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5 October 2018

Barcelona and Rotterdam win procurement awards at 2018 Procura+ awards ceremony

The biggest successes in public procurement were honoured last night at the EcoProcura conference in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, with a clutch of top class projects in sustainability and innovation winning the 2018 Procura+ Awards.

ICLEI Members Barcelona (Spain) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands), and the Government of Flanders, were winners in their respective categories amid strong competition from other European cities, regions and national authorities.

The Procura+ Awards target trailblazing initiatives in public procurement – something of a catalyst for sustainability and innovation in the European economy. In the EU, public procurement alone accounts for about 14 per cent of GDP, offering an enormous potential market for products and services that boost the economy and environment, taking European towns and cities into the 21st century.

Smaller businesses are especially keen to win a slice of this market, making the Procura+ Awards a reference for both public authorities and SMEs from across the continent.

In a big moment for last night’s ceremony, Barcelona City Council scooped the top prize in Procurement Initiative of the Year, after the city made sustainable public procurement mandatory – efforts which will affect more than 50,000 tenders a year.

Janet Sanz, deputy mayor for ecology, urban planning and mobility at the city of Barcelona said the city had been “evolving its strategy and policy on sustainable procurement for over 15 years”. And a 2018 municipal decree made sustainable procurement mandatory. “This covers EUR 1.1 billion of spending,” confirmed Ms Sanz.

The deputy mayor added: “For our ambition to be recognised at the Procura+ Awards is a real honour and we hope this inspires others to take the same approach as Barcelona.”

This year’s Innovation Procurement of the Year was awarded to the Dutch city of Rotterdam, which is pioneering the procurement of innovative goods and services to make the city more accessible for the elderly or citizens with special needs. Its efforts involve a multitude of local SMEs.

Warmly welcoming the award, the city’s vice mayor Arno Bonte said: “We are honoured to receive the Procura+ Award for Innovation Procurement of the Year! The city of Rotterdam continuously seeks innovative and sustainable solution to our citizens’ needs and I am delighted that the hard work of our procurement team is recognised at a European level.”

Last night also saw the Government of Flanders take Sustainable Procurement of the Year – for setting up a major framework contract for sustainable office supplies. The administration set a target that “at least 50% of products meet sustainability criteria”, with a 2020 goal of 100% sustainable public procurement.

“The Government of Flanders recognises sustainable and innovative procurement as a strategic objective,” said Liesbeth Homans, vice-minister-president of the Government of Flanders, as she welcomed the award.

“We strive to ensure positive green, social and economic outcomes in all tenders, and the award of Sustainable Procurement of the Year encourages us to keep on aiming to do better and ensure that all our procurement is effective.”

Other initiatives honoured at this year’s Procura+ Awards included the three runners-up that pushed the winners close. ICLEI Member Aalborg (Denmark) ran a close second to Flanders in the sustainable procurement category, with ICLEI Member Cork City Council (Ireland) runner-up to Rotterdam for its innovation procurement efforts.

Meanwhile, Transport for London was pipped by Barcelona to the Procurement Initiative of the Year Award, following a successful training and skills programme for disadvantaged Londoners.

Honourable mentions were also given to the city of Copenhagen for greening public transportation through innovation procurement, and to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic. The ministry is particularly active in making sustainable public procurement more mainstream in the Czech economy.

This year’s EcoProcura conference, host to the Procura+ Awards, is being held in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The conference series started in 1998 as a forum to “promote exchange and dialogue” on the latest strategies and practical solutions on “sustainable, circular and innovation procurement”. This year’s awards were supported by the Procure2Innovate project.

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