Europe’s public authorities are major consumers of good and services. By using their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production. The European Commission launched a Communication (COM (2008) 400) to implement a new instrument, the Green Public Procurement (GPP). The GPP is defined as “a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.”
Therefore the aim of the GPP is also about influencing the market, providing real incentives for developing green technologies, procedures and products. In some sectors, such as furnishing or construction, public purchasers command a large share of the market and their decisions have a considerable impact.
To be a success, GPP needs clear and verifiable environmental criteria for products and services. A number of European countries already have national criteria, and also the Commission, in order to have compatible criteria between Member States, published a list of criteria for different market sectors.
On the other hand, the European furniture industry, dominated by SMEs, is very important to the EU economy. The sector provides 1 million direct jobs in 130 thousand companies generating an annual turnover of around EUR 96 billion. It also creates new jobs, drives economic growth, and provides solutions for societal challenges. About 12% of designs are related to this sector. In the furniture sector the public authorities have a direct influence on consumption. In the EU, their purchases represent 16 % of GDP.
Some criteria have been developed for furniture processes and materials (wood, plastics, textiles, metal…) and also for the coatings and adhesive products used for the assembly and packaging tasks. Green public procurement is shown as an opportunity for the furniture industry to become more competitive, resource efficient, and sustainable.
For more information visit: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm