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EcoProcura 2018 inspires procurers  from Europe and beyond to be more bold  

05 October 2018

This October, EcoProcura 2018, the international conference on sustainable, strategic, circular and innovation procurement, took place in European Green Capital Nijmegen (The Netherlands), shining a light on how procurement has evolved as a policy tool for achieving strategic objectives and targets. The conference brought together over 400 public procurers and stakeholders from across Europe and the world, inspiring and motivating them to grasp all the opportunities available to buy better. The conference was opened with an inspirational speech from Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Initiator of the Solar Impulse Foundation. Piccard called on procurers to become today’s pioneers and explorers, asserting that "Today the challenge is not technology. It is psychology”.

The power of public procurers as changemakers was indeed demonstrated throughout the three-day conference, with many cities and other public authorities sharing their stories of bold actions to encourage greater sustainability and innovation through procurement. At EcoProcura, attendees heard from the cities of Ghent and Barcelona, as well as the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, on how they have used procurement strategically to meet policy aims and objectives. The cities of Budapest and Copenhagen shared their insight into fostering behavioural change in public procurement, while Amsterdam revealed how it turned a mistake into an opportunity to improve all procurement procedures, challenging the audience to reflect on their own mistakes and turn these into learning opportunities. And, of course, the host city of Nijmegen shared its inspiring story of how it dared to be bold in their latest procurement for green electricity.

The messages of the conference also received strong endorsement from multiple Directorates General (DG) of the European Commission. Irmfried Schwimann - Deputy Director-General, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission - presented the Commissions’ Communication on 'Making Public Procurement work in and for Europe'. In particular, she focused on the need for more partnerships among big buyers, more training for public procurers, accelerated digital transformation, as well as the soon to be completed transition to e-procurement. “We must use public procurement as a lever for sustainable growth, bring it to a strategic level that includes green, social and innovative aspects” said Schwimann.

By the end of the conference, it was clear that many influential and motivated individuals and authorities exist in the public procurement sphere, and through greater collaboration with other buyers, it is possible to mainstream the strategic use of procurement, and to fundamentally change the market in key sectors. For those who want to be part of the change, there are several new Europe wide initiatives showcasing best-practices and offering a collaborative support network to those who want to buy better:

  • Procura+: a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement.

  • The InnoBroker project: European Innovation Procurement Brokers (IPB) bring together and facilitate the procurement of innovative goods and services between contracting authorities, suppliers of innovation (with a special focus on SMEs and start-ups), investors, and researchers.

  • Big Buyers: Initiative by the European Commission to connect ‘big buyers’, i.e. public bodies with a large purchasing volume that – together – can have a lasting impact on the market.

For more information on how to get involved in the above initiatives or future ICLEI procurement events, email


Greenpeace gets disruptive at EcoProcura 2018, winning the disruptors and games changers session

04 October 2018

Reyes Tirado, Senior Scientist, Greenpeace was announced as the winner of today’s disruptors and game changers plenary session.

The session showcased inspiring and radical ideas that seek to take procurement into a strategic future and get to the heart of tackling key societal problems. Tirado was voted the winner by conference participants based on her presentation, ‘Less is more’.

During her six minute presentation, Tirado made the case for reducing agriculture and dairy consumption in Europe and moving towards a plant based diet. Livestock produces the same amount of CO2 emissions - 14 percent - as all public transport. We need to act now and public procurement can do a lot, said Tirado.

For more information about this session and to see the full list of contributors, click here.




“Win-Win for European Economy” – Procure2Innovate Network officially launched at EcoProcura

04 October 2018

Procure2Innovate, the strategic innovation procurement network funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, has been officially launched at the EcoProcura conference in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Procure2Innovate is an ambitious four-year project which aims to create a lasting European network of expertise in innovation procurement – a vital tool which the European Union is eager to see moving markets and investment for the creation of more innovation in the bloc.

The network is formed by “competence centres” in more than 10 European countries – centres from which experts provide advice and key services to public procurers nationwide looking to purchase innovative services and products. These could be in such areas as ICT and healthcare.

“This project can really support European businesses,” said Procure2Innovate co-ordinator Marlene Grauer on the sidelines of the conference.

“By encouraging public procurers to purchase innovative products and services, this project can inspire a range of markets to become more competitive and, in turn, even recognise the value of increased research and development (R&D) spending. This is a win-win for the European economy.”

The Procure2Innovate network comprises five well-established competence centres (in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden) and five newly created centres in Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal. But there are firm plans to expand the network and boost its presence across the continent.

To date, both Lithuania and Finland have already joined the network as associate countries.

The network was officially launched today at EcoProcura 2018. This year’s international gathering is a hub of thinking and exchange on public procurement and sustainable procurement practices, and has attracted leaders from business, the European Commission and major European cities.

To read the full press release on the launch of Procure2Innovate: click here.


Interview with Director-General, Mr. Roald Lapperre, Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management

03 October 2018

What are you proud of in terms of sustainable public procurement in the Netherlands?

Samenwerking - The way the national government and local authorities work closely together, share knowledge and support each other. In our country we have an SPP manifesto signed by more than 150 parties. They are developing action plans that will go further than just complying with the minimum criteria. With this manifesto, we’re showing the rest of the Netherlands and Europe that we’re serious about what we, as a government, stand for. And that, through our procurement policy and our role as a contractor, we bolster sustainable innovation by market parties!

To see the full interview, click here.


Bertrand Piccard challenges procurers to buy better

03 October 2018

This year’s Ecoprocura conference in Nijmegen is exploring how governments can step up the game and do more to implement the solutions that are already available to environmental and social problems.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the Solar Impulse - the solar airplane which flew around the world - kicked off the day with a powerful call to action. We are living with past technologies - combustion engines, badly insulated homes, incandescent bulbs. But “the challenge is not technology, it’s psychology” - procurers need to change mindsets and become change makers! 

Dr. Piccard was followed by a number of speakers, from cities such as Nijmegen, Ghent, Barcelona, as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, who shared stories of their own bold actions to encourage greater sustainability and innovation through procurement. A range of actionable insights in specific sectors was also discussed through a range of breakout sessions.


Zevenaar was named the winner of the KoopWijsPrijs at the MVI conference

03 Ocobter

Zevenaar, The Netherlands, was named as the winner of the KoopWijsPrijs (BuyWisePrice) at the MVI conference, which took place as part of the EcoProcura conference on strategic, circular, innovation and circular procurement.

Zevenaar won the award for working together with the market to create a circular, low emission bicycle path. They didn’t know at the start how to do this and therefore asked the market to help. It was this cooperation that impressed the jury.

For more information, click here.