Buying green! A handbook on environmental public procurement

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Public authorities are major consumers in Europe, spending some 16 % of the EU’s gross domestic product (which is a sum equivalent to half the GDP of Germany). By using their purchasing power to opt for goods and services that also
respect the environment, they can make an important contribution towards sustainable development. Green public procurement covers areas such as the purchase of energy-efficient computers and buildings, offi ce equipment made
of environmentally sustainable timber, recyclable paper, electric cars, environment-friendly public transport, organic food in canteens, electricity stemming from renewable energy sources, and air conditioning systems complying with state of the art environmental solutions.

Green purchasing is also about setting an example and influencing the market place. By promoting green procurement, public authorities can provide industry with real incentives for developing green technologies. In some product, works and service sectors, the impact can be particularly significant, as public purchasers command a large share of the
market (in computers, energy-efficient buildings, public transport, and so on).

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