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Waste prevention in criteria in public procurement: Tools for achieving the national environmental quality objectives
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
SKOP-research AB.
Responsible organisation
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Environmental Protection Agency has carried out regular questionnairebased surveys in order to monitor the extent to which environmental requirements are imposed in connection with public procurement in Sweden. Questionnairebased surveys have been carried out in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2013. The target group for the surveys has been procurement officers within municipal authorities, county councils, government agencies, state-owned companies and embassies belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Environmental Protection Agency carried out another questionnairebased survey during 2015 which focused on the extent to which and the way in which purchasing government agencies impose requirements concerning waste prevention measures in procurement.

The conclusions that are drawn from the results of the survey and a subsequent workshop are that the extent to which requirements are imposed concerning waste prevention measures varies between different procurement areas, and that the work to impose this type of requirement needs to be improved.

Among other things, the survey shows that many of the organizations that responded to the questionnaire have governing documents such as procurement policies which impose requirements to ensure that procurements are environmentally compatible. Despite these government documents, the survey shows that no significant requirements concerning waste prevention measures are imposed in procurements and that there is a lack of knowledge of how these requirements are imposed. One conclusion is that the management at various levels within the organization need to become better at monitoring and requiring the imposition of waste prevention measures in connection with procurement and the way in which they should be handled during the agreement period.

The survey also shows that the majority of the organizations have both a centralized and decentralized procurement organization, which may also be of significance as regards the way in which the requirements are imposed in connection with procurement. There is a tendency for many people to believe that it costs more and takes longer to carry out procurements if requirements concerning waste prevention measures are imposed. In spite of this, the majority of the organizations will impose such requirements and there is demand for more and simpler tools, i.e. concrete assistance in individual cases for formulating requirements for different types of procurement.

In order to achieve this, better training of procurement officers/buyers is needed, and those who provide the courses must have the right background and competence. Better internal collaboration is also needed within the organization between staff with a knowledge of environmental matters and buyers. In order to contribute to a reduction in the environmental impact, organizations should impose requirements concerning waste prevention measures in the first instance on the basis of a number of prioritized areas,such as energy, the construction sector, transport, food products, chemicals, IT and textiles.

Environmentally compatible procurement where requirements are imposed concerning waste prevention measures is an important instrument for contributing to achievement of the generational goal and the national environmental quality objectives. In order to environmentally compatible procurements with requirements concerning waste prevention measures to achieve a breakthrough as desired, the issue needs to be monitored and brought up at political level and government agencies with central responsibility for procurement issues need to prepare guidance and offer courses within the area.

The most important results from the present survey are as follows:

Procurement method

A majority (59 percent) of the organizations carry out their own procurements and have their own framework agreements.

The way in which procurements are organized

A large majority (61 percent) of the organizations have decentralized procurements in the organization.

The quality/environment models by which the organization is governed

Just over two out of every five (45 percent) replied that the organization is governed by a process-oriented working method.

Environmental review

One in four (27 percent) have carried out an environmental review which covers the work relating to environmentally compatible procurement.

Procurement policy

One third (32 percent) replied that their organization has a procurement policy or central guidelines which include environmental considerations in connection with procurement.

Requirements concerning waste prevention measures

Two in five (42) of the organizations impose environmental requirements concerning waste prevention measures within construction and demolition.

Types of requirements concerning waste prevention measures

Just over half (56 percent) usually impose general requirements. Almost as many (54) usually require an environmental management system to be in place.

Requirement for a reduction in volumes of waste

Just over two in five organizations (43 percent) have imposed a requirement for waste volumes to be reduced as regards construction and demolition contracts.

Requirement for reduction in volumes of hazardous waste

Almost half (49 percent) have imposed a requirement to reduce the volumes of hazardous waste generated as regards construction and demolition contracts.

How requirements are imposed

Most organizations (83 percent) which impose requirements in connection with procurement impose them as obligatory requirements/shall requirements.

Decisive in connection with contract awards

A few of the organizations (three percent) replied that the use of waste prevention criteria was decisive in connection with the awarding of contracts during 2014.

Criteria linked to Sweden’s 16 environmental quality objectives

During 2014, one third of the organizations (33 percent) used one or more criteria linked to Sweden’s environmental quality objectives.

More guidance on how criteria can be linked to the 16 environmental quality objectives

A large majority (69 percent) believe that their organization needs more guidance on how criteria that have been imposed can be linked to the 16 environmental quality objectives.

Use of tools and guidelines

A majority (54 percent) of the organizations use the criteria prepared by the Environmental Management Council.

Use of total cost/life-cycle cost calculations

Two in five organizations (43 percent) usually use total cost/life-cycle cost calculations where relevant.

Waste prevention measures in a life-cycle perspective

Most organizations (89 percent) believe that waste prevention measures must be viewed in a life-cycle perspective.

Innovation procurements

Almost two out of every five (38 percent) think that innovation procurements are preferable to ordinary procurements in order to stimulate new concepts for waste prevention measures.

Follow-up of requirements concerning waste prevention measures

One in five (21 percent) extensively follow up the requirements concerning waste prevention measures that are imposed in connection with procurement during the agreement period.

Measurements to determine whether the criteria have reduced the environmental impact

Very few organizations (two percent) have been able to any significant degree to measure whether the use of waste prevention criteria have reduced the environmental impact in the procurements that the organizations have carried out.

The need for waste prevention measures

Three in ten organizations (30 percent) think that there is a strong need for waste prevention measures.

The biggest obstacles to the imposition of waste prevention requirements

A very large majority (76 percent) replied that the biggest obstacle to imposing requirements concerning waste prevention measures is a lack of awareness concerning how to impose requirements.

How can more requirements concerning waste prevention measures be imposed?

A quarter of the organizations (24 percent) replied that they would impose environmental requirements concerning waste prevention measures if they received help to formulate the requirements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Naturvårdsverket, 2016. , p. 48
Series
Rapport / Naturvårdsverket, ISSN 0282-7298 ; 6730
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-8331ISBN: 978-91-620-6730-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:naturvardsverket-8331DiVA, id: diva2:1392004
Available from: 2020-02-06 Created: 2020-02-06 Last updated: 2020-02-06

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