The City of Utrecht, the City of Malmö, the City of Ghent, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands are the four winners of the 2022 Procura+ Awards. The Awards were given out at the Procura+ Seminar, hosted by the Municipality of Schaerbeek. The seminar, organised by ICLEI Europe and carried out in collaboration with the COACH project aimed to showcase the key role of sustainable public procurement in the green transition, with a special focus on farm-to-to fork procurement.
The City of Utrecht won an Award in the category Sustainable Procurement of the Year, for applying far-reaching social and sustainable criteria in its food procurement to ensure sustainable, circular, high quality food products for its citizens, reduce packaging and residual flows, and minimise food waste. Additionally, it applied a very strong social angle to its tender, aiming for the most inclusive food choice and introducing a fixed minimum percentage of social return, thereby providing the possibility to even the most vulnerable people to be trained and worked. The Irish Prison Service, which conducted a tender for the removal and recycling or repurposing of discarded mattresses across all 12 of its prisons was a finalist in this category.
Three finalists competed in the newly established Circular Procurement of the Year category, highlighting the increasingly successful uptake of circular procurement projects throughout Europe. The City of Tampere, which used circular criteria to renovate one of its main streets, and the City of Quimper, which reused on-site materials as much as possible during the renovation of its railway station, saw the award go to the City of Malmö. Through the Circular PP project, Malmö has piloted the procurement of “non-new furniture” for its city hall. The city has now replicated this circular approach to road and navigation signs. These include both signs that are used in public buildings and on streets. The municipality aims to reuse these signs as much as possible. When this is not possible, then the signs are sent back for reuse or redesign to the supplier.
Aiming to use locally renewable energy in its public buildings, the City of Ghent, in cooperation with Vlaams Energiebedrijf – VEB (the Flemish Energy Company) – set up a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) for electricity from renewable energy with a citizen energy cooperative. The tender requires the delivery of at least 500 MWh of renewable energy per year. It also requires that the production facility where the electricity is generated is at least half owned by a citizen energy community and that residents of Ghent can participate in the community and invest in the project. For this project Ghent and VEB received the Award in the Procurement Initiative of the Year category. The other finalist, the City of Copenhagen was recognised for it’s ambitious plans to increase the market availability and public procurement of fossil- and emission-free Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM).
Finally, The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy received the Award in the category Innovation Procurement of the Year for challenging the workspace hardware market with its IWR 2021 project. The project included in its scope all ICT hardware for the national offices and employees of the central government, applying sustainability and circularity criteria to all tenders in this category. In doing so, the project set a new standard in the field. For example, this was the first time an ICT tender requested CO2 footprints and carried out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) calculation for all products. For its development of the Procurement Planning Platform (PPP), serving as a backbone for a strategic sourcing approach towards sustainability and innovation, the City of Lisbon was recognised as a finalist in this category.
In addition to presenting the Procura+ Awards the Procura+ Seminar also served as a venue for practical support and exchange opportunities for Procura+ Network participants, strategic partners and experts in the field. As local and regional governments manage a number of key sectors in urban areas they are ideally placed to accelerate the transition to green, circular and sustainable societies. “The pandemic, energy and food security crisis have shown the importance of local authorities as first responders to global challenges. To implement the EU Farm to Fork and EU Green Deal with the support of our citizens, we need to enable local authorities to streamline sustainable procurement practices, strengthen partnerships across the EU, the local, national and EU level, and encourage small local producers to respond to public tenders”, says Thomas Eraly, Alderman for the Municipality of Schaerbeek.
Of relevance to cities’ green future was also the continuing cooperation between the Solar Impulse Foundation and ICLEI. Bertrand Piccard, founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation, addressed the Procura+ Audience to discuss the foundation’s “Solutions for Cities” initiative and the role of public procurement in transitioning to a resource efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible society. The report associated with this initiative – “The Solutions Guide for Cities” – will be published in November 2022 at UNFCCC COP27.
Mark Hidson, Global Director Sustainable Procurement at ICLEI, highlighted that recent global events have shown the vulnerability of global supply chains and the importance of public procurement in finding solutions to such challenges. “Procurement hasn’t yet reached its full potential, but is key to tackle supply chain issues and successfully transform to a resource efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible society. By embedding sustainability and innovation into procurement systems, Procura+ participants are at the heart of this.”