Incorporating green procurement into your organizational practice

Schwarze Tastatur mit einer grünen Taste, auf der ein Einkaufswagen zu sehen istClick to enlarge
Umweltfreundliche Beschaffung
Source: Tortenboxer /

Green procurement can only be instituted successfully if it is incorporated into the warp and woof of organizational practice.

Committing to green procurement

First and foremost, your organization needs to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to green procurement. This can be done, for example, by getting the backing of a relevant government agency or official or of your organization’s procurement department. Ideally such backing will come from the top of the organizational hierarchy. For example, if the director of your agency sends out a memo encouraging all concerned to institute green procurement, all staff members will feel that they have their director’s back and will all be on the same page when it comes to green procurement.
Such backing should be expressly stated in an in-house administrative instrument such as procurement guidelines, a circular or an administrative advisory. Green procurement rules are also often incorporated into existing organizational policies.
When it comes to fleshing out green procurement criteria, our own tender guidance documents, as well as contract award criteria from eco-labels such as the Blue Angel can also be helpful. In such cases, the relevant eco-label’s current criteria can simply be incorporated into the specifications.


As is the case with many in-house administrative projects, it is advisable to form a working group comprising personnel from various administrative units so as to allow for coordination and information sharing between procurement personnel, managers in charge of climate protection and energy efficiency matters, and the units that will be using the items being procured. Such working groups can and should set objectives for procurement, spheres of responsibility and reporting duties, via instruments such as action plans.
It is advisable to at first focus on selected products, as this will allow you to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of green procurement. But of course the question then arises as to which products you should select. We recommend that you focus on those whose environmental impact is readily apparent or for which a broad selection of eco-friendly options are available (e.g. recovered paper). As you gain experience with green procurement, you can enlarge the scope of green procurement items.
When making procurement decisions, you should always first determine whether procurement is necessary in the first place, or whether, for example, instead of purchasing new computers you can upgrade existing ones. For in the final analysis, foregoing a particular procurement action is not only the most eco-friendly solution, but is also good for your agency’s budget.
You should also consider the possibility of having a central procurement entity purchase the products in question for your agency, assuming that such an entity exists. In the absence of such an entity, you should then look into the possibility of procurement centralization. This allows for bulk purchases that are often subject to a quantity discount and that make it easier to comply with environmental requirements by virtue of knowledge synergy.
Apart from formation of an in-house administrative working group, it can also be useful to work with other government institutions. Informational events, networking events, and online forums such as the Deutsche Vergabenetzwerk and the Verwaltungs- und Beschaffernetzwerk procurement networks afford government workers the opportunity to benefit from other people’s experience.
It is also important to ensure that the relevant personnel receive green procurement training, whose concepts and instructional materials can be developed using UBA materials that are available online. Another alternative is to sign up for a green procurement training course.
It’s also advisable to designate a point of contact for all green procurement matters. In the event a particular query cannot be answered in house, you can contact the Kompetenzstelle für nachhaltige Beschaffung at the Ministry of the Interior’s Beschaffungsamt (office of procurement).
The advantages of green procurement can be demonstrated through an evaluation showing, for example, that green procurement reduces carbon emissions and energy costs.


You shouldn’t hesitate to use the experience that your agency has acquired as a basis for PR on the subject of green procurement. This not only polishes the image of your agency, but also spreads the word about green procurement and encourages others to embrace it as well. This in turn enables you to make an additional contribution to environmental and climate protection.

We invite you to share your positive experiences with green procurement with us.

Examples of selected legal and administrative frameworks for procurement


  • Berlin

    The set of rules titled Beschaffung und Umwelt – VwVBU, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, requires all government procurement entities in the regional-state of Berlin to factor ecological criteria and life cycle costs into their procurement processes.


  • Bremen

    In late 2009 the Bremen parliament adopted a public procurement law that is oriented toward social and ecological criteria.


  • Hamburg

    Link Link

  • Leipzig

    Leipzig’s construction, product/service and freelance services procurement rules stipulate that recommendations are to be taken into account for environmentally relevant procurement measures and that wherever possible, products that meet Blue Angel eco-label criteria are to be purchased.


  • Hameln-Pyrmont region

    In July 2012, the Hameln-Pyrmont regional assembly adopted a decision calling for the region to take the measures necessary to ensure that by 2020, all of the call for tenders that fall within the region’s scope will involve ecologically sustainable solutions. To this end, a regional administrative regulation concerning the implementation of sustainable procurement came into effect. Hence, environmental concerns and energy efficiency are to be factored into all procurement activities, in connection with the applicable procurement guidelines.

    Dienstanweisung nachhaltige Beschaffung/ Landkreis Hameln-Pyrmont

  • Mainz

    Mainz: Organisation nachhaltiger Beschaffung

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