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Public buyers take concrete steps toward sustainable and circular transformations at Procura+ Conference 2024

18 March 2024

The Procura+ Conference 2024 convened over 220 government officials, industry leaders and procurement practitioners in Lisbon (Portugal) for its 11th edition. The conference theme “Step Changes for Big Impact'' demonstrated how public buyers across Europe are taking steps to leverage public procurement as a driver of sustainable and circular transformations.

Mayor of Malmö and first Vice President of ICLEI Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh highlighted how important conferences such as Procura+ are for the further development of sustainable public procurement. “ICLEI has been organising these Conferences for 25 years, showcasing great steps, successes and experiences. Now it is time to take another big step forward. Climate neutrality is not enough. Our sustainable solutions cannot deepen social inequities. We need a fair and inclusive transformation, that requires us to work with all perspectives. This is why in the city of Malmö all purchases must take social, environmental and economic responsibility into account. Public procurement can be a driving force to reshape the market and our societies.”

Key highlights from the conference, hosted by ICLEI Member Lisbon (Portugal) in collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, included sessions, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Circular Flanders, Rijkswaterstaat, TCO Development and the Institute of Brilliant Failures, on professionalising public procurement and learning through experience. The conference also offered case studies such as the City of Lisbon’s Sustainable Procurement Management System and the CO2 Performance Ladder and among others. Meanwhile, interactive workshops focused on urban development, innovation, circular economy, just transitions and the transformation of the food system.

The Conference also highlighted some key procurement successes with the reveal of the 2024 Procura+ Award winners. The Awards were given in three categories: The winner for Sustainable Procurement of the Year was the Norwegian Central Procurement Body for developing a framework agreement on the reuse and recycling of used ICT equipment, that also included social requirements for work-life inclusion. In the category Innovation Procurement of the Year the Award went to ICLEI Member Malmö (Sweden) for developing procurement criteria for several tenders based on universal design principles to make physical infrastructure, goods and services accessible to people of all ages, sizes and abilities. Finally, the City of Lisbon won the category Procurement Initiative of the Year, for Developing a Sustainable Procurement Management System, to establish a systematic framework ensuring that all public procurement processes within the Municipality are developed within responsible, transparent, fair, and ecological principles.

Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre closed the Conference, “Lisbon were fantastic hosts for an extraordinary gathering of procurers from across the world. The Procura+ 2024 Conference was about renewing inspiration, strengthening networks, and a shared commitment to catalysing step changes for big impact in procurement practices. The momentum generated during the conference sets the stage for continued collaboration in the transition to a more sustainable, just and resilient way forward.

Learn more about the Procura+ network here.

Learn more about ICLEI’s work on Sustainable and Innovation Procurement here.

2024 Procura+ Awards reveal winners in three categories

14 March 2024

The Norwegian Central Procurement Body, the City of Malmö (Sweden) and the City of Lisbon (Portugal) were the big winners of the 2024 Procura+ Awards, revealed during the 2024 Procura+ Conference (held on 13 & 14 March in Lisbon). The Procura+ Awards reward successful, already running, sustainable, circular and innovation public procurements that have led to significant improvements of public goods, services, processes and infrastructure.

The Norwegian Central Procurement Body won in the category Sustainable Procurement of the Year, which sought to reward procurements which integrate aspects of sustainability, including environmental, economic, circular and social elements. It especially aimed ageny showcase procurements which include a strategic and therefore holistic approach to implementing public procurement. The two finalists in this category were the Dutch Custodial Institution Agency and the Greater London Authority.

The Norwegian organisation won with its call for tender for a framework agreement for the reuse and recycling of ICT equipment. The requested services included collection, transport, secure data disposal, and sorting of ICT equipment for reuse or recycling. Requirements were also set for worklife inclusion, adding a social aspect to the contract. In order to give priority to bidders with business strategies that maximise reuse over recycling and with profit-sharing models more advantageous for the administration, the contract award criteria were divided between quality (70%) and price (30%) criteria.

The category Innovation Procurement of the Year looked at procurements which use innovative approaches in their purchasing practices, as well as those that foster innovation by purchasing cutting-edge products, services and works and see the public authority as a launch customer, driving sustainable development. The finalists in this category were the Municipality of Bodø (Norway) and the Belgian Agency for Roads and Traffic, with the City of Malmö winning.

