Green and social criteria in public procurement for encouraging buyers to choose the most economically advantageous offer instead its cheaper.
Under the new EU Public Procurement Directive 2014, it is allowed the application of "green" and social criteria in public procurement. It encourages buyers to choose the most economically advantageous offer instead its cheaper. They may, in the technical specifications, award criteria or conditions execution of the contract, require a specific mark as evidence conformity of works, goods or services with the requirements characteristics. With this way they have the possibility to use environmental criteria or execution conditions contracts covering every aspect and stage of their life cycle from the extraction of raw materials for the product up to the stage of its disposal.
Also, the Green Public Procurement National Action Plan of Cyprus adopted in 2012 sets several specific measures to promote environmental criteria in public authorities’ public procurement.
The Green Public Procurement Action Plan is mandatory for all Contracting Authorities, so the Authorities should provide for incorporating environmental criteria into their technical specifications, as they are included as an aid to Annex C of the Action Plan for GPP.
The instrument is voluntary but the effective GPP requires the inclusion of clear and verifiable environmental criteria for products and services in the public procurement process.
Evidence of success
Is the most important measure for countries seeking a green economy, associated with climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production given the importance of public sector expenditure for goods and services in Europe. Recently it has been added to SMEs to give the possibility to conclude separate contracts and the free e-procurement solution for the participation in tenders. . In average, they have won 70% of the above-threshold contracts between 2014 and 2016.
An issue faced by Cypriot contracting authorities when including environmental criteria is the small size of the internal market, which limits the variety of green products available. That is why a market research is needed to identify green products to be promoted within public procurement.
Potential for learning or transfer
GPP is a voluntary instrument but it has a key role to play in the EU's efforts to become a more resource-efficient economy. It can help stimulate a critical mass of demand for more sustainable goods and services which otherwise would be difficult to get onto the market. GPP is therefore a strong stimulus for eco-innovation.
To be effective GPP requires the inclusion of clear and verifiable environmental criteria for products and services in the public procurement process. The European Commission and a number of European countries have developed guidance in this area, in the form of national GPP criteria. The challenge of furthering take- up by more public sector bodies so that GPP becomes common practice still remains. As does the challenge of ensuring that green purchasing requirements are somewhat compatible between Member States - thus helping create a level playing field that will accelerate and help drive the single market for environmentally sound goods and services.
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