The City of Ludwigsburg, Germany has developed a new approach to greening procurement that encourages following the Cradle to Cradle principles and involves aggregating public purchasing power for medium sized organizations.

The City of Ludwigsburg is a midsized city with 90,000 inhabitants located in southwest Germany. As part of its sustainable development strategy, the city government instructed the public procurement department to follow the “Cradle to Cradle®” principles in their procurement activities. Bidders are to select products and packaging that is certified to the German ecolabel.

To support the implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® principles, the city developed an innovative approach to encourage green procurement with their own sustainability guidelines based on the EU GPP guidelines. The city conducted a review of all public administration departments that procure office supplies and aggregated procurement activities across administration operations, day care centres and schools, with the objective of increasing purchasing volumes, thereby decreasing the price and including green criteria in bulk procurement requests. For example, one procurement request included 38 product groups and 295 individual products. For each product group, the city undertook market research to understand which sustainable alternatives were available and defined ambitious sustainability criteria for each product. For products where no sustainable alternative was available on the market, bidders had to fill in a product declaration guided by Cradle to Cradle® principles. This approach also included suppliers whose products could comply with some sustainability criteria, even though no certification is available.

In addition, bidders were assessed on the sustainability performance of their delivery service. For all products, the tender asked for a minimum amount of packaging, and packaging should be made of recyclable or other sustainable materials. Suppliers could also propose a reuse scheme for packaging. Bidders were encouraged to reduce plastic as much as possible in their packaging.

The process resulted in a two-year framework agreement with a single supplier for the delivery of office supplies to approximately 100 delivery points within the City of Ludwigsburg. This also includes the development and maintenance of a web-based ordering system that all procuring departments can use to order office material.

The city concluded that the additional work invested in researching and applying ambitious sustainability criteria paid off and did not result in higher costs.  The city also concluded that using green criteria does have an impact on the market, as several bidders increased the share of green products in their range of products as a result of this tender.

As a result of Ludwigsburg’s efforts, they were awarded the German BME-Award for Innovation Procurement.



Read more here about the cradle-to-cradle procurement approach use by the City of Ludwigsburg:


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