This year marks the 20th anniversary of ICLEI’s work on sustainable and innovation procurement. Sustainable procurement brings environmental, societal and economic benefits at the local level, and can help drive the market towards sustainability. Over the last 20 years, through its activities on sustainable and innovation procurement, ICLEI has been involved in 150 projects; organised 100 conferences, seminars and workshops; trained over 2,000 people; supported 300 cities in more than 50 countries, and saved 1 million tonnes of CO2. As part of this anniversary, ICLEI has re-launched the SP Platform, and revamped one of ICLEI’s key initiatives Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.
ICLEI is celebrating this anniversary with a social media campaign designed to recognise that sustainable procurement is built on the basis of a broad community of experts working together. Organisations or public authorities involved in sustainable procurement are invited to share their achievements and thoughts on SPP using the hashtag #SPPecialists.
“In 20 years a lot has been achieved in the field of sustainable procurement. We have had the pleasure of working with committed and creative experts from cities large and small to develop and implement sustainable procurement strategies which have helped to create low-carbon, socially responsible societies. The work done so far provides a good basis for continuing to strengthen our relationships and contribute positively to the sustainable and innovation procurement community over the next 20 years,” said Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre.
ICLEI started working on sustainable procurement in 1996, with a survey on the purchasing practices of European local authorities. In 1998, the first EcoProcura – a Conference series dedicated to sustainable procurement – took place in Hannover, Germany. Another important milestone of these first years was the study “Environmental relief through green public procurement in Europe” (RELIEF), carried out between 2001 and 2003, which for the first time provided quantified figures on the potential environmental benefits of green public procurement in Europe.
Over the last two decades, many ICLEI members have been including sustainability criteria in their procurement policies and procedures, and sustainable procurement has become increasingly integrated at the local, national and international levels. In 2006, ICLEI became a founding member of the Marrakesh Taskforce on Sustainable Public Procurement. In 2009, ICLEI joined the European’s Commission’s GPP Advisory Group and developed the first GPP criteria for the European Commission. 2013 marked the start of the Brazilian Green Public Procurement for the Innovation and Green Growth Programme. In that same year, ICLEI became co-lead of the 10YPF Programme on SPP. Beijing, China, held the first EcoProcura China Symposium in 2014.
One of the most recent initiatives was the launch of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement in 2015. Cities from five continents have joined forces and committed to report against quantifiable targets, providing a clear indicator of the impact sustainable procurement can have in different countries. The Network also shows that the cities have a powerful, unified voice advocating for sustainable procurement in the international community into the future.