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Procurement Can!

10 April 2019

The European Commission – The Directorate General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs held the high-level conference “Seizing opportunities in the public procurement of tomorrow”, in cooperation with Romanian Presidency on 4th April 2019 in Bucharest at the Parliament House.

Key messages throughout the event were that public procurement can be a:

• Catalyser for growth, jobs and innovation, it can provide access to markets for SMEs,
• It can be used to gain the trust of citizens in public authorities and democracy, sustainability, and social cohesion.
• It is a key mechanism to address greenhouse gas emissions, local air and water quality, the use of hazardous substances and raw material usage.

The Chair of the Procura+ Network Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö, who spoke at the event, put it simply:

procurement can make a significant contribution to achieving goals and targets and address the public sector’s big challenges: health, ageing population, energy security, mobility, resource scarcity, food security and inclusive societies amongst others.

However, why is it that still today procurement decisions are made based on the lowest price? To address this potential-action gap, Jammeh, emphasized the importance of change at the system level. Also, it is vital to bring tools for change to a level where procurers, policy makers, budget holders understand that what they do has an impact, that they are involved and play a role in addressing achieving environmental and societal goals. 
Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre and Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe Mark Hidson, outlined that ICLEI has been working with a number of public authorities for over 22 years to drive local action. This wealth of experience has shown that many of the local decision-makers have proven to be innovators and drivers in the field of sustainable, circular, innovation and strategic procurement.

Looking ahead, Hidson emphasized: “Our priorities include, among others, ensuring the wider uptake of innovative, green, and social procurement; professionalising public procurers; increasing access to procurement markets; and cooperating to procure together.

A key instrument at the core of this is the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. It is a network of European public authorities that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement. Learn more here.