important evolution in this area of France where there are already significant incentives to all schools that adopt or will soon adopt eco-sustainable solutions, virtuous for energy saving and the management of their organic waste at the source.

GPP is painting the world green

The world of public administrations but also of the private companies is perhaps changing for the better thanks to the GPP and is also starting to play an important role in the green economy. Ii is finally aware of behaviors that take account of environmental aspects at the right times, or when you buy a new good or service.

Regarding us, with Ecodyger, we want to make our contribution to this important change.

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