The Procura+ Awards recognise four categories of excellence:

Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year, Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT,  and Procurement Initiative of the Year.

Read on for more information on the winner and runner-up in each category.

Who were the judges?

The entries for the 2019 Procura+ Awards are assessed by a jury of procurement experts and policy makers:

  • Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö, Procura+ Network Chair
  • Paulo Magina, Head of Public Procurement Unit, OECD
  • Marzena Rogalska, Director, DG Grow
  • Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre

Sustainable Procurement of the Year

Recognising the outstanding environmental, social and economic impacts of the procurement.



Working in partnership with suppliers for responsible workwear

In line with the social responsibility requirements in its procurement policy, Procura+ participant the City of Ghent launched a pilot procurement for ethically produced workwear. After researching best practices in textile procurement and conducting a market analysis of fair and ethically produced clothing, Ghent realised that the market was not ready to deliver the level of environmental and social impact required.

The city decided to divide the framework agreement into five lots that required varying degrees of social and environmental performance and developed a toolbox that defines each level of performance, and the proof bidders had to submit. It also details the supplier journey towards more responsible workwear, which they commit to through contract clauses. Supplier performance will be verified by third parties, with Ghent also working in partnership with them to deliver on the improvements. 



Sustainable framework contract for cleaning services

In 2018, the Catalan Government re-awarded the framework agreement for cleaning services for all administrative buildings and education facilities, intending to increase the green and social considerations.  All cleaning products used by contractors were required to adhere to high environmental performance criteria, including specification of products with EU EcoLabel.

The tender also included green criteria and clauses for waste management, vehicles and textiles, and social criteria and clauses. The Catalan Government divided the contract into lots, with one lot reserved for special employment centres and reintegration companies. Bidders were asked to submit a monitoring plan to ensure that they could meet sustainability requirements. During audits in the contract phase, the Catalan Authorities found several non-compliance cases and were able to work with the suppliers to improve the environmental and social performance of the services.

Innovation Procurement of the Year

Recognising the outstanding innovation of the procurement and the public authority as a launch customer.


Municipality of Frederiksberg Denmark

Innovation partnership for decentralised cloudburst management

Frederiksberg needed to reduce the load on its existing drain network and used an innovation partnership to develop customised solutions for cloudburst management. The municipality held a market dialogue to inform interested market actors about the upcoming procurement and the Innovation Partnership process.

Two consortia developed useable products and solutions that the city can procure, with constant improvement built into the contract. Both solutions catch rainwater and release it when the sewers are ready. The underground basins also use the stored rainwater to water trees and green areas, reducing operation and maintenance including time, water, fuel for the trucks and CO2.



Sustainable innovation for a retro stadium

The City of Helsinki had to find an innovative solution when modernising the Olympic Stadium seats to be environmental, low maintenance and long lifetime, but also in line with the heritage laws for renovating the arena, built in 1938.

An innovation partnership, with partners chosen based on a prototype, development plan and a preliminary cost-estimate, enabled the city to evaluate the possible solutions more effectively. In a process that lasted nearly three years, the Procura+ participant Helsinki first entered into a dialogue with suppliers, selected innovation partners, assessed the innovations and finally procured a solution made from circular materials, with a 40 year lifetime and designed for easy recycling. The entire process allowed bidders the space to innovate and provide new and sustainable solutions not previously on the market.

Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT

Recognising the outstanding application of Procurement of Innovation and Pre-commercial procurement of ICT.



Open cloud data storage innovation through pre-commercial procurement

Ten public research organisations from seven European countries have joined forces in a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) to meet the demands of large scale scientific projects for big data storage and analysis tools. The consortium requires a service that is more adaptable to changing needs, provides a cloud-based system designed specifically for science and research, increases standardisation, benefits from economies of scale, and offers appropriate service payment models for research bodies using it. The result of the multi-stage PCP process was the pilot Helix Nebula Science Cloud. This cloud-based system makes it possible to host the service in new data centres with excellent power usage effectiveness. The services will be made accessible to a broader set of public research and higher education bodies, supporting future cutting edge research. 