The City of Malmö won for developing procurement criteria to be used in several tenders based on universal design principles. The tender specifications outlined the seven principles of universal design, as defined by the Centre for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, and required furniture to meet at least the first two principles (e.g. equitable use and flexibility of use). The city also developed "variety cards" that provide guidance to designers and others working to improve accessibility and usability. By encouraging suppliers to systemically take into consideration accessibility issues, the City of Malmö is promoting an integral approach to accessibility and inclusion and ensuring that the approach is sustained in the longer term.

Finally, the category Procurement Initiative of the Year, focusing on outstanding public procurement initiatives, such as programmes, policies, actions, guidance and tools that contribute towards strategic, sustainable, circular and innovation procurement, saw the City of Lisbon winning. The finalists in this category were Barcelona City Council (Spain) and the Lithuanian Public Procurement Office.

The City of Lisbon developed, in line with the recommendations of the ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement standard, a Sustainable Procurement Management System, whose objective was to establish a systematic framework ensuring that all public procurement processes within the municipality are developed within responsible, transparent, fair, and ecological principles. The approach was designed to provide clear guidance and strategies to facilitate easy application of sustainability criteria in all procurement processes. This involved implementing stringent measures to prioritise environmental and social responsibility, transparency, and equitable access for all stakeholders, aspiring to exceed legal and ethical requirements, setting a higher standard for sustainable procurement in the public sector. Central to this initiative was a robust Code of Conduct for Suppliers, emphasising sustainability.

The winners in the three categories were decided by a jury consisting of Jorge Laguna Celis, Director of UNEP's One Planet Network, Jorge Conesa, Managing Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, and Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Adviser at the Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD.

For more in-depth information on the succesful projects of the winners and the finalists, visit the Procura+ Website. There you will also find an overview of the winners from past editions of the Procura+ Awards.

Former EU Commissioner Janez Potocnik to speak at 2024 Procura+ Conference

5 March 2024

Janez Potocnik, Co-Chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel, will speak in the opening plenary of the 2024 Procura+ Conference on 13 March. The plenary will highlight the key role of public procurement in the social, economic and environmental transformation of our societies. The plenary will also include Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmo, ICLEI First Vice President and Chair of the Procura+ Network.

Potocnik’s contribution will outline the challenging bigger picture the world, public authorities and cities are facing today and present the latest scientific findings from the 2024 Global Resources Outlook report. In addition he will focus on the need to make use of strategic public procurement in the context of the contemporary challenges, such as the limited availability of global resources. Finally, Potocnik will highlight the potential to make step changes for big impact through procurement to address the world’s bigger challenges.

Potocnik speaks from experience. He has been EU Commissioner for Science and Research from 2004 to 2010, and EU Commissioner for Environment from 2010 to 2014. In addition, he was Slovenia’s Minister for European Affairs between 2002 and 2004. In that role he successfully led the negotiations for the country’s entrance into the EU.

The Procura+ Conference aims to be a meeting space where public procurers will share best practices, knowledge and key insights into green, social, circular and innovation public procurement.

More information on the Procura+ Conference can be found here.

To register, click here.

Public Procurement transforms food systems

6 February 2024

In the previous edition of the Procura+ Conference, public buyers called for minimum standards to transform food procurement into a critical lever for transitioning towards just, inclusive and sustainable food systems. This year, in Lisbon, the Procura+ Conference ((13-14 March) will showcase the progress that’s been made since. Minimum standards for sustainable public food procurement could soon be a reality!

The BuyBetterFood coalition is one of the reasons for the positive outlook. The coalition calls for public procurement rules that provide healthy food to all European citizens in public places such as schools, hospitals and elderly care homes. In addition, its Sustainable Food Procurement Manifesto calls for a minimum standard for public canteens across the EU as part of implementing the Farm to Fork strategy.

In this context, the parallel session “Transforming food systems through minimum standards" (13 March, 14-15:30) will explore the potential of minimum sustainability standards in public food procurement, and showcase how minimum standards can have a positive effect on climate mitigation, health, inclusivity, and economic support for small farmers.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here.

Innovation procurement tackles complex societal challenges

1 February 2024

Public procurers seek to work together with the market to find high quality, sustainable solutions to current challenges. But if the right solution is not yet on the market? Traditional approaches to procurement do not always have sufficient answers to address the complex societal challenges facing our societies. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will highlight how innovation procurement can help public authorities embrace innovative practices and solutions.

