The Government has approved green procurement material presented by the Ministry of the Environment

After more than a year, the Ministry of the Environment managed to introduce “green procurement”. From November, the government will thus purchase furniture and computer technology that will be friendlier to the environment. The new rules will also bring financial savings for the State.

At its meeting of 14 June 2010, the Government approved the material presented by the Ministry of the Environment concerned with “green procurement”. It aims at systematic application of environmental requirements to certain groups of products in public procurement by the government. “The new rules of applying environmental requirements in public procurement will come into effect on 1 November this year and will apply to those categories of products that the State purchases most frequently. Thus, the government will be able to purchase office furniture with lower contents of chemical substances as well as more energy-efficient computer technology. Thus, the State will contribute to reducing expenditures for energy and to lowering negative environmental impacts,” stated the Minister of the Environment, Rut Bízková, adding that the Ministry of the Environment began to prepare this material about one year ago.

Simultaneously, the application of the new “green” rules is not only friendlier to the environment, but will also bring substantial financial savings for the State, especially in the form of lower expenditures for energy.

“We strived to provide the government with the option of choosing from an alternative range of products that are friendly to the environment. We also see green procurement as a positive example for the public and other sectors. By 31 December of next year, we will evaluate the project and propose its extension to include other areas, such as paper, printing services, foods or clothing,” said the Minister of the Environment, Rut Bízková.

Green procurement, which complies with the Communication from the European Commission on public procurement for a better environment, also provides a new stimulus for domestic businesses, as it creates a market and demand for innovative products. Consequently, this positive change was already supported in the stage of preparation of the rules by the Association of Czech Furniture Manufacturers, the Consumer Electronic Association and the Association of Importers and Manufacturers of Copying Technology.

Thus, in procuring selected types of products and services, the central governmental authorities will consistently apply environmental requirements based on the methodologies for the individual product groups, which form an integral part of the Rules approved at the meeting of the Government. “From the very beginning, we created these Rules in the sense of reducing administrative demands on functioning of the government, so that they would be administrative-friendly. For this purpose, we are also preparing training for buyers of products and a website with all the information, instructions and sample agreements, which will be available on the website of CENIA from 1 July,” stated the Minister of the Environment, Rut Bízková.

According to Rut Bízková, the methodology will, of course, be regularly updated, at least once every three years. “If there is a substantial change in the technology of production of a particular product, an update will react to this change immediately,” added Rut Bízková.

According to statistics to date, the annual expenditures of public organizations in the European Union correspond to approx. 16 % of the gross domestic product of the European Union. This figure is even higher in the Czech Republic, equalling approximately 20 % (corresponding to CZK 700 billion for 2007). Through utilizing their purchasing power in selecting goods and services that are friendly to the environment, public institutions can substantially contribute to application of the principles of sustainable development.

According to the table in the annual report on compliance with Government Resolution No. 720/2000, which recommends preference for environmentally friendly products, it appears this form of support is not entirely effective (e.g. a decrease in furniture purchases), and thus the adoption of the new Rules was a logical step in providing further support for these products. At the same time, it is advantageous that the sectors have already acquired experience in purchasing environmentally friendlier alternatives, which can assist them in comprehending and introducing the new Rules.

Eva Veverkova, Press Office of the MoE