Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a process where public authorities seek to source goods, services or works with a reduced environmental impact. The Irish Government’s annual public sector purchasing accounts for 10% to 12% of Ireland’s GDP, a large part of economic activity and demand. This provides Ireland’s public sector with significant influence to stimulate the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace.
The Public Sector has a responsibility to promote green procurement, in order to support Ireland’s environmental and wider sustainable development objectives. GPP is widely recognised internationally as an effective means for public administrations to manage the balance between cost effectiveness and sustainable development. Citizens need to be sure that what is purchased on their behalf has minimal harmful effects on the environment and society. At the same time, these goods, services and works must represent both short-term and long-term value for money.
The integration of green public procurement principles into the economy will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as an innovative, eco-efficient and forward-looking place to do business. Many of our public authorities have already made good progress in this regard as demonstrated by the examples of best practice outlined in the National Action Plan – ‘Green Tenders’.
Green Procurement Guidance for the public sector
Guidance on green procurement was also prepared by the EPA with input from a number of State Agencies and Government Departments. This document is a practical resource tool designed to assist procurers to build green criteria into public tenders. It covers eight sectors:
- Road transport vehicles and services
- Food and Catering services
- Cleaning products and Services
- Textiles and Uniforms
- Office IT Equipment
This Department is working with colleagues in the Office of Government Procurement to implement Ireland’s National GPP Action Plan.
Green Public Procurement and the EU:
Although GPP is a voluntary instrument, it has a key role to play in the EU's efforts to become a more resource-efficient and circular 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. More information about the EU’s work in this area can be found on the European Union website's (eu.europa.eu) page on Public procurement for a better environment.
The EU publication “Public procurement for a better environment” published on 16 July 2008, provides guidance on how to reduce the environmental impact caused by public sector consumption and how to use GPP to stimulate innovation in environmental technologies, products and services.