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Green public procurement: a method to implement environmental policy

March 17, 2016

Green public procurement: a method to implement environmental policy

GPP is a way of pursuing environmental policy. It is practised in Europe, where the European Commission (EC)1 defines it as ‘a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured’.

The aim of GPP is to influence the market for environmental benefit. Public sector spending is an important part of the economy in many countries. In the EU, public authorities spend €2 trillion every year — equivalent to 19% of its GDP. By using this purchasing power for goods and services with lower environmental impact, public authorities can influence sustainable production and consumption.

Alongside the ‘substitution’ effect (when a purchasing authority substitutes a conventional product for a more environmentally friendly one), GPP can have a ‘transformative’ effect. In other words, it provides incentives for industry to develop greener products. This can be especially powerful in sectors where public authorities have a large share of the market, such as public transport or healthcare.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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