EU Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement 5th Newsletter, December 2020


  • FOREWORD by Valentina Schippers-Opejko, Coordinator Urban Agenda Partnership
  • UA Partnership session during the EUROPEAN WEEK OF CITIES & REGIONS
  • What are the ADVANTAGES of PARTICIPATION in our Partnership?
  • What is the RELATIONSHIP between PUBLIC PROCUREMENT and the EU GREEN DEAL GOALS?: 3 key questions to DG GROW and DG ENV representatives
  • Haarlem wins the PROCURA+ AWARD for 'Procurement Initiative of the Year'
  • E-LEARNING MODULE now online available
  • Save the date for our WEBINAR to learn all about the E-learning module
  • Online TRAINING on Strategic Procurement: pre-registration now open
  • BIG BUYERS for Climate and Environment Initiative with specific information about the working group on Circular Construction Materials
  • MAKE ICT FAIR project: the participation of Haarlem in fair and sustainable ICT
Welcome to this UA Newsletter: in this remarkable year 2020 we offer you the latest news of the Partnerships work. Our motivation to create a better future for all citizens in Europe is reflected in the items and contributions in this Newsletter. Because we care.



2020 was a year we never experienced before. During the last physical meeting in January 2020, we made plans for the live event during the European Week of Cities and Regions in Brussels, the Procura+ event in Lisbon and many other important events to promote procurement as a strategic tool. Who could ever have thought that the world would look so different only a few months later?

Who could have thought that a pandemic would keep the world in an iron grip? That the mouth mask would become an inseparable part of the clothing? Travel books in the library from now on can be found under the category 'Fantasy'? And a lot of people became unemployed? Even strong opponents of digitalization became completely digital and the economy would collapse?

In times like this, is Public Procurement still important? Yes! I know for sure procurement is even more important than ever! Public Procurement as a strategic tool can help to recover the economy after the pandemic, can help to create new jobs for people who became unemployed due to the COVID19 crisis, will help too push forward innovative and creative solutions for the current challenges – for health, life-saving solutions.

It is also a chance to turn the economy to a circular economy and to reduce waste, maintain instead of buying new things, re-use, save energy, water and raw materials, eat and live healthier and more responsible. It is an opportunity to make our planet greener again and live a healthier live!

Valentina Schippers-Opejko, Coordinator Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement, Haarlem, The Netherlands



On October 14th, 2020 the Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement provided an online session during the European Week of Cities and Regions. The theme of this session was ‘Green Deal? Achieve it through Procurement!’, and the Partnership presented the products and deliverables we worked hard on for the last three years. 77 participants from all over Europe joined this session.

Matthew Baqueriza-Jackson (matthew@mbj.uk.com), representing URBACT, moderated the session. Valentina Schippers-Opejko, the coordinator of the Partnership provided the presentation by using the story telling about the deliverables of the Partnership. Jos Wienen, Mayor of the City of Haarlem presented the Case study of the City of Haarlem, winner of the Procura+ Award 2020. The panellists Ivo Locatelli from DG GROW, Stefan Appel from DG REGIO, Enrico Degiorgis from DG ENV, Marcelline Bonneau from URBACT, Paulo Magina from OECD and Hervé Fournier from Nantes Metropole provided interesting discussion on Public Procurement as a Strategic tool to achieve EU Green Deal goals and other important challenges public authorities are dealing with.

Did you miss the session and would you like to see the recorded session ‘Green Deal? Achieve it through Procurement!’? Please check the following link: https://euregionsweek2020-video.eu/video/green-deal-achieve-it-through-procurement


What are the advantages of participation in our Partnership?

The Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement has the following advantages for its participants:

Would you like to know more about the possibilities for your organization or are you interested in becoming a partner?

Please contact the coordinator of the Partnership Valentina Schippers-Opejko by e-mail: vopejko@haarlem.nl


What is the relationship between public procurement and the EU green deal goals?

