EPA report shows low uptake of Green Public Procurement in government department contracts

  • Of €922 million spend by government departments on contracts in 2022, 34 per cent included green criteria.
  • The increase in the use of green criteria (10% in 2021, 34% in 2022) is encouraging but still at a low level.
  • All government departments must improve their implementation of Green Public Procurement and purchase more resource-efficient and less polluting goods, services and works.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its third report on Green Public Procurement (GPP) activity in government departments. GPP is a process where public authorities seek to source goods, services or works that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life-cycle.


The report details that out of the reported €922 million spend on contracts greater than €25,000 and signed in 2022, just 34 per cent of the spend included green criteria. While it is encouraging to see an improvement compared to the previous year (10 per cent in 2021, 34 per cent in 2022), overall the use of green criteria is inconsistent across government departments and at a low level relative to total spend.


Launching the report Laura Burke, Director General, said:


“Our latest report shows an encouraging increase in the implementation of Green Public Procurement by government departments. But the use of Green Public Procurement is still low, with only a quarter of in scope ICT Product contracts incorporating green criteria, and less than half in some other sectors such as transport and cleaning services. This is a missed opportunity by the Government sector to show leadership in purchasing more resource efficient and less polluting goods, services and works. For example, introduction of green criteria can deliver carbon reductions, conserve water, improve air and water quality and prevent waste.”


The EPA report sets out the following five recommendations:


  1. Assign senior level responsibility within government departments to prioritise the incorporation of GPP into procurement processes, including the Corporate Procurement Plan.
  2. Implement relevant actions in the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications’ ‘Buying Greener: Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2027’, published April 2024.
  3. Provide GPP training to relevant staff and ensure awareness of the available resources, such as the national GPP guidance and criteria sets and GPP Criteria Search.
  4. Put in place systems to monitor and report on GPP
  5. Include GPP data in Government Department Annual Reports.


The report ‘Green Public Procurement: Monitoring and Reporting by Government Departments, 2022 Reference Year’ is now available on the EPA website.


The EPA supports GPP implementation including providing national guidance and national criteria for priority sectors; monitoring and reporting on GPP implementation in government departments annually and hosting ‘GPP in Practice’ events to showcase examples of GPP across the public sector.


All 18 government departments provided returns for 2022 reference year, which requested data on GPP implementation at contract level (number and value of contracts), where the contract value was greater than €25,000 and the contract was signed in calendar year 2022. A summary of the data reported to the EPA is tabulated below. Note the reporting is by government departments and does not include procurement for agencies affiliated to those departments.


The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications recently published Buying Greener: Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2027 which will play a key role in driving the implementation of green and circular procurement practices across the public sector. The national strategy includes information and actions on progressing GPP implementation in the public sector.



Summary Data


Department No. of contracts over €25,000 signed in 2022 incorporating GPP Percentage of total spend reported on contracts over €25,000 signed in 2022 incorporating GPP
Agriculture, Food & the Marine 137 56%
Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth 1 8%
Defence 4 50%
Education 5 7%
Enterprise, Trade & Employment 6 57%
Environment, Climate & Communications 7 8%
Finance 2 67%
Foreign Affairs 5 45%
Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science 0 0%
Health 4 9%
Housing, Local Government & Heritage 5 12%
Justice 2 *not known
Public Expenditure & Reform 19 64%
Rural & Community Development 8 96%
Social Protection 25 17%
The Taoiseach 10 88%
Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media 3 45%
Transport 3 100%


*value of contracts not given

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