Green Public Procurement (GPP)

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Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined in the Communication (COM (2008) 400) “Public procurement for a better environment” as "a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.”

According to the European commission, public authorities are major consumers in Europe: they spend approximately 2 trillion euros annually, equivalent to some 19% of the EU’s gross domestic product.

A National Action Plan

The Irish Government’s annual public sector consumption accounts for 10% to 12% of Ireland’s GDP, a sizeable part of economic activity and demand. This provides Ireland’s public sector with considerable leverage to stimulate the marketplace in favour of the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works.

The Public Sector has a responsibility to exercise this leverage, in order to support Ireland’s environmental and wider sustainable development objectives. GPP is widely recognised internationally as an effective means for public administrations to manage the balance between cost effectiveness and sustainable development. Citizens need to be sure that what is procured on their behalf is procured in such a way as to eliminate harmful effects on the environment and society. At the same time, these goods, services and works must represent both short-term and long-term value for money.

The integration of green public procurement principles will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as an innovative, eco-efficient, open and forward-looking place to do business. Many of our public authorities have already made good progress in this regard as exemplified by the examples of best practice cited in the National Action Plan – ‘Green Tenders’ (Jan 2012) published by DECLG and DPER and sets out a template for progress in this area.

Green Procurement – Guidance for the Public Sector

Sept 2014 - Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government launched ‘Green Procurement Guidance for the public sector’ at the Environment Ireland conference.  The guidance was prepared by the EPA in collaboration with a number of state ggencies and government departments.  It is a practical resource tool designed to assist procurers to build green criteria into public tenders and a deliverable under the Government’s National Action Plan for Jobs.

The purpose of the Guidance is to provide a practical overview of the issues at stake, best practice examples and detailed criteria for insertion in tenders. It covers eight sectors:

  • Road transport vehicles and services
  • EnergyConstruction
  • Food and Catering services
  • Cleaning products and Services
  • Textiles and Uniforms
  • Office IT Equipment
  • Paper

Office of Government Procurement

Procurement is a key element of the Government’s Public Service Reform agenda and is a very significant portion of overall spending. The State buys everything from pens and paper, through to ammunition and surgical equipment. In fact, we spend €8.5bn every year on goods and services. In this context, it is essential that the Public Service operates in a co-ordinated and efficient way and delivers sustainable savings for the taxpayer. That is why the Government has established the Office of Government Procurement (OGP)

The OGP commenced operations in 2014 and will, together with four key sectors (Health, Defence, Education and Local Government), take responsibility for sourcing all goods and services on behalf of the Public Service. In addition, the OGP will also take full responsibility for procurement policy and procedures.

Through the OGP and the sector-retained procurement functions, the Public Service will speak with "one voice" to the market for each category of expenditure, eliminating duplication and taking advantage of the scale of public procurement to best effect. This move is in line with best practice in the public and private sector and is part of the continuing reform programme being driven by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.