The long awaited Government Action Plan on Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been published.
GPP will cover tenders in the following sectors: construction, energy, transport, food and catering, cleaning products and services, paper, uniforms and other textiles and ICT equipment. The Action Plan seeks to make sure that existing legislative requirements, for example in relation to waste and energy efficiency are factored into future tender competitions.
Suppliers in these priority sectors would be well advised to read the GPP Action Plan carefully as selection and evaluation marks will in future depend on how you ‘green’ your tender bid responses. For example, buyers may require that for the tenders covered by GPP suppliers should have certification in environment management systems (EMAS).
This is voluntary approach as a Statutory Instrument has not been enacted to give effect to GPP in Ireland.
On the other hand, while details are as yet sketchy, Government has made it clear that a life cycle costs approach should be considered by buyers when evaluating tender costs.
Detailed guidelines will have to be issued to public buyers before the GPP goes ‘live’. For example, there are as yet no assessment criteria for the use of construction products. On the other hand, the GPP Action Plan requires, for instance, that food and catering companies must have ISO 14001 certification (or equivalent) and that all ICT equipment meets Energy Star or equivalent criteria. There is no reference (quite a surprise let it be said) to carbon foot-printing i.e. the identification of the carbon component of the goods to be supplied.
It is envisaged that before full roll-out a detailed implementation plan for each of the eight sectors will need to be prepared in consultation with industry stakeholders. The Marketing Development Programme (or rx3 as it is now called) will work to define the most appropriate methodology for each sector. First and foremost, the public servants who have been asked to implement GPP will have to be trained. Funds for such training are limited so the introduction of GPP will be gradual, but soon enough it will be embedded in national procurement policy.
GPP will work provided the National Procurement Service engages with suppliers in a pro-active manner. The fact that the NPP is moving cautiously is to be welcomed given the limited experience which Irish suppliers have in this space.