The parallel session “Mastering the Art of Innovation Procurement” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will delve into the benefits, challenges and opportunities of innovation procurement and explore how the pressing issues facing local governments can be addressed while handling - or better yet, optimising - the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

The session will demonstrate how innovation procurement can address societal challenges, showcase real-world examples of successful innovation procurements and exchange insights on challenges, emerging trends and support for implementation, giving participants an opportunity to explore how SME support and govtech can be effectively harnessed through innovation procurement, learn how to introduce innovation procurement in their organisations and gain more insights into implementing innovation-friendly procurement procedures.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here.

Procura+ Conference highlights inspiring circular, sustainable and innovative public procurement practices

31 January 2024

The programme of the 11th Procura+ Conference 2024, taking place from 13-14 March in Lisbon (Portugal) is shaping up to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public buyers can use their purchasing power to contribute to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society.

On 13 March the Conference will be opened by Carlos Moedas, the Mayor of Lisbon and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, the Mayor of Malmö and Chair of the Procura+ Network. They will highlight how public authorities can use procurement to make step changes that will have a big impact on the transformation of our societies. During this opening session, the Mayors will be joined on stage by Janez Potocnik (EU Commissioner for Environment from 2009 to 2014, and, currently co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel), as well as by Abby Semple (Public Procurement Analysis) and Erika Bozzay (Senior Policy Adviser, Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD)

More in-depth discussions will follow during the five deep dive sessions, respectively on Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP), innovation procurement, circular procurement, food procurement and the procurement of sustainable and innovative outcomes in infrastructure and building projects. The final session of the first day will explore how professional development, upskilling, and change management is crucial for the advancement of strategic and sustainable public procurement. The session will be led by Erika Bozzay and Alexandra Vandevyvere of Circular Flanders. The day will end with the reveal of the 2024 Procura+ Award winners in the categories Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Procurement Initiative of the Year, and a celebratory dinner.

Being ambitious and innovative doesn’t automatically lead to success, which is why the second day of the Conference begins with a session led by Paul Louis Iske, Chief Failures Officer at the Institute for Brilliant Failures. The session will allow public buyers to confess their mistakes and show that step changes leading to a big impact are sometimes only possible if the right lessons are learnt from mistakes. The closing session, led by Mayor Moedas, will explore how public procurement can deal with and influence contemporary challenges (such as inflation, geopolitical turmoil, sourcing disruption and changes in national and European policy frameworks) to gain even more strategic importance.

Participants will also have plenty of opportunities for discussing collaboration and networking. On both days there will be a Market Lounge with over 50 roundtables, focusing on topics such as, ethical public procurement, the social value economy, ICT procurement, supplier dialogue, decarbonisation and many more. These sessions have been at the heart of the Proura+ conference series, offering up-close and personal conversation with like-minded, procurement peers. After the closing session on 14 March participants can go to one of the study visits showcasing how Lisbon is implementing sustainable, circular and innovation procurement in practice.

Procura+ Conference highlights how public procurement helps advance the circular transition

30 January 2024

Public procurement is a key tool to turn waste into value. By adopting circular procurement practices, cities can not only minimise waste and environmental impact, but also stimulate innovation, create economic opportunities, and contribute to the development of sustainable, resilient communities. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will highlight how public procurement is crucial in advancing the circular transition.

The session “How to mainstream circular procurement within your organisation” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will start the beginning; to procure more circular goods and services, an organisation first needs to know how to do circular procurement. Key to that is building capacity and circular knowledge, as well as aligning circular procurement objectives with the organisational, political and strategic ambitions that can help mainstream the approach.

Participants at the session will learn how they can build circular procurement knowledge within your organisation, how to embed circular procurement in your organisation’s strategy and ambitions, hear from other practitioners in the field that have championed circular procurement within their organisations, and find out how the CityLoops project implemented circular procurement to close the loops in Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) and bio-waste.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here

Public procurement contributes to sustainable urban development

26 January 2024

To fulfil sustainable development requirements by 2040, around €86 trillion in infrastructure investment is required. Adopting a "business-as-usual" approach for this investment locks in patterns of development that do not take into account sustainability, the significant source of carbon emissions and the need to adapt to a changing climate. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will explore how public procurement can reduce the carbon emissions in infrastructure and urban development.

The parallel session “Transforming infrastructure and urban development districts through procurement” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will present examples of successful sustainable infrastructure and urban development and discuss cutting-edge procurement practices that integrate design, innovation, sustainable materials, and circular economy principles into infrastructure projects. It will feature speakers from the City of Lisbon, IISD, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the city of Høje-Taastrup and SKAO.

