Why: Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a core strand of driving sustainability, promoting resource efficiency, and progressing circular economy ambitions. Social procurement delivers broader social, cultural and environmental outcomes. The Irish Government’s annual purchasing accounts for 10 to 12% of GDP, which means procurement can be used as a lever of State funds to deliver potentially significant carbon savings, resource efficiency and social good.
Policy and Guidance: GPP is high on the agenda of the Climate Action Plan, Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and the Circular 20/2019: Promoting the use of Environmental and Social Considerations in Public Procurement. The EPA’s GPP guidance was published in 2021 and is available here. For more publications see here.
How: Public Procurers can help facilitate more circular and social procurement by getting a clear understanding of the needs of the organisation in the pre-tender phase, starting with a quick win, market engagement and dialogue, considering life cycle costing, taking measures to accommodate small scale suppliers (e.g. lots or consortium responses) and allowing for flexibility in specifications. More lessons learned from a recent Interreg CircularPP Circular Procurement project are available here.
Sharing case studies will help build confidence and understanding of how it can be done and the benefits of greener, more circular and social procurement. CRNI member case studies, as well as Irish and European case studies for green public procurement are provided below.
In 2019, the National Waste Collection Permit Office in Tullamore, Co. Offaly tendered for the delivery, assembly and installation of 100% reused and upcycled furniture for a new office space. This was the first public procurement project at scale to support Circular & Social objectives in Ireland.
CRNI coordinated a consortium of its members and other suppliers to deliver the 97 items of furniture, saving 2.6t carbon and supporting jobs and training in social enterprises.
CRNI members provide goods and services in reuse, repair and recycling. Below are some case studies to showcase how public bodies can work with our members to further circular and social procurement goals. Click on any of the examples to enlarge.
As part of the Limerick European Green Leaf 2020 webinar series, Limerick City and County Council ran an event on Green Public Procurement with the Rediscovery Centre. It provides an opportunity to learn about green procurement and the circular economy, while also giving businesses an insight into what is required under the green procurement process.
Speakers included the Office of Government Procurement, The National Academy for the Circular Economy, Darragh Lynch Architects, The National Waste Collection Permit Office/Rediscovery Centre, Community Reuse Network Ireland, Department of Environment, Climate & Communications and the Local Government Operational Procurement Centre.
A recent study (here) on GHG emissions over the lifetime of a commercial building found that 30% of total emissions are associated with furniture. This is due to the replacement rate and the impacts up the supply chain of extraction, manufacturing and distribution of furniture.
Reuse saves carbon by avoiding the upstream emissions associated with manufacturing and distributing new products. Calculate your savings here.
Two recent Interreg projects have provided a range of exciting case studies showing how even large scale procurement projects can support and help build the reuse and repair sector.
Circular PP aimed to develop an adequate framework for circular procurement. Two case studies involving upcycled and second hand furniture include:
The lessons learned from on Cicular Procurement projects from this research are here.
ProCirc is set up to experiment, implement and learn how circular economy and procurement can benefit the region. The large database of circular procurement case studies here includes examples of furniture / office buildings, playgrounds, vending machines, buliding refurbishment and much more.
10 x different suppliers including CRNI members Rediscovery Centre, Back2New, RecycleIT, FreeTrade and an ICSA member; furniture clearances at UCD and Henkel; 2nd hand Office furniture suppliers Griffin Office Solutions and Aline Office Furniture Ltd; and Adverts (private sale).
CRNI received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and rural Affairs in 2020 to carry out a pilot establishing a reuse and repair network in Northern Ireland.
For more information about the project see here.
CRNI is leading an EPA Green Enterprise project Circular Textiles, which will test the impact of three different separate collection systems for textiles and explore how we could manage the additional quantity of textiles that are collected. This project will be concluded in 2022.
For more information about the project see here.