Meddelelse fra Kommisjonen til Europaparlamentet, Rådet, Det økonomiske og sosiale utvalg og Regionskomiteen: Offentlig innkjøp for et bedre miljø
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Potential benefits of Green Public Procurement (GPP)
Each year European public authorities spend the equivalent of 16% of the EU Gross Domestic Product on the purchase of goods, such as office equipment, building components and transport vehicles; services, such as buildings maintenance, transport services, cleaning and catering services and works (1). Public procurement can shape production and consumption trends and a significant demand from public authorities for "greener" goods will create or enlarge markets for environmentally friendly products and services. By doing so, it will also provide incentives for companies to develop environmental technologies (2).
A more sustainable use of natural resources and raw materials would benefit the environment as well as the overall economy, creating opportunities for emerging "green" economies (3). Such a shift could also boost the competitiveness of European industry by stimulating innovation in eco-technologies – which have been recognised as a high-growth sector where Europe is already a world leader. Studies have confirmed that there is considerable scope for costeffective green public procurement (GPP) - in particular in sectors where green products are not more expensive than the non-green alternatives (taking into account the life cycle cost of the product). (4) As "greener" goods are defined on a life cycle basis, GPP will affect the whole supply chain and will also stimulate the use of green standards in private procurement.
The potential of GPP as a policy instrument has been increasingly recognised, and over recent years there has been growing political commitment at national, EU and international levels. In
2002, the OECD adopted a Recommendation on green public procurement. As a follow-up to the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (September 2002), a Marrakech Task force on sustainable procurement was created with the aim of spreading sustainable (green) public procurement practices. Sustainable procurement policies have been launched in many OECD countries (USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, and South Korea) as well as in rapidly developing countries (such as China, Thailand, and Philippines).
Within the EU, the potential of GPP was first highlighted in the 2003 Commission Communication on Integrated Product Policy where Member States were recommended to adopt national action plans for GPP by the end of 2006. The new European legal framework for public procurement (5) has clarified how public purchasers can include environmental considerations in their procurement processes and procedures. Most recently, the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy (June 2006), set the policy objective for 2010 of bringing the average level of EU green public procurement up to the standard achieved by the best performing Member States in 2006.
This Communication is part of the Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP), which establishes a framework for the integrated implementation of a mix of instruments aimed at improving the energy and environmental performances of products.
Action at the European level
The basic concept of GPP relies on having clear and ambitious environmental criteria for products and services. A number of national criteria and national approaches to GPP have been developed. However, as the use of GPP increases, the criteria used by Member States should be compatible to avoid a distortion of the single market and a reduction of EU-wide competition. Having a single set of criteria would considerably reduce the administrative burden for economic operators and for public administrations implementing GPP. Common GPP criteria would be of a particular benefit to companies operating in more than one Member State as well as SMEs (whose capacity to master differing procurement procedures is limited).
Environmental criteria do exist at the European level – for e.g. under the EU Eco-label (6); the Energy Star Regulation(7); the Ecodesign for energy-using products Directive (8). Some recent proposals also aim at setting criteria which will be useful for GPP, such as the proposal for a revision of the Ecodesing for energy-using products Directive, which provides for the setting of both minimum requirements and advanced performance benchmarks, the proposal for a Directive on the promotion of clean and energy efficient vehicles (9) which establishes a harmonised methodology for calculating the lifetime cost of pollutant emissions and fuel consumption and the proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (10) which includes sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids and may involve –in future- the setting up of sustainability criteria for biomass, including forest biomass.
The more in-depth development and setting of environmental criteria and their interrelation and potential use for GPP are core elements of the Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy. The Action Plan aims, in particular, to establish a dynamic framework to improve the energy and environmental performance of products and foster their uptake by consumers. This will include setting ambitious standards throughout the market, ensuring that products are improved by a systemic approach to incentives and innovation and ensuring that demand underpins this policy. The specific elements of relevance for public procurement will be discussed in more detail below.
Obstacles to the take-up of GPP
To date, the potential of GPP has only partially been exploited. At the beginning of 2008 only
14 Member States had adopted national action plans (twelve more Member States are working towards the adoption of a plan or a strategy)11. The main obstacles to increased take-up are:
• Limited established environmental criteria for products / services – and where these do exist there are often insufficient mechanisms, such as databases, to publicise them.
• Insufficient information on life cycle costing of products and the relative costs of environmentally friendly products / services.
• Low awareness of the benefits of environmentally friendly products and services.
• Uncertainty about legal possibilities to include environmental criteria in tender documents.
• The lack of political support and resulting limited resources for implementing / promoting GPP (improved training is particularly necessary).
• The lack of a coordinated exchange of best practice and information between regions and local authorities.
1 It's worth noting that for most public authorities, construction and renovation works, and running costs of buildings represent a major share of annual expenditure, in some cases over 50 %
2 An environmental technology is any technology designed to prevent or reduce the environmental impacts, at any stage of the life cycle of products or activities.
3 UNEP Year Book 2008
4 Life cycle costs should cover the purchase price and associated costs (delivery, installation, commissioning…), operating costs (including energy, spares, maintenance) and end-of-life costs such as decommissioning, removal and disposal.
5 Directives 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors, and Directive 2004/18/EC 18 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts. '6 Regulation (EC) No 1980/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on a revised Community Eco-label Award Scheme, currently being revised
7 Regulation (EC) No 106/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on a Community energy –efficiency labelling programme for office equipment; Whilst the Energy Star is a voluntary label, the Regulation makes the use of the underlying requirements mandatory for central government authorities and Community Institutions in public procurement contracts falling within the scope of the Public Procurement Directives
8 Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2005 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products
9 COM (2007)817 final of 19.12.2007; the proposal would establish a harmonised methodology for calculating the lifetime cost of pollutant emissions and fuel consumption (external costs) of vehicles and would require contracting authorities and public transport operators to use this methodology when calculating the overall price of a vehicle for procurement decisions
10 COM (2008) 19 final of 23.1.2008; the proposal includes sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids and provides that the Commission shall report on requirements for a sustainability scheme for energy uses of biomass, other than biofuels and other bioliquids, by 31 December 2010 at the latest.