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Public buyers take concrete steps toward sustainable & circular transformations at Procura+ Conference 2024


14 Mar 2024


Climate & Environment

14 March 2024 – Lisbon, Portugal

The Procura+ Conference 2024 convened over 220 government officials, industry leaders and procurement practitioners in Lisbon (Portugal) for its 11th edition. The conference theme “Step Changes for Big Impact'' demonstrated how public buyers across Europe are taking steps to leverage public procurement as a driver of sustainable and circular transformations. The Norwegian Central Procurement Body, the city of Malmö, and the city of Lisbon were also revealed as the winners of the Procura+ Awards during the conference.  

Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon (Portugal), and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö (Sweden),  underscored the importance of sustainable, innovative and circular public procurement for their cities.

"In Lisbon, we are turning the idea of sustainability into reality. And we are doing so by leading by example. We're doing it by making an impact on people's lives. We are making sustainable procurement within our municipality a reality. And I am honored to be able to say that we are very close to achieving 100% sustainable procurement in the Lisbon City Council. This is a great achievement ", says the Mayor of Lisbon. "The Procura+ Awards is also the recognition of the commitment of all workers and managers who, on a daily basis, strive to do more and better, towards a new paradigm of public procurement", adds Carlos Moedas.

Mayor of Malmö and first Vice President of ICLEI Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh highlighted how important conferences such as Procura+ are for the further development of sustainable public procurement. “ICLEI has been organising these Conferences for 25 years, showcasing great steps, successes and experiences. Now it is time to take another big step forward. Climate neutrality is not enough. Our sustainable solutions cannot deepen social inequities. We need a fair and inclusive transformation, that requires us to work with all perspectives. This is why in the city of Malmö all purchases must take social, environmental and economic responsibility into account. Public procurement can be a driving force to reshape the market and our societies”.

Janez Potocnik, Co-chair of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel and former EU Commissioner for Environment (2009 - 2014), emphasised the need to harness the strategic power of public procurement in terms of the global availability of key resources, both from the perspective of policymakers and public authorities. “The current economy championed by industrialised nations is wasteful and unjust. We must shift away from the prevailing resource wasteful economic approach based on maximising the output of sectors, simplistically defined by GDP, towards an economy that is efficiently meeting human needs and optimise human wellbeing. The current logic is both ethically and ecologically unsustainable, which is why the Global Resources Outlook aimed to set the record straight. The economy was invented to serve humans and not the opposite, which is why the economy must serve citizen’s wellbeing.”

Key highlights from the conference, hosted by the City of Lisbon in collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, included sessions, with  the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Circular Flanders, Rijkswaterstaat, TCO Development and the Institute of Brilliant Failures, on professionalising public procurement and learning through experience. The conference also offered case studies such as the City of Lisbon’s Sustainable Procurement Management System and the CO2 Performance Ladder and among others. Meanwhile, interactive workshops focused on urban development, innovation, circular economy, just transitions and the transformation of the food system. As, Paul Iske, Chief Failures Officer at the Institute for Brilliant Failures noted “Sustainable procurement is the way to create a sustainable society. Change doesn’t happen in a straightforward way. There are many holes, mountains and interesting experiences. Enjoy the ride, even when you don’t succeed at first.”

The Conference highlighted some key procurement successes with reveal of the 2024 Procura+ Award winners. The Awards were given in three categories: The winner for Sustainable Procurement of the Year was the Norwegian Central Procurement Body for developing a framework agreement on the reuse and recycling of used ICT equipment, that also included social requirements for work-life inclusion. In the category Innovation Procurement of the Year the Award went to the City of Malmö for developing procurement criteria for several tenders based on universal design principles to make physical infrastructure, goods and services accessible to people of all ages, sizes and abilities. Finally, the City of Lisbon won the category Procurement Initiative of the Year, for Developing a Sustainable Procurement Management System, to establish a systematic framework ensuring that all public procurement processes within the Municipality are developed within responsible, transparent, fair, and ecological principles.

Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre closed the Conference: “Lisbon were fantastic hosts for an extraordinary gathering of procurers from across the world. The Procura+ 2024 Conference was about renewing inspiration, strengthening networks, and a shared commitment to catalysing step changes for big impact in procurement practices. The momentum generated during the conference sets the stage for continued collaboration in the transition to a more sustainable, just and resilient way forward.”

Find more information on the conference here.

Learn more about the Procura+ Award Winners and their achievements here.

About Procura+ Conference: For over 25 years, the Procura+ Conference has been one of ICLEI’s flagship events where sustainable, circular and innovation procurement policy meets practice, and where procurement innovations have originated. The Procura+ Conference series aims to equip participants wanting to implement high quality, cost effective, sustainable, circular and innovative procurement practices with the latest professional information, advice and networking opportunities. The Procura+ Conferences look at the role of procurement in AI; access to markets for SMEs, start-ups and social enterprises; deep tech; digitalisation; e-Procurement; life cycle costing; monitoring; professionalisation; smart cities; social responsibility and supply chain management.

Procura+ 2024 will present good practices and approaches for strategic procurement across thematic areas, key product and service sectors such as biodiversity, buildings, construction, energy, food and catering; ICT; mobility and textiles. This year the Conference will take place in the Lisbon Congress Centre.

About ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides Members in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.

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