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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.