Green Procurement is a system of purchasing environmentally preferable products and services, that is, “those products and services that have a lesser, that is, a reduced, effect on human health and the environment than other products and services used for the same purpose.”
A specific area in this regard is Green Public Procurement (GPP). Purchases made by the public administration, in fact, represent in Italy and Canada 17% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in Europe 18%, and in the U.S. 14% .
The practice of GPP consists in the possibility of including environmental qualification criteria in the demand that Public Administrations express when purchasing goods and services. On this issue, therefore, the P.A. can play the dual role of “customer” and “consumer,” and as such can have a strong “market orientation” capacity.
The use of the GPP tool has long been advocated by the European Union, which speaks extensively about it in both the “Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy” and the Sixth Environmental Action Program. However, it is COM (2001) 274 “Community law on public procurement and the possibilities for integrating environmental considerations into public contracts” that represents, to date, the Commission’s reference “guideline” act on GPP, to which must be added the adoption of Directive 2004/18/EC of March 31, 2004, on the “coordination of procedures for the award of public supply contracts, public service contracts and public works contracts,” which also introduces the environmental variable as well as attempting to simplify a far too detailed regulation.
In Italy, a first signal in this direction comes with CIPE’s approval of Resolution No. 57 of August 2, 2002, “Environmental Action Strategy for Sustainable Development in Italy,” which stipulates that “at least 30 percent of the goods purchased must also meet ecological requirements; 30-40 percent of the stock of durable goods must be energy-efficient, taking into account replacement and making use of the scrapping mechanism.”
In addition, with Decree No. 203 of May 8, 2003, the Ministry of the Environment and Territory Protection identified “rules and definitions for the regions to adopt provisions, intended for public bodies and companies with predominantly public capital, including service management companies, that guarantee that manufactured products and goods made with recycled material cover at least 30 percent of annual requirements.”
GPP can, therefore, be a valuable tool to foster the growth of a “green market” through:
the inclusion of environmental preferability criteria in the Public Administration’s purchasing procedures in the context of the most economically advantageous offer;
the possibility of considering environmental labeling systems as means of proof for the verification of required environmental requirements;
the possibility of considering certifications of environmental management systems (EMAS – ISO 14001) as means of proof for the verification of the technical capabilities of suppliers for the proper execution of the public contract.