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 2020 Procura+ Awards are assessed by a jury of procurement experts and policy makers:

  • Marzena Rogalska, Director, European Commission DG Grow
  • Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Advisor, OECD
  • Johanna Enberg, Strategist Innovation Procurement, Swedish Competence Centre for Innovation Procurement
  • 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.



Aiming for the sky in circular construction

Kamp C, the Flemish centre for sustainability and innovation, placed circularity at the heart of their new office development project.

To encourage a partnership approach and long-term commitment, they asked consortia of architects, engineers and builders to bid together for a 20 year design, build, maintain and energy (DBME) contract. The three-stage tendering process focused on functional rather than rigid specifications, giving room to the three bidding consortia to think of creative ways of meeting Kamp C’s ambitions. Through competitive dialogue, the bidders were encouraged to develop circular thinking across 7 topics, including materials, design finance and energy consumption. The contract value was fixed from the start, removing any pressure to compete on price.

The project, which is now complete, has become a flagship example of circular construction in Flanders, and inspired 50 companies and 75 public authorities to learn about the procurement of circular buildings.



Creating a local circular economy in construction and demolition

As the old gymnasium of the Félix Le Dantec highschool started to need replacement, the Council of the Brittany Region (France) placed circular economy objectives at the core of the demolition contract.

Having performed a waste assessment, assessed local demand for recycled concrete and measured the volume and quality of materials that could be recovered from the existing buildings, they searched for a supplier who could meet their ambitions. The contractor would deconstruct the building in a way allowing over 90 percent of materials to be recovered, build a storage and processing platform on a nearby site and keep noise and traffic from the works to a minimum.

Through a  social clause, the contract also secured  210 hours of work and tutoring for people excluded from the job market and an educational project for the school’s students. 

The information gathered during the market assessment and the building of a permanent storage platform will support other deconstruction initiatives in the region.


Innovation Procurement of the Year

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



Innovation procurement for extensive reconstruction

In 2017, the City of Koprivnica set off to become the first public body in Croatia to start, run and deliver a process of Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI).

One of the City’s kindergartens was suffering from serious structural defects that should have led to its demolition. However, demolishing it to reconstruct a new building would have resulted in high economic and environmental costs that the city was keen to avoid. Consequently, it used a PPI process with competitive dialogue to procure a solution to enhance the lifetime of the building. The intent was also to create a concept that would be replicable in other buildings.

The City carried out an extensive needs assessment and published its goals through thorough market engagement, which included a dedicated project prospectus and a suppliers’ workshop. In 2019, it issued the call for tenders to secure a Design & Build partner. Quality and innovation criteria attracted 50 per cent of all marks available.

The completed project extended the lifetime of the building by over 20 years for a cost 50% lower than a traditional new-build project, simultaneously delivered significant energy efficiency improvements. Through those results, Koprivnica is keen to demonstrate that small municipalities can be true leaders in the field of innovative  procurement. This project was a part of an EU project Prominent MED, Interreg MED programme.



Innovation in ICT procurement to promote sustainable and fair supply chains

Procura+ participant City of Malmö found that the way they traditionally purchased ICT equipment did not meet their sustainability ambitions. They therefore looked for a strategic partner who could help improve their purchasing practices and leverage the City’s spending power to drive changes in the ICT market.

Through a market dialogue procedure, they invited ICT resellers to propose a framework for ensuring any equipment purchased by the city met the highest sustainability standards. Bidders were also asked to propose solutions for the recycling of obsolete ICT. Finally, the tender criteria invited them to commit to take part in regular discussions with the city on the topic through a dedicated Sustainability Forum.

The exercise was successful, making the arrangement between Malmö and its strategic partner the first of its kind in Sweden. Thanks to this contract, the City now consistently purchases a majority of certified ICT products and has recycled over 7,500 obsolete ICT objects. Malmö also takes part in their partner’s advisory board, coming together with other ICT users to discuss ways to push the industry towards greater sustainability.

Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT

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



Developing ICT solutions for smart and efficient building management

The Austrian federal real estate agency (BIG) owns and manages more than 2,200 properties across Austria, with over 500,000 using the buildings every day. The buildings include public buildings such as schools and universities. BIG wanted to improve use efficiency of the building and the user experience with the help of a facility management app that would allow users to book rooms, thereby increase occupancy efficiency, and at the same time allow for smart heating/lighting management. The app was also required to include information on public transport services, routing through large buildings, and canteen menus. BIG opted for an innovation partnership because the required solution was not available on the market. Two companies entered the partnership with BIG and are currently developing a solution, which by the end of the process will also be made available to third parties.  






PCP for on-demand driverless public transport

The Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) project FABULOS (Future Autonomous Bus Urban Level Operation Systems) is the first European PCP on smart urban mobility and on automated driving. The project is developed by six public authorities with the goal to develop a turnkey transport-as-a-service solution, including software, hardware, fleet and services.

