Why bio-based products?
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Bio-based products and services play an important role in ‘green’ public procurement, in ‘sustainable’ public procurement, and in ‘circular’ public procurement, because their use can amongst others:

  • Reduce or even avoid the use of fossil resources;
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the production, use and end-of-life of products;
  • Help public authorities to achieve their environmental targets;
  • Raise awareness on environmental issues;
  • Improve people’s quality of life;
  • Stimulate the local economy and create jobs;
  • Safe money across the whole life-cycle of the product or service.

Circular Public Procurement (CPP) enables the purchasing party to help ensure that, at the end of their service life or useful life, products or materials will be re-used effectively in a new cycle. CPP presupposes a different, more functional view on demand. As a result, the concept of "ownership" is seen in an entirely different light. Alternative revenue models such as product-as-a-service offers or sale-repurchase agreements can be useful here.[1]

Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is a process by which the purchasing party seeks to achieve the appropriate balance between the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - when procuring goods, services or works at all stages of a project.[2]

Green Public Procurement (GPP) is implemented by many public authorities in the EU as part of a broader approach to sustainability in their operations. GPP is defined as "a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured."[2]

These different ‘versions’ of public procurement are all about influencing the market. By using their purchasing power to choose goods and services with lower impacts on the environment, public procurers can make an important contribution to sustainable production, consumption and re-use. Public authorities can provide market actors with real incentives for developing green technologies and products. In some sectors, public purchasers command a significant share of the market (e.g. public transport and construction, health services and education) and so their decisions have considerable impact.

In summary...
Procurement of bio-based products and services is a complementary approach to Circular, Sustainable and Green Public Procurement, not a competing approach. Despite their different names and different focus, all these approaches to public procurement go hand in hand, and bio-based products can play a role in all of them.

[1] PIANOo, https://www.pianoo.nl/public-procurement-in-the-netherlands/sustainable-public-procurement-spp/spp-themes/circular-procurement, 2016.

[2] European Commission, Directorate-General environment, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/versus_en.htm

Why bio-based products?