Berlin: Eco-friendly procurement protects the environment and saves public expenditure

The state of Berlin can save 38 million Euro of its budget each year by procuring eco-friendly products and services. At the same time, eco-friendly procurement could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 47 percent – from approx. 757,000 to 355,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent – compared to conventional procurement. This is the finding of projections carried out by Oeko-Institut within an analysis of the cost effects and environmental impacts of sustainable procurement. The research project was commissioned by the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment.

10 of 15 product groups have environmental and cost advantages

In the research project Oeko-Institut analysed the potentials of 15 product groups and services that are procured by the public sector often and in large quantities. These include office equipment such as computers and printers, consumables such as paper and cleaning products, as well as the modernisation of buildings, the disposal of commercial waste and the use of construction machinery.

The comparison of the costs and environmental impacts of conventional and sustainable products shows that, based on the whole life cycle, the eco-friendly procurement options are cheaper than conventional procurement in 10 of the 15 cases. This applies to passenger cars, office and street lighting, floor coverings, buildings, multifunction devices, computers, cooling and freezing appliances, copy paper and cleaning agents. In spite of the purchasing price being higher in some cases, costs are saved overall in these product groups due to the lower consumption-related expenditure.

In the case of the remaining five product groups – the disposal of commercial waste, the procurement of electrical energy, construction machinery, dishwashers and textiles – the purchasing costs are higher. Nevertheless, Oeko-Institut recommends the eco-friendly options because either the potential for decreasing negative environmental impacts is especially high or the additional expenditure is low.

Oeko-Institut’s research project “Environmental and cost savings of eco-friendly procurement” (short version, in German only)

Oeko-Institut’s research project “Environmental and cost savings of eco-friendly procurement” (long version, in German only)

Contact at Oeko-Institut:

Jens Gröger
Senior Researcher

Sustainable Products & Material Flows Division
Oeko-Institut, Berlin office
Phone: +49 30 405085-378