3 key questions to DG GROW and DG ENV respresentatives

After a successful presentation ‘Green Deal? Achieve it through procurement!’ during the European Week of Cities and Regions in October, we asked Mariya Pelovska, Legal and Policy Officer DG GROW, and Kestutis Sadauskas, Director EC, DG ENV, to reply to 3 key questions concerning the relationship between public procurement and the EU Green Deal goals.

3 Key questions to Mariya Pelovska, DG GROW:


Could you please introduce yourself and could you describe your experience with public procurement as a strategic tool?

My name is Mariya Pelovska, I work as Legal and Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. My area of expertise focuses on EU sustainable public procurement policy.


How do you think strategic public procurement can contribute to the EU Green Deal goals?

The public sector has a key role to play in accelerating the transition to climate neutrality. Public buyers manage budgets worth 14 % of pre-COVID EU DGP (roughly 2 trillion EUR/year) and are key investors in critical sectors for climate and environment such as mobility, buildings and infrastructure.

Sustainable Public Procurement helps public authorities to reach a balance between the three pillars of sustainable development (i.e. economic, social and environmental) when procuring goods, services or works at all stages of a project and to promote the single market for sustainable goods and services.

Considering the weight of public procurement in the EU’s economy and its potential to support green and digital recovery, the Commission has been supporting national authorities to use sustainability considerations systematically in their tender procedures. Public procurement can be an important driver for creating demand for circular economy practices as well. It is especially important to award public contracts based on life-cycle costing methodologies, as this has a great impact on the development of the circular economy.


What can be the added value of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement to help public authorities to achieve EU Green Deal goals?

Creating and maintaining a community of practice in the area of public procurement such as the Urban Agenda Partnership enhances the uptake of strategic/sustainable public procurement by a larger number of EU-wide contracting authorities. It creates an opportunity to share experiences, find solutions and reach common goals.

3 Key questions to Kestutis Sadauskas, DG ENV:


Could you please introduce yourself and could you describe your experience with public procurement as a strategic tool?

I am Kestutis Sadauskas, Director at the European Commission, in the Directorate general for Environment (DG ENV). I head the team responsible for Circular Economy and Green Growth. The core activity of the team is to support the transformation of the European economy into a Green Economy that uses its resources efficiently and decouples economic growth from environmental degradation and resource use. One of the essential areas to make this happening, is public procurement.


How do you think strategic public procurement can contribute to the EU Green Deal goals?

Europe's public authorities are major consumers. By using their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works, they can make an important contribution to the European Green Deal goals. Through Green Public Procurement, public authorities not only can achieve substantial environmental benefits, but also set an example to private consumers and professional buyers, and raise awareness of environmental issues.

With the new Circular economy action plan, published in March 2020, the Commission decided to tap into the full potential of green public procurement, to propose minimum mandatory requirements in sectoral legislation. This will take place as part of the EU legislative process. A first example will soon be adopted as Commission proposal for the modernization of the legislative framework for batteries. Other examples will come in the next months, such as the sustainable products initiative. All stakeholders are welcome to contribute to the public consultations envisaged in the process. Furthermore, the Commission will continue to support capacity building with guidance, training and dissemination of good practices.


What can be the added value of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement to help public authorities to achieve EU Green Deal goals?

Sharing of experiences and knowledge, networking and consistency at different governance levels are essential aspects to speed up the transition to a more sustainable public procurement and the Urban Agenda Partnership is a good example of how this can be done in practice. Moreover, the Partnership can bring an important contribution in some of the areas that still need improvements, such as the legal aspects related to the inclusion of sustainability criteria in public tenders and the use of labels or monitoring and the assessment of the impacts.


Find all information regarding the Procura Awards on: https://procuraplus.org/awards/

Haarlem wins the PROCURA+ AWARD for 'Procurement Initiative of the Year'

Haarlem has won the Procura+ Award 2020 in the category ‘Procurement Initiative of the Year’ for the cooperative approach to supplier management to achieve a circular and sustainable city. Haarlem is coordinating city of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement’

City of Haarlem aims to procure green, fair and circular. The city is also committed to transition into a gas free city with a circular economy in which cooperation between businesses, government, knowledge institutions and citizens ensures effectiveness, innovation and sustainability. Throughout its procurements, the city of Haarlem aims for a cooperative approach with its suppliers, that makes sure suppliers and contractors are aligned with Haarlem’s vision of a green and circular city.

