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News Archives

March 29, 2023

Cities use public procurement to advance circular transition

The recently published Circular Cities Declaration (CCD) Report 2022 highlights the great steps cities across Europe are taking to support the transition to a circular economy. Among the identified trends is the increased use of public procurement as a lever to reduce their environmental footprint and enable the take-off of circular solutions and services.
In Europe, public buyers spend 14% of the EU’s GDP, which means that there is a great potential for public authorities to have positive circular, social and environmental impact with their purchases of goods, works and services. The CCD report shows that cities increasingly recognise this potential. With 18 documented actions in the report public procurement is, behind circular infrastructure, the second most represented policy lever, used across many different sectors.
A good example are Haarlem’s (The Netherlands) ambitious circular procurement objectives. The city aims for 50% of its purchases to be circular by 2025, and has a target of 100% by 2030. These targets don’t stand on their own; in its circular economy action plan Haarlem Circulair 2040, the city has identified circular procurement as a key tool for implementing the circular economy and has made its circular objectives but are a central feature of its strategic procurement policy. The policy was derived partly from the Roadmap for Circular Procurement and Commissioning, acknowledging that commissioning plays a major role in achieving circular procurement goals.
Other examples in the report show how cities have been adopting and developing circular economy strategies, setting goals for local purchasing, circularity and socially responsible public procurement for tenders. These strategies are often aligned with international or national frameworks, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and allow interventions in many different sectors. Torres Vedras (Portugal) has for example implemented circular practices in its purchasing of school meals, while Helsinki (Finland) used circular principles for finding the best technical solution to renovate one of its main streets. Copenhagen (Denmark) is working on textile public procurement to stimulate demand for the output from the city’s own textile recycling efforts.
All these examples show that circular public procurement is about more than just reducing the social and environmental impacts of purchases. It also allows local governments to further stimulate the design, provision and management of more circular goods and services. To further pursue these possibilities, the adoption of supporting regulation at national and European levels, along with the provision of guidance, to local governments is necessary.
To read more about the circular (public procurement) activities of Europe’s cities, download the CCD report here .Throughout 2022, CCD signatories have been submitting individual reports sharing their key activities and interventions in the field of circular economy, and the challenges they have experienced. In total 40 reports were submitted, covering activities from 2021 and 2022. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability , with support from Ellen MacArthur Foundation, led a comprehensive analysis of these submissions, with the CCD report as a result. The two organisations note that this is the widest ever assessment of circular economy practices across European cities.
Learn more at ICLEI sustainable procurement platform.

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category : Topics

March 22, 2023

Cities invite market to drive zero-emission and circular construction

ICLEI Members are among the growing list of bodies that have signed two new key documents, both of which contain ambitions and commitments to leverage public procurement to make construction zero-emissions and circular. Organisations are invited to join the growing list of signatories of these two documents, namely the: Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Zero Emission Construction Sites and the Joint Declaration of Intent of the Working Group on Circular Construction.

“Construction contributes massively to cities’ carbon emissions, and is a field where local governments spend a lot of public money,” explains Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director, Sustainable Economy and Procurement, ICLEI Europe. “Leveraging cities’ purchasing power thus has enormous potential both to push the industry to be greener, and to make large gains in emissions reductions to help Europe reach its climate goals.”

The Joint Statement of Demand contains a number of ambitions to move to fossil fuel free construction machinery by 2025 and to gradually increase the use of emission free machinery to at least 50% by 2030. This statement, which has been signed by ICLEI Members Copenhagen (Denmark), Oslo (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Vantaa (Finland), is a clear signal to the market that there is a demand for emission free construction machinery, should it be made available by manufacturers. Signatories of the JSoD commit to:
Ÿ Require fossil-free construction machinery in own public projects from 2025, with at least 20% emission-free machinery, where available.
Ÿ Require fossil-free construction machinery in own public projects from 2030, with at least 50% emission-free machinery, where available.

