Electronic platform for public procurement that includes the built-in green public procurement (GPP) criteria for easy GPP implementation
In Estonia, the whole procedure of all public procurements takes place on the electronic platform for public procurement, the Procurement Register. The public procurement register offers an innovative working environment for buyers to organise public procurements and for tenderers to participate in public procurements.
The green public procurement (GPP) is not widely implemented in Estonia for various reasons. One of the most important ones is the lack of experience and knowledge of the procurers about the application of GPP criteria in tenders. In order to overcome this barrier and support the wider implementation of the GPP, the criteria for GPP are built-in in the new Register open since October 2018. The environmental criteria available for use in the Procurement Register are based on the EU GPP criteria. Currently, there are GPP criteria available for four product groups: copy paper, cleaning products and services, furniture, and office IT equipment.
For each product group, there is an easy-to-use dropdown list from where the buyers can choose the criteria they would like to use in each procurement. They can also create their own criteria if needed. This also allows for monitoring of the implementation of GPP, identifying whether all or some built-in or self-made criteria are used in each procurement.
Currently there are 3 people working on the register: an e-procurement advisor and 2 in the helpdesk who also assist with analysis and testing. The initial development lasted 2 years but it has been improved after that. The total cost of the developments over 4 years has been about 3 MEUR.
Evidence of success
Since October 2018 all public procurement is 100% electronic. The uptake of GPP criteria was in the beginning modest but it was related to overall lack of knowledge about the possibilities that the register provides in terms of GPP. However, the usage of green criteria is slowly increasing. The official statistics about GPP in 2019 has not been published yet but based on the search of the Register it is evident that the GPP numbers have started to grow substantially since the November 2019.
There were technical problems related to the launch of the GPP criteria on the platform. This, however, is being fixed currently. Also, the option of applying the built-in GPP criteria must be well communicated for the procurers to start using the environmental criteria in the Procurement Register.
Potential for learning or transfer
The barriers of implementing GPP at wider level are similar in different countries, especially those where the rate of implementing GPP is low. The procurers don’t have knowledge and experience in GPP and they are struggling with choosing the correct criteria. Therefore, the procurers need to have the criteria that are ready to be used in tenders without further adjustments. Such electronic platform with easy-to-use built-in criteria that can be chosen from the drop-down list would help to overcome the barriers related to know-how on criteria selection and application in the tenders. Such system would also allow for easy search of tenders and monitoring of the implementation of GPP in a country.
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