The session will explore different procurement strategies (e.g. planning and decision making, market engagement, and criteria and clauses in tenders) cities and organisations have used, provide insights into the transformative impact that procurement decisions can have on infrastructure and buildings that are resilient, circular and sustainable, and highlight the CO2 Performance Ladder.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here

Discover how public procurement can enable the just transition

24 January 2024

The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will showcase how Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP) can help enable the just transition. By using tenders to promote sustainable, fair and transparent supply chains, decent working conditions, employment opportiunties for people with a distance to the labor market, social inclusion, accessibility, and compliance with social and labor rights, public buyers can contribute to achieving social policy goals.

During the Procura+ Conference, The parallel session “Buy Social – Discovering the enabler for a just transition” (13 March 14.15:30 CET) will explore the enabling factors for SRPP, identify the impacts SRPP has already made, and discuss future aims and objectives. The session will be led by Philipp Tepper, Procura+ Network Manager at ICLEI Europe and feature a keynote speech of Andrea Sundstrand, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at the Stockholm University.

Further contributions will be made by ICLEI’s Sustainable Energy Team, Rijkswaterstaat, Greater London Authority, AEIDL, and the City of Oslo, highlighting that social criteria can be applied throughout the public procurement process and in a wide variety of sectors. This is also visible in the case study collection Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work: 71 Good Practice Cases, written by AEIDL and ICLEI Europe, on behalf of the European Commission.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here

Jury reveals 2024 Procura+ Awards finalists

18 January 2024

ICLEI Europe is proud to announce the 2024 Procura+ Awards finalists in three categories: Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Procurement Initiative of the Year. The winners will be revealed on 13 March in a live ceremony at the 2024 Procura+ Conference in Lisbon. All finalists will receive a free ticket for the Conference.

In the category Sustainable Procurement of the Year the finalists are the Norwegian Central Procurement Body, Greater London Authority and the Dutch Custodial Institution Agency. The Norwegian Central Procurement Body is nominated for developing a framework agreement on the reuse and recycling of used ICT equipment, that also included social requirements for worklife inclusion. Greater London Authority aimed to foster a more inclusive built environment and used sustainability expertise and social value-led design methodologies to procure a framework for commissioning expertise for a range of built environment projects. The Dutch Custodial Institution Agency made a move towards more just food procurement, giving the detainees a key role in the process, setting their diet satisfaction as a minimum requirement, also taking into account environmental factors.

The finalists in the category Innovation Procurement of the Year are the Belgian Agency for Roads and Traffic, Bodø Municipality (Norway) and the City of Malmö (Sweden). The Belgian Agency for Roads and Traffic carried out a competitive dialogue aiming to design, develop and roll out a combination of public C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems and Services) cloud services, public data sources, and commercial C-ITS applications in the context of the Belgain Mobilidata Programme. The municipality of Bodø launched a call for tenders targeting low-emission solutions, which, once awarded, became the first project in northern Norway to use zero-emission excavators. The City of Malmö aimed to make physical infrastructure, goods and services accessible to people of all ages, sizes and abilities and developed procurement criteria for several tenders based on universal design principles.

Barcelona City Council (Spain), the City of Lisbon (Portugal) and the Lithuanian Public Procurement Office are the finalists in the category Procurement Initiative of the Year. Barcelona City Council developed a responsible public procurement strategy in line with European policies such as the Social Economy Action Plan, in order to facilitate access to public tenders for social economy enterprises. The City of Lisbon developed a Sustainable Procurement Management System, to establish a systematic framework ensuring that all public procurement processes within the Municipality are developed within responsible, transparent, fair, and ecological principles. Lithuania’s aim to reduce its carbon footprint and ensure every public procurement decision considers its environmental impact, led to the creation of the a new sustainability unit in the Lithuanian Public Procurement Office (LPPO) which pushed for the mandatory use of GPP criteria, and supported buyers through training and a helpdesk.

The jury consisting of Jorge Laguna Celis, Director of UNEP's One Planet Network, Jorge Conesa, Managing Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, and Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Adviser at the Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD, will decide on the winners in the coming weeks. The Awards Ceremony at the Procura+ Conference will begin at on 13 March at 18:30. To attend the Conference, register here.

For more information on this year’s finalists, take a look at the Procura+ website. There you will also find more information about previous editions of the Procura+ Awards. In 2023 there were four categories, resulting in the following winners: City of Malmö, Sweden - Circular Procurement of the Year; Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands - Innovation Procurement of the Year; City of Utrecht, Netherlands - Sustainable Procurement of the Year; City of Ghent and the VEB, Belgium - Procurement Initiative of the Year