For its part, the Joint Declaration of Intent demonstrates an unmet need in the field of road construction, in particular asphalt pavements. It aims to provide Public Buyers and the market with a recommended direction for investments in road construction, with a view to tendering approaches and to addressing ongoing challenges that require further analysis, such as identifying risks and potential for broader use of circular asphalt. ICLEI Members Haarlem (the Netherlands), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Lisbon (Portugal), Vienna (Austria), Zürich (Switzerland), and Nantes Métropole (France) are among the public authorities who have signed this Declaration.

The aim of the Joint Statement and Joint Declaration is to make future demand predictable and help other public buyers across Europe use procurement to effectively support innovation, while ensuring sustainability and high quality.

These documents were composed and agreed upon by the members of Working Groups on Zero Emission Construction Sites and on Circular Construction, respectively. Both Working Groups are convened by the Big Buyers for Climate and Environment Initiative, coordinated by ICLEI Europe and Eurocities on behalf of the European Commission. The Big Buyers Initiative establishes such Working Groups of public purchasers to focus on unmet public procurement needs, in order to drive market demand for innovative and sustainable products and services in Europe.

To sign and learn more about the Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Zero Emission Construction Sites, click here.

To sign and learn more about the Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Circular Construction, click here.

Lear more from ICLEI Europe website.

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category : Topics

March 14, 2023

[SCP] Why India's new climate mission is focused on sustainable lifestyles

With a population of 1.4 billion, India is well positioned to drive meaningful climate action.
The Indian government's 'LiFE Mission' aims to harness the power of sustainable lifestyle changes.
Consumers can play a more significant role in driving sustainable production methods.

The Oxford Languages Word of the Year for 2022 has already been selected, but if a straw poll were held now among development and policy experts, a term unfamiliar to most of us at the beginning of the year – polycrisis – would likely surge ahead. It's a descriptive shorthand for the unhappy list of “cascading and interlinked crises” the United Nations Secretary-General warns are putting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in need of urgent rescue.

Among the mutually reinforcing crises we face, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution threatens the greatest core potential for destruction, both now and in the foreseeable future. The past two decades have witnessed an incredible stream of record-breaking temperatures, with nine of the warmest years on record coming in the past decade alone. Catastrophic floods, record heat waves, and crop-destroying droughts have forced us to face the stark reality that the devastating impacts of climate change are no longer a distant prediction.

India's 'LiFE' climate action programme
Yet, it is said, every crisis brings opportunity. If there is a silver lining, it is in the growing recognition that these crises are existentially urgent and can’t be solved independently of each other, accelerating systems thinking and investment in innovation. A part of this sea-change, the global LiFE, or Lifestyle for Environment Mission, launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, together with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in October 2022, brings a fresh and much-needed perspective, that aligns the development and climate agendas.

The LiFE Mission, first proposed by Prime Minister Modi at COP26 in Glasgow, gives special focus to the impact individual behaviour and consumption habits can have on the planet, and encourages the adoption of environmentally sustainable lifestyles. As Prime Minister Modi explained, “the need of the hour is human-centric, collective efforts and robust actions that further sustainable development.”

“The LiFE Mission … gives special focus to the impact individual behaviour and consumption habits can have on the planet, and encourages the adoption of environmentally sustainable lifestyles.” — Shombi Sharp, Resident Coordinator, India, United Nations.

While LiFE seeks to mitigate both supply and demand-side factors, it sets off from the premise that the latter half of the equation has lagged in recent years with most attention paid to public policies and corporate regulation. Thus, transformational change requires renewed demand-side focus for a maximized global response. The goal, in short, is to scale climate change mitigation solutions based on behavioural and lifestyle changes that shift demand for goods and services towards those with significantly reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and polluting footprints.

In practical terms, this means encouraging actions such as: saving energy at home; cycling, using electric vehicles, or even better, taking public transport instead of driving; avoiding unnecessary flights; eating more plant-based foods and wasting less; and leveraging our position as customers and employees to demand climate-friendly choices. The list of potential actions is as limitless as the complexity of our modern lives.