3 vehicles are currently tested, driving in regular urban traffic (with speeds of 30km/h).  After an open market consultation, the group selected 5 consortia to be eligible to enter the next stages: Solution design, prototyping and lab testing, and the final phase, field testing. At each stage, only selected suppliers could proceed with eventually 3 supplier consortia advancing to the field testing stage. Once the developed solutions are tested and selected, the solution is tendered by the participating authorities and one supplier will be selected. The project is a major push toward automated public transport and can pave the way towards more coherent and safe regulation around procuring and operating these solutions.



Procurement Initiative of the Year

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



A cooperative approach to supplier management to achieve a circular and sustainable city

The Procura+ participant City of Haarlem aims to procure green, fair and circular. The city is also committed to transition into a gas free city with a circular economy in which cooperation between businesses, government, knowledge institutions and citizens ensures effectiveness, innovation and sustainability. Throughout its procurements, the city aims for a cooperative approach with its suppliers, that makes sure suppliers and contractors are aligned with Haarlem’s vision of a green and circular city. 

Wherever possible, Haarlem opts for functional requirements that allows suppliers to develop their own solutions, while helping Haarlem to achieve its goals. For a recent framework agreement for public space maintenance and construction work execution, after the selection stage, the city asked bidders to submit proof of how they would collaborate with the city and its inhabitants (participation in decision making), how they would implement sustainability and circularity, cost effectiveness and political sensibility.

Haarlem also includes so called social return on investment clauses in all its contracts. The contract partners have the obligation to spend 4% of their yearly revenue on including vulnerable to exclusion groups in their workforce. Among others, Haarlem’s initiative has led to decreased traffic congestion, a local hub for raw materials, and increased cooperation with its citizens on major reconstruction works. 



Combining innovation and sustainability competence centres to bring procurement to the next level
The Austrian federal procurement agency BBG is Autria’s central public purchasing body, that negotiates and offers framework agreements to all public purchasers. In 2017, the agency decided to integrate sustainability and innovation in the core process of the public procurement services it offers.

Previously, BBG operated both the Austrian competence centre for innovation procurement as well as the sustainable procurement service centre. By integrating these two services, BBG wanted to create synergies and increase the share of innovative and sustainable products in its portfolio and became a reliable partner for Austrian federal and local public purchasing bodies in delivering on societal goals. As a result, BBG has enabled companies that offer sustainable and innovative services to increasingly participate in tenders and has raised awareness among its clients that sustainable and innovation procurement can offer economic, environmental and social benefits.


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:


For its programme of sustainable school meals

The City of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) has embarked on a journey to transform its school catering system into a model of sustainability. In close discussion  with students, parents and the market, it procured in 2018 the services of a local catering SME willing to take on this challenge.

Social and environmental objectives were at the core of the tendering process. Award criteria encouraged bidders to simultaneously reduce food waste, source organic products, design low-carbon menus to suit children’s tastes and support vulnerable adults through job opportunities.

A strong partnership developed between the pilot school and the supplier, fostering innovation through trial and error. 

Two key ideas characterise the contract: a progressive adaptation of the demand for sustainable food products dependant on the available supply and the compliance control of the market partys by an external approved certification body. Since its inception, the project has supported the creation of 76 new jobs, helped cut food waste in schools by 6 percentage points and educated children and adults alike to the benefits of an ethical diet. The contract places a great emphasis on monitoring , as food leftovers are weighed daily to provide instant feedback on portion sizes and the quality of meals.


Procura+ participant City of Torres Vedras has a unique and ambitious approach towards providing healthy and fresh meals for schools in the region. When tendering for a catering services for the counties canteens, Torres Vedras wanted to encourage canteens to provide meals in line with local food traditions, that were as fresh and seasonal as possible. By splitting up the tender in many smaller lots, packaging waste for bulk products was eliminated and small scale farmers were encouraged to apply. Specific lots for organic produce were included in the tender. This approach is embedded in Torres Vedras' healthy school food programme that also includes educational activities for school children, like school vegetable gardens, farm visits, and sports programmes. 




Gathering the local community around the construction of an innovative high school

When the need to build a new high school arose within their administrative boundaries, the Pays de la Loire Region (France) used the project to promote high environmental standards and strengthen the local community.

The call for tenders, which was divided in 25 lots to encourage the participation of local SMEs, required suppliers to develop high-quality technical proposals meeting specific environmental ambitions. Special focus was given to the sustainability of materials, energy efficiency, recycling of construction waste and water savings. Up to 60 percent of the marks available for each lot related to the quality of the technical offer in relation to those goals. Thanks to a 3 months preliminary market engagement exercise, the market was ready to deliver the vision of the region and suppliers were secured for all lots. A contractor was furthermore appointed to monitor the environmental impact of the building during the first 2 years of operations, ensuring contract performance.

The impact of the project on the local community was thoroughly considered and some of the highschool’s leisure facilities will be open to the public, delivering direct benefits to the people of Nort-sur-Erdre.


Medical equipment as a service

Italian public health is characterized by an increasing number of outdated medical imaging equipment, such as MRI and CT scanners, incurring high costs and inefficiencies.

