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27 September 2019

Procura+ Awards 2019 – leadership on sustainable procurement of GLCN Cities continues to inspire

The Procura+ Awards reward successful, already running, sustainable and innovative public procurements. These procurements lead to significant improvements of public goods, services, processes and infrastructure.

The ‘Sustainable Procurement of the Year’ Award went to the City of Ghent (Belgium), that launched a pilot procurement for ethically produced workwear in line with the socially responsible requirements in its procurement policy and worked in partnership with suppliers to get the product required.

“We are thrilled that we are able through our public procurement to encourage the market to change in a sustainable way, and that we can share our experience with other purchasing authorities through our toolbox for socially sustainable workwear,” said Aline De Cokere, Public Buyer for the City of Ghent. 

Ghent wants to make sure that the clothing they buy has been made in fair working conditions, emphasizing that ‘Fairtrade’ is a certificate for the entire production process, not just for raw materials. After researching best practices in textile procurement and conducting a market analysis of fair and ethically produced clothing, Ghent realised that the market was not ready to deliver the level of environmental and social impact required.

The city decided to divide the framework agreement of 1.200.000 EUR into five lots that required varying degrees of social and environmental performance and developed a toolbox that defines each level of performance, and the proof bidders had to submit. It also details the supplier journey towards more responsible workwear, which they commit to through contract clauses. Supplier performance will be verified by third parties, with Ghent also working in partnership with them to deliver on the improvements. 

However, the production chain of raw materials and clothing production is still far from transparent. To help other cities unravel the jumble of the complex procurement process, Ghent, together with the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) created the Toolbox ‘Socially Responsible Workwear’.


The City of Helsinki made it to the finalist round for two of the four award categories.

Their application for ‘Innovation Procurement of the Year’ was recognized as runner-up with its sustainable innovation for the Olympic Stadium seats to be environmental, low maintenance and long lifetime, but also in line with the heritage laws for renovating the arena, built in 1938.

CERN and the City of Helsinki were competing for the ‘Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT’ Award. Helsinki’s application focused on robotisation and automation of library services. No off-the-shelf product existed to meet these demands, so the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure department launched an innovation partnership.


The Procura+ Awards is an initiative of ICLEI Europe, with support from the EU-funded Procure2Innovate project.

The Procura+ Awards Ceremony saw three cities and a European research organisation going up on the stage to get their recognition for their biggest successes in public procurement: Zurich won in the category ‘Procurement Initiative of the Year’, the City of Ghent in the ‘Sustainable Procurement of the Year’ one, the Municipality of Frederiksberg in the ‘Innovation Procurement of the Year’ category and the European Organization for Nuclear Research won the ‘Outstanding Innovation in ICT Procurement’. The event took place on 24 September within the Nordic Edge Expo in Stavanger, Norway.

29 May 2019

Oslo conference showcases procurement as tool for cities to initiate change

Sometimes procurement is described as the ‘sleeping giant’ of the sustainable development world. However, if used correctly and with sufficient leverage procurement can be a powerful tool to achieve social and environmental objectives. This was the key message shared at the recently held Urban Global Future Conference, which took place in GLCN city Oslo (Norway).

"Results can be surprising when leveraging procurement as a tool, it may not be the obvious approach, however, a powerful one that can do good for both environmental and social sustainability"  said Mark Hidson, Global Director, ICLEI Sustainable Procurement Centre: Deputy Regional Director, ICLEI Europe.

In helping to ‘wake the giant’, ICLEI Europe hosted a session, during the conference, on how to get started on green public procurement. During the session, where GLCN cities Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Oslo as well as Procura+ Participant Aalborg (Denmark) had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, it became clear that for green procurement to be successful, it needs to start from a solid foundation.

That is to say, it is important to gain an understanding of the European policy context as well as to leverage local political support and to harness existing guidance documents, which include lessons learned from other cities. The City Oslo is a prime example for this process of introducing sustainable procurement to now being a lighthouse for instance on developing zero-emission construction sites. The agenda also receives support by the wider cutting-edge sustainability approach i.e. having a carbon budget for the whole city. With the European Green Capital 2019 award, the city of Oslo may be the place to witness sustainability put into local action, actively shaping how urban future could look like.

For more information and to learn more how your local authority can harness the power of public procurement to achieve social and environmental goals, take a look at ICLEI’s Guidance Material: P+ Manual & Buying Green.

The next Urban Future Conference will take place in Lisbon 2020 and then in Rotterdam 2021.