Wherever possible, Haarlem opts for functional requirements that allow suppliers to develop their own solutions, while helping Haarlem to achieve its strategic goals. For a recent framework agreement for public space maintenance and construction work execution, after the selection stage, the city asked bidders to submit proof of how they would collaborate with the city and its inhabitants (participation in decision making), how they would implement sustainability and circularity, cost effectiveness and political sensibility.

Haarlem also includes so-called social return on investment clauses in all its contracts. The contract partners have the obligation to spend 4% of their yearly revenue on including vulnerable to exclusion groups in their workforce. Among others, Haarlem’s initiative has led to decreased traffic congestion, a local hub for raw materials, and increased cooperation with its citizens on major reconstruction works.

On the photo a proud Valentina Schippers-Opejko with the Procura+ Award!


E-learning module now online available

The Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement delivered 7 actions – guidelines, toolboxes and handbooks. To make these deliverables user-friendly we developed an interactive E-Learning module. This E-Learning module provides information about:

- How to build Procurement Strategy in your organisation?

- How to push forward Circular Economy by using public procurement?

- How to measure the Impact of Spend?

- How to set up an Innovation Procurement Broker?

- How to set up Local Cooperation Centre in order to exchange knowledge and expertise on innovative and responsible public procurement?

- Where to find the Funds?

- What are the legal procurement processes and instruments when it comes to procure more innovative and sustainable?

You can use this E-Learning module for free. Interested? You can find the E-Learning module by using the following link: https://uapp.maester.com/

Save the date for our webinar to learn all about the E-learning module

Please save the date: on Tuesday February 2nd, 2021, 10:00 - 12:00 (CET) we will organise a webinar about the E-Learning module. To join this webinar we will publish the access link on the Futurium website Public Procurement page and via other (social)media. For questions please send an email to djansens@haarlem.nl

Link and QR code to the Futurium Public Procurement website:


Online training on Strategic Procurement: pre-registration now open

Together with URBACT our UA Partnership has developed a FREE online training on Strategic Procurement.

Pre-registration for this free online course on Strategic Procurement is now open and available here: https://urbact.eu/procurement


BIG BUYERS For climate and Environment

In 2019 the City of Haarlem joined the Big Buyers for Climate and Environment Initiative, which is a European Commission Initiative for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement for sustainable solutions.

Public procurement can be a key tool in driving the development of innovative goods and services on the European market. By working together, and pooling their resources, cities, central purchasing bodies, and other major public procurers can maximise their market power and impact.

ICLEI and EUROCITIES are currently running the initiative on behalf of the European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The initiative aims to work together with existing networks and organizations active in this area.

We are now embarking on the next phase of the Big Buyers Initiative, following the successful piloting of three working groups between 2019 and 2020. Find out more about the working group on circular construction material below.


Buildings and construction are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions, while construction works and materials alone represent 11%. Although great strides have been made in operational energy efficiency of buildings, there is a growing concern for embedded or upfront carbon - all that goes into material extraction, processing, transportation, and construction works. Construction materials account for half of the raw materials used in Europe, while construction and demolition waste represent ⅓ of all waste - one of the largest waste fractions by volume in the EU. Building materials therefore show an enormous untapped potential for a circular economy.

Public authorities - as managers of large portfolios of real-estate assets, as custodians of urban infrastructure and as regulators and enablers through zoning and permitting - have a key role to play in implementing the circular economy in the built environment. Learnings from the BBI working group show experiences of leading European cities in procuring, participating and piloting policies and projects for circular construction. While key hotspots for improvement have been identified, so have remaining barriers. We hope these examples will