7 March 2024

Sustainable public procurement needs sustainable products

"Making products sustainable by default in the internal market is the best way to support sustainable public procurement”, notes Anna Cavazzini (MEP for Alliance 90/The Greens) in an interview with ICLEI Europe in advance of the 2024 Procura+ Conference, taking place 13-14 March in ICLEI Member Lisbon (Portugal).

As Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Cavazzini has helped develop legislation in the context of the European Green Deal that aims to contribute to more sustainability in public procurement. We see this, for example, through the EU batteries regulation which requires authorities to take sustainability into account when purchasing goods with batteries, including electric vehicles.

She wishes that “such a provision would exist in every product legislation, but we are not there yet.” She emphasises however that in the past five years the European Parliament has put in many efforts to improve the situation. For example, the right to repair, the new eco-design regulations, and the new rules on building efficiency will all contribute to public authorities procuring more sustainable products. In addition, the new product passport should help public authorities to better perform checks and controls and assess the sustainability of products.

Cavazzini’s strong focus on sustainable products can best be understood in the context of a recent report which highlighted that most tenders only receive a single bid. This “makes it hard for even the most well-meaning public procurers to procure sustainably. It’s hard to choose sustainable products if they only represent a tiny portion of available products and are more expensive than other options.

Watch the full interview with Anna Cavazzini here.