22 March 2019

GLCN Cities call for sustainable procurement at UN Environment Assembly

The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) is the highest level global decision making body on issues related to environment held every two years since 2013. 

At the 4th Session of UNEA to be held in Nairobi this week, national governments are negotiating a set of resolutions aiming at building sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies that address key environmental challenges with innovative solutions and rely on responsible patterns of consumption and production.

During the UNEA Cities conference on March 13, ICLEI hosted a session on integrated planning and policies for circular transitions. Convening cities, national government representatives and business, the session explored how circular urban systems that achieve both social and ecological benefits can be promoted through nature-based solutions, public procurement and technologies.

GLCN member city Oslo (Norway) was among the ICLEI delegation to UNEA. The City of Oslo highlighted the importance that ICLEI’s work and the GLCN network has had for advancing the City’s sustainable procurement practices and leverage the power of procurement to achieve sustainability outcomes.

Learn more about ICLEI’s call for circular development here.


5 October 2018

GLCN Member Rotterdam wins procurement award at major european sustainability event

The biggest successes in public procurement were honoured on October 4th at the EcoProcura conference in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, with a clutch of top class projects in sustainability and innovation winning the 2018 Procura+ Awards.

This year’s Innovation Procurement of the Year was awarded to GLCN Member Rotterdam, which is pioneering the procurement of innovative goods and services to make the city more accessible for the elderly or citizens with special needs. Its efforts involve a multitude of local SMEs.

Warmly welcoming the award, the city’s vice mayor Arno Bonte said: “We are honoured to receive the Procura+ Award for Innovation Procurement of the Year! The city of Rotterdam continuously seeks innovative and sustainable solution to our citizens’ needs and I am delighted that the hard work of our procurement team is recognised at a European level.”

For more information, click here.

18 September 2018

GLCN Member Ghent shortlisted for European Sustainability award

GLCN Member Ghent (Belgium) was recently announced as a shortlisted candidate for the 2018 Transformative Action Award.

The award, which is co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, The Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark), rewards current or concluded Transformative Actions that address the pathways of the Basque Declaration related to three categories: socio-cultural, socio-economic and, technological transformation.

From a strong field of 40 applications, the City of Ghent (Belgium) was shortlisted for seeking to transform the city’s local food system through participative governance models, the introduction of a food policy council and sustainable food procurement.

Other shortlisted candidates includes: the City of Bologna (Italy), for entering into collaborative pacts with their citizens in order to increase civic engagement and regenerate urban commons, and the City of Tirana (Albania), for increasing urban green space around the city, to counteract urban sprawl.

For more information about the shortlisted candidates, click here.  To learn more about Ghent's Sustainable Procurement work and goals, click here.

14 September 2018

Tshwane announced as new chair of GLCN on Sustainable Procurement

Executive Mayor of Tshwane, South Africa, Solly Msimanga has been announced as the new chair of ICLEI’s  Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN) at the Global Climate Action Summit.

As an early leader in sustainable procurement in Africa, the City of Tshwane was an obvious choice to lead in the next phase of the GLCN. Tshwane’s long term strategic vision commits itself to a path of sustainable economic growth decoupled from environmental impacts, and Tshwane has recently set targets to make 40% of the city bus fleet green by 2030, 10% of overall purchases sustainable by 2021, and reach 20% renewable energy at community-scale by 2030.

The GLCN is a group of 14 cities from around the globe committed to the implementation of sustainable and innovation procurement. Their goal is to support the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and socially responsible society.

For more information on the GLCN, please click here.

17 August 2018

GLCN Members Rotterdam and Oslo to showcase their SPP work at EcoProcura 2018

GLCN Members Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Oslo (Norway) will present their sustainable procurement work and goals, and will discuss how they hope to use public procurement strategically to contribute towards achieving the sustainable mobility goals in their respective cities, at EcoProcura 2018.

Both cities will participate in a session titled: ‘Procurement on the move: Achieving sustainable mobility’ 3 October, 16:00-17:20, where they will present their SPP work, explore the crossovers between procurement and mobility, and discuss how public procurement can help achieve sustainable mobility goals.

The EcoProcura 2018 conference is taking place from 3-5 October 2018 in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), and focuses on sustainable, circular, and innovation procurement. It will bring together over 400 procurers, policy makers, businesses, researchers, and international organisations.

A mix of plenary sessions, breakout sessions, market lounge tables, study tours and social events make up the conference programme.

For more information about the sustainable procurement work and goals of our members, click here.




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