CONSIP, the national procurement authority, decided to improve the system by looking for a supplier who could run a “pay per use” service. It issued a call for tender to secure a manufacturer willing to supply, maintain and replace state-of-the art equipment through a framework agreement. The procurement exercise was highly successful, so that Italian hospitals are now able to take on 5-7 year contracts with the supplier to gain access to the 25 high-quality scanners made available under the agreement. A progressive pricing system, related to the effective use of the equipment and developed in consultation with hospitals during the pre-tender phase ensures that the service is affordable. The solution can help to guarantee sustainable access to the latest healthcare equipment. Additional value is obtained by increasing efficiencies and improving clinical outcomes.


Improving patient well-being and recovery through innovation procurement

When in 2016 the Galician Health Service identified an opportunity to improve the technology available to doctors performing rectal surgeries, it launched a Partnership for Innovation to work with the market on the development of a suitable product.

While it initially faced difficulties in finding biotechnology companies willing to take part in a R&D co-creation approach, it finally overcame this challenge  and signed a contract with a supplier for the last stage of the innovation procurement process.

This partner is currently developing a new high-precision surgery equipment based on surgeons’ feedback and the findings of previous research funded by the Galician Health Service Once finalised, the solution will be purchased for multiple hospitals, contributing to lower operation risks, shorter recovery times and reduced operation costs across the region.


Letting algorithms do the paperwork

Sarastia is Finland's largest public sector financial and human resources support service partner and provider of municipal services. About 13 million purchase invoices are handled by Sarastia annually. Having been done completely manually in the past, Sarastia decided to use automation and machine learning to route and post invoices.

During a competitive negotiation procedure, Sarastia provided eligible bidders with data about past 6 months of invoices. Candidates then had to train their algorithms in forecasting the posting volume and routes for the next month. The purchased solution allows for all purchase invoices to be routed and posted automatically and provides forecasts for expected invoices.


Bringing computing services to the next level for excellent research

PPI4HPC is a joint procurement project in which five research bodies aimed to buy innovative high-performance supercomputer and an innovative high-performance storage system for science and engineering applications. The goal was to achieve a significant upgrade of the European high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure towards future exascale systems.

The joint procurement led by GENCI, the French public company in charge of providing high-performance computing and processing data, was organised in four independent lots leading to the awarding of contracts for systems that have meanwhile or are being deployed at four different research sites throughout Europe. Drawing from several previous pre-commercial procurement (PCP) developments, this procurement resulted in an ongoing improvement of computing and therefore research capacity. By doing a joint procurement, the consortium was able to pose high demands on an evolving market and reap the outcomes of prior PCP processes.


Embedding sustainable and innovation procurement within the university community

The University of Edinburgh has a strong base of sustainable procurement practice and it wanted to take its practices one step up. It rolled out an initiative that would identify appropriate opportunities to innovate by leveraging some of the untapped resources of a major research university, demonstrate the potential of procurement’s role as a connector between a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, and commit themselves to collaborate and share with other organisations.

As part of the initiative, the university conducted an in-depth self assessment of sustainability practices in procurement, which resulted in a comprehensive university procurement policy including social and environmental aspects. The initiative also includes tools to support innovation partnerships between the university, its staff, and its suppliers. Students and staff are regularly involved in the development of innovative circular and climate friendly procurement solutions.


Developing the market for ecolabeled goods and services, and thereby reducing environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle of products, in collaboration with Ecolabelling Denmark and suppliers


In October 2017, Procura+ participant City of Copenhagen adopted an Ecolabel Policy, stating that the procurement of goods and service in selected categories should be certified with the official Danish ecolabels; the Nordic Swan Ecolabel or the EU-Ecolabel, and that market dialogues on two product categories should be carried out annually to develop the market for ecolabelled products.

26 product categories of goods and services were selected for procurement based on the availability of licenses in the market. The selected products and services for the initiative include diapers, cleaning-and laundry service, paint and cotton clothing amongst others. Since 2017, the City of Copenhagen has worked on expanding the market of ecolabelled products by working closely with its suppliers and the Danish ecolabelling agency, recognizing that ecolabels reduce impacts on the environment and climate throughout the lifecycle of products. In 2020, Copenhagen’s focus is on children’s textiles and furniture. Through this initiative the city actively uses its procurement volume to achieve a larger amount of ecolabelled products each year and to create a change for sustainability on the market.


The Procura+ Awards 2020 also received additional entries from the following organisations

Province of Noord Holland - The Netherlands

Hessen Mobil - Mobility Agency for the federal state of Hessen, German

City of Utrecht - The Netherlands

SOFICO - Walloon Infrastructure Financing Company, Belgium

Department Loire Atlantique - France

Procure Partnerships -  UK

Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY - Finland

Consip - Central procurement centre, Italy

City of Getxo, Spain

LIPASAM - City of Seville's public waste management company, Spain



The 2020 Procura+ Awards are supported by the Procure2Innovate project.