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Green public procurement:

What are the benefits?

German public authorities spend nearly 260 billion euros a year on buying products and services – from pencils to local transport buses. This considerable demand power can be used deliberately to reduce environmental pollution, improve the supply of environmentally sound goods and services, or ensure targeted support for the market launch of innovative green products. It is often easier than one might think for public procurement bodies to take conscious decisions in favour of environmentally sound product alternatives.

Green procurement


... helps to protect climate and environment

Green products conserve our climate and natural resources. For example, the global warming potential associated with printing 1,000 pages on a multifunction device with the Blue Angel ecolabel is roughly half that of a conventional printer. Assuming that a multifunction device prints about 50,000 pages a year and has a service life of five years, a Blue Angel device saves about 1,150 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent – compared with a conventional device.

... pays off

For example, urban buses with lower diesel consumption are less expensive to run. It is usually easy to calculate how much less expensive. Another thing is also clear: In the first stages of a procurement procedure it is important to analyse carefully whether the goods or services are actually needed (needs analysis). If the item is needed, an invitation to tender taking account of environmental criteria not infrequently results in a less expensive product, especially if the evaluation of bids looks into the follow-on costs as well („life-cycle costs“). These are costs that arise during use of the product (e.g. electricity, water or maintenance costs). Waste management costs should not be ignored either.

… is better for health

For example, low-emission floor coverings reduce the levels of harmful substances in indoor air. Low-radiation monitors and low-noise computers and printers are also good for health.

… encourages imitation

If the public sector gives prominence to environmental aspects in its procurement projects, this is a credible way of implementing environmental objectives. This can encourage members of the public to switch to environmental alternatives as well.

… is a driving force for eco-innovation

Green procurement supports the market launch of environmentally sound products. In many cases these are innovative products that make an important contribution to environmental modernisation of the economy and create viable markets and jobs for the future.

The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment