EPA publishes Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public Sector

  • Minister Ossian Smyth today launched the EPA’s revised Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public Sector at the EPA’s Circular Economy Conference 2021.
  • Green Public Procurement is a process where public authorities seek to source goods, services or works with reduced environmental impact.
  • Annual public sector purchasing accounts for up to 12 per cent of Ireland’s GDP (approximately 20 Billion Euros annually).
  • The public sector has the opportunity to stimulate the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace.
  • This EPA guidance provides step-by-step instructions and criteria for implementing green public procurement and should be the go-to guide across the public sector when procuring goods, works and services.
EPA publishes Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public SectorOssian Smyth TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and with special responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), today launched the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public Sector at the EPA’s online Circular Economy Conference 2021.
This EPA guidance provides step-by-step instructions and criteria for implementing green public procurement in line with policy and legislation for use when procuring goods and services across the public sector.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Smyth said:
“Each year the State spends billions of euro on goods and services to support the delivery of vital services to the public. Our Climate Action Plan sets out an ambition to ensure that this significant expenditure is managed in an environmentally responsible way. The Office of Government Procurement, for which I am responsible, is leading on this work through including Green Public Procurement in its framework agreements, for example by providing alternatives to single use plastics.
This new guidance from the EPA will be of assistance to all public servants who find themselves procuring goods and services by providing practical support on how to include realistic and measurable green targets in their contracts with suppliers.”
The guidance is aimed primarily at those responsible for procurement in the public sector in central and local government, state agencies and other public bodies such as universities, hospitals and schools. It will also be of interest to the private sector when responding to tenders or applying green criteria in their own procurement.
Addressing the conference today, Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said:
“Green public procurement has an important role in Ireland’s move to a green and circular economy, where waste and resource use are minimised and the value of products and materials are maintained in the economy for as long as possible. The EPA Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public Sector supports this transition.”
She added:
“This guidance is timely with an increased focus on policy measures to expand and strengthen the usage of green public procurement. With a purchasing power of approximately €20 billion annually, the public sector has significant opportunity to stimulate the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace by implementing green public procurement.”
The guidance forms a part of a suite of EPA supports to deliver green public procurement, which include developing and delivering green public procurement training, and monitoring and reporting on green public procurement implementation by government departments.
The EPA’s Circular Economy Conference 2021: Ireland’s move to a new economy takes place online 15 & 16 September and today features a session focussing on Green Public Procurement to coincide with the launch of the guidance. For more info: EPA’s Circular Economy Conference 2021.
Originally published in 2014 the guidance has been substantially revised, to bring it up to date with Irish and EU policy and legislation. A wide range of public and private sector stakeholders were consulted during the review process.
The guidance and ten criteria sets relating to procurement of road transport vehicles and services; ICT products and services (including data centres); food and catering services; cleaning products and services; design, construction and management of office buildings; indoor and outdoor lighting; paper products and printing services; heating equipment; energy-related products; and textile products and services can be downloaded here.
Green Public Procurement is a process where public authorities seek to source goods, services or works with a reduced environmental impact. GPP is acknowledged as a vital policy lever in meeting environmental policy objectives.

A circular economy aims to reduce waste at all stages of the economic cycle and ensure materials are used as efficiently as possible. It challenges us to move from the current linear economic model of ‘Take-Make-Use-Dispose’ to a more efficient and low-carbon circular economy. Waste prevention, a central concept of the circular economy, challenges us to review our existing design, production, distribution and consumption of products.

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