Robotization and automation of library services

The City of Helsinki identified the need to automate the Oodi Library’s internal logistics, making the operation of physically demanding and monotonous tasks more efficient and freeing up library staff to dedicate themselves to more fulfilling jobs. No off-the-shelf product existed to meet these demands, so the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure department launched an innovation partnership. The nature of the tender attracted many SMEs. The procured solution consists of three autonomous mobile robots and two collaborative industrial robotic arms, and background systems, components for machine vision and other hardware required. The system can replace and transport book bins, reshelve bestsellers, and transport shelves. It is in operation in public areas of the library, which makes it a unique automation solution. The procurement inspired companies specialising in library automation to come up with new solutions and opened up a new market for robotics.

Procurement Initiative of the Year

Recognising outstanding processes and actions towards strategic, sustainable and innovation procurement.



City-wide recycled concrete in buildings

In 2005 the City of Zurich made the construction of public buildings with recycled concrete mandatory. Since then, the average recycled material share in concrete has gone up without hampering the quality or safety of buildings. Since 2015, Procura+ participant Zurich has also required the use of CO2 reduced cement when procuring new buildings.

A ‘mock-up wall’ addressed the concerns of architects and other stakeholders regarding the aesthetic quality of recycled and CO2 reduced concrete. In some structures, as much as 98% of concrete used now comes from recycled sources.

Zürich has saved around 17,000m3 of virgin materials (and landfill space) through the use of recycled concrete in buildings alone. The city is now increasing recycled asphalt, with up to 30% recycled material used in new road foundations and 60% reclaimed asphalt in the road base.



Practical deployment of green purchasing among the Basque public sector

The Green Public Procurement Programme of the Basque Country 2020, established by the Basque Environmental Management Company IHOBE, has the objective to achieve a practical, operational and coordinated deployment, involving the main actors: public buyers, suppliers, end users and the agents creating guidance.

The Programme establishes five strategic lines to ensure its progress: development of technical content; integrating contracting procedures into tools; training for agents; coordination with the market; and communication, dissemination and networking.

Among the actions as part of the programme, Ihobe developed three levels of green criteria for inclusion in tenders, along with a checklist for suppliers, and a tool designed to serve as a guide for companies. Over 200 public entities have incorporated environmental criteria in tenders totalling €331m. By leading actively on green procurement, other variables such as social or gender equality can be included in purchases and policies too.


The Procura+ Awards entries have all been of great value and we were delighted to receive so many high quality applications. A little information on each nominee and their tender can be found below:


National framework contract for sustainable and innovative lighting

The Italian central purchasing body Consip launched a national framework contract for outdoor lighting services, which included an energy performance contract that commits suppliers to energy savings targets through innovative solutions. Bidders with promising levels of energy savings received discounts during the awarding procedure.

Consip divided the framework into twelve geographic lots, with one lot awarded. The energy savings the new contract achieved for this one lot amounts to 15,000 tonnes of CO2. The lots allow for smart city add-ons - such as air quality monitoring, electric vehicle charging points, and wi-fi access - to improve territories for citizen benefit. A relatively long contract duration period allowed contractors to hire more permanent staff and include the local community in the provision of the lighting services. 


Smart purchase of organic food

To meet its aim for 80% organic and locally produced food in schools and nursing homes, the Procura+ participant City of Växjö introduced an electronic procurement portal for use by all city staff.

Suppliers that provide organic food are highlighted on the system, encouraging procurers to choose the bio option. Växjö created lots and entered framework contracts with multiple suppliers for the same food category, which opens access to the contract and reduced pressure on smaller suppliers to provide the entire annual demand for a product group.

Växjö achieved 42% organic food, 23% locally produced food and 9% of both organic and local food in their public canteens in 2018. The city is also working with a consolidation centre to organise the distribution of food supplies efficiently, which led to 175 tonnes of CO2 savings in the same year.


Lozano Blesa University Clinical Hospital Spain

Smart laundry and clothing management and production service

University Clinic Hospital "Lozano Blesa" (HCLB) washes over 1.4m kg of laundry per year. Its previous facility was more than 25 years old and operating inefficiently, so HCLB launched a public procurement of innovation process (PPI) to purchase an intelligent laundry system.

