Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a process where public authorities seek to source goods, services or works with a reduced environmental impact. The Government of Ireland’s annual public sector purchasing accounts for 10% to 12% of Ireland’s GDP, a large part of economic activity and demand.
This provides Ireland’s public sector with significant influence to stimulate the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace.
The public sector has a responsibility to promote green procurement, in order to support Ireland’s environmental and wider sustainable development objectives. GPP is recognised internationally as an effective means for public administrations to manage the balance between cost-effectiveness and sustainable development. Citizens need to be sure that what is purchased on their behalf has minimal harmful effects on the environment and society. At the same time, these goods, services and works must represent both short-term and long-term value for money.
Launched through the Climate Action Plan in 2019, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published Circular 20/2019 promoting the use of environmental and social considerations in public procurement. This was followed by Green Procurement Guidance published by the EPA in September 2021 which was designed as a practical tool to assist procurers to build green criteria into public tenders across 10 sectors:
- Energy-related products
- Food and catering services
- Heating equipment
- ICT products and services
- Cleaning products and services
- Indoor and outdoor lighting
- Design, construction and management of office buildings
- Paper products and printing services
- Textile products and services
- Road transport vehicles and services
The Office of Government Procurement has since followed this up by launching an online search tool to support green public procurement in November 2022. This handy online search tool provided through GPPCriteria.gov.ie allows users to rapidly find, select and download GPP criteria relevant to a specific procurement project.
Applicability to Road Design Schemes
TOBIN Consulting Engineers throughout their 70 years in operation have a history of successful delivery of road schemes for both public and private clients. While sustainability has always been a key driving factor to designers on road schemes through reuse of pavement materials and mass haul balancing, GPP will help in the consideration of sustainability even further.
This could be envisaged through the inclusion of smart LED public lighting and road signals to reduce energy costs, specifying requirements that contractors source low-embedded carbon concrete mixes, road constituent mix additives in the form of recycled materials and developments in Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) among others.
We look forward to seeing in TOBIN Consulting Engineers where the progression in sustainable construction takes the industry and look forward to assisting our client’s achieving compliance with Green Public Procurement on Road, Urban Enhancement and Active Travel schemes in the near future.