Individual actions can have a positive effect
Many of the goals of LIFE can be achieved by deploying the “nudge” concept from behavioural economics: gentle persuasion signals which encourage positive behaviour. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) endorses proven nudge techniques such as discouraging food waste by offering smaller plates in cafeterias, encouraging recycling by making bin lids eye-catching, and promoting cycling and walking through urban design.

The potential of demand-side mitigation is enormous, and largely unrealized. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Reportindicates that demand-side strategies could potentially reduce GHG emissions by 40-70% by 2050.

On the supply-side, demand, animated by the behaviour shifts of LiFE, can help create a virtuous cycle. Demand from individuals practising sustainability will send signals to the supply-side of the economy, the part that involves manufacturing technologies and energy generation, towards more climate and environmentally friendly designs, products and processes. At the same time, policy interventions can help incentivize a shift towards a circular economy, one where supply chains reuse materials and limit the extraction of new resources.

LiFE also recognises that an evaluation of climate action and our relationship with the planet through traditional, economic cost-benefit calculations such as GDP fail to capture how mitigation measures such as sustainable lifestyles interact with human well-being. For example, urban design solutions that encourage walking and cycling can have marginal benefits to health, well-being and social cohesion that are difficult or impossible to capture in terms of simple market costs. Instead, LiFE calls for the development of people-centric metrics, that recognize the social benefits of a nation’s stock of natural, human, and physical capital, and how these interact with the cost of human action or inaction.

And while LIFE is a global vision, India is an excellent place to start. With over 1.4 billion people, the largest youth generation in history, and the fastest growing major economy, the momentum generated by India alone can be enormous. India is also seeking to employ an array of bilateral and multilateral partnerships to build awareness and momentum towards a global ecosystem for sustainable lifestyles. As part of its G20 Presidency launched in December 2022 under the mantra of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, India has made integrating the LiFE Mission into the powerful group’s agenda a priority.

The LIFE Mission also recognises that accountability is relative to contribution. Emissions across the poorest half of the world’s population combined still fall short of even 1% of the wealthiest. Those who consume the least, often the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, will not be asked to consume less, but rather supported to participate in the green economy.

The same applies across countries. LiFE resonates with the just green transition the G77 and India have rightfully called for – highlighting enhanced obligations those in developed countries bear, to support climate adaptation and mitigation for those most affected, yet least responsible.

The energy crisis, and the coping responses of some high-income countries which have quickly turned back to coal and other fossil fuels, has been a reality check on the green transition. It is important to remember that for the Global South, while strengthening the link between sustainability and development is a priority, it remains far from given.

Socio-economic development and meeting basic human needs, driven by affordable and secure energy remains the ultimate priority, and for many developing countries, the mix available still includes significant amounts of coal and other fossil fuels. Development itself is non-negotiable. The energy crisis, which has forced many high-income countries to face the same trade-off between climate concerns and keeping the lights on, could be a catalyst for enhanced international solidarity and meaningful climate action.

And while we are all in this together and responsibilities are shared, it is only fair and common sense to call on developed countries, having gained their immense wealth via the vast majority of historical carbon emissions, to continue to make the most significant steps in helping ensure that the green energy transition is just and green, not “just” green.

As a founding UN Member State which bridges the worlds of the G20 and G77, and much in between and beyond, the good news is there has never been a better time for India’s growing leadership on climate action, at home and on the international stage. From the enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution targets announced under COP27 and massive bets on investment in renewables by Indian businesses, to core support for the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and multiple South-South cooperation platforms, India brings a unique blend of scale, expertise, networks and legitimacy to the table.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously noted, “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” LiFE Mission now seeks to help each one of us live up to that truth in our daily lives.

Learn more at World Economic Forum website.

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category : Topics

March 7, 2023

WRAP Introduces their Extending Clothing Life Protocol

With the aim of helping clothes designers and manufacturers in creating longer lasting clothing, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) has developed The Extending Clothing Life Protocol which corresponds to a set of guides and principles that serve as a template of good practice in increasing clothing life.

Find out at WRAP website.

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