A needs assessment showed that HCLB required complete technological industrialisation of both services, increase in capacity, improve ergonomics for worker health, energy reduction, and optimisation of distribution, storage and traceability of laundry. A three-year PPI process, which included preliminary market dialogue, has resulted in performance clauses requiring a minimum 20% reduction in chemical, water and energy consumption, as well as economic savings. A ‘progress clause’ ensures that equipment and digital technologies are kept up-to-date during the contract period.


Innovation partnership for a new wildfire detection system

Up-to-date information about wildfire risk is crucial for determining preparedness for the fire services and communicating to citizens. The Netherlands Institute for Safety and Netherlands Fire Service launched an innovation partnership to develop a solution for advanced detection of wildfire, which improves response times and reduces the risk of uncontrollable wildfire. Four companies signed up via the Dutch government's online tendering system, TenderNed.

After the second phase, two participants left were funded to develop a prototype, with the supplier offering the best solution now an innovation partner. The process resulted in a product that previously did not exist on the market, and will save CO2 through fewer fires and efficient distribution of fire service vehicles.


Joining forces to create a smart city platform

SELECT for Cities identified the need to develop joined-up smart city solutions so that the marketplace is interconnected, and different cities can use the same operating systems for user interfaces and applications. SELECT launched a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) project to develop a data-driven, Internet of Everything (IoE) platform for large scale urban co-creation. The PCP consists of three phases: the concept design, where bidders show how they conceptualise the platform; the prototyping phase; and finally living lab pilots. The developed platform is open-source and can support innovative solutions across multiple cities by acting as an interface between different IoE service components and allowing automated testing and validation of services. The cities of Antwerp and Helsinki will be able to integrate the new platform and services into their already existing smart and participatory city plans.


Towards citywide zero-emission delivery of goods and services

After investigating the scale of the impact that delivery of goods and services has to the traffic volumes and emissions in the urban area, the City of Oslo developed guidance and environmental criteria to be used in procurements of all goods and services which involve an element of transportation in their delivery.

Oslo has applied the criteria and requirements in several citywide framework agreements, including services such as food and catering, locksmith, occupational health, cleaning, office supplies and charging stations for electric cars. Suppliers have won tenders based on their ability to use zero-emission vehicles and route optimisation solutions. For the first eight contracts applying the approach, estimated annual CO2 emissions reductions are 62 tonnes, with the figure rising to 494 tonnes CO2 if including deliveries to other customers with the same vehicles.


Making SPP easier for all through a web tool

The Dutch Government makes €73 billion of purchases annually and therefore has a significant impact environmentally and socially. Therefore the Dutch Minitsry of Infrastructure and Water Management Rijkswaterstaat wanted to create a web tool for easier application of sustainable public procurement criteria at an ambition level which fits the procuring authority. The tool allows a procurer to choose levels of criteria, from basic at Level 1, significant at Level 2, to ambitious at Level 3.

Since November 2018, almost 9,000 users performed 14,500 sessions, averaging 130 sessions per day, with popular groups including roads and construction, IT hardware, electricity and catering. Initial projections indicate that after two years, eight product groups from the 45 will show a reduction in greenhouse gas emission of more than 4.9 megatonnes CO2, equivalent to the average annual emissions from transport and energy of more than 600,000 households.


The Procura+ Awards 2019 also received additional entries from the following organisations

Digipolis - ICT for Ghent and Antwerp, Belgium

LIPOR - Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Porto, Portugal

Barcelona City Council, Spain

City of Söderhamm, Sweden 

Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, HSY, Finland

Service Centre Helsinki, Finland

City of Ottignies, Belgium

Xunta de Galicia - Galician Innovation Agency, Spain

City of Torres Vedras, Portugal

Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, The Netherlands

Forum Virium Helsinki - FABOLUS Project

City of Haarlem, The Netherlands

The 2019 Procura+ Awards are supported by the Procure2Innovate project.