By the 31st January 2006, national governments have to transpose two Directives on public procurement into national law. Public procurement stands for public expenditure/ consumption to the amount of, in average, of 16% of national GDPs, for the entire EU for 1500 billion Euro/year.

An enormous amount of money that, if used well, could give a major boost to the market for environmental technologies, products and services. However, authorities need to be both allowed and stimulated to formulate their tenders in such a way that they indeed contribute to the protection of peoples health, the environment and to greening the economy.

The two Directives do allow this, within limits, and it is important that the national legislation is going as far as possible in allowing this greening of public procurement. Beyond this, authorities should be actively stimulated to use the space, follow good examples of for example cities that look for the cleanest busses, the most energy efficient buildings, organic food provision in canteens, etcetera. 2005 is the year to act, to make a difference here.

The EEB, with trade unions, cities organisations, social NGOs, produced materials that can be used for supporting this action. Also the European Commission has produced guiding materials including: A campaign paper, in English, French, German, Swedish and Spanish A practical guide, written for the governments, national parliaments, NGOs, on how to apply the Directives (in English only) The EEB, ETUC, Social Platform Manifesto (in English and French) and Publication on “Investing in Sustainable Development: From best practice to common practice” The campaign paper gives you links to websites of, amongst others, the European Commission and ICLEI, an association of cities with a lot of experience on green public procurement. Further contacts at the EEB: John Hontelez, hontelez@eeb.org