Costs and Benefits of Green Public Procurement in Europe

Due to the market power of the purchasing activities of public authorities, green public procurement (GPP) can make an important contribution to reducing environmental impacts and to changing unsustainable production and consumption patterns. Beside the direct positive effects on the environmental impacts, GPP can also stimulate innovation of environmental technologies and serve as an example for private procurement.

In order to gain more insight into the real situation regarding the costs and benefits of GPP, the study ‘Costs and Benefits of Green Public Procurement in Europe’ has been conducted on behalf of the European Commission. It comprises 4 parts:

Part 1: Comparison of the Life Cycle Costs of Green and Non Green Products

Part 2: Additional Costs for Individual Purchasing Authorities of Buying Green Products (Administrative and Product Costs)

Part 3: The Potential of GPP for the Spreading of New/Recently Developed Environmental Technologies – Case Studies

Part 4: General Recommendations

Part 1 compares the economic costs and benefits of GPP versus standard purchasing for individual purchasing authorities. Therefore the life cycle costs of green versions were compared to those of non green versions for products in 11 product groups. The comparison has been conducted for four EU Member States. A detailed description of the applied methodology facilitates the application and transfer of the results.

Part 2 builds a body of evidence of the costs for individual purchasing authorities to set up and run a GPP strategy within their organisation, including costs for implementing environmental criteria into tender documents or specific in-house training. The data was gathered by questionnaires, telephone and face-to-face interviews.

Part 3 shows how tender documents have been established in such a way as to trigger the offer of products based on new or recently developed eco-technologies. It therefore describes in detail 5 case studies including the methodology and different theoretical and practical steps undertaken by the procuring authorities.

Finally part 4 gives general recommendations based on the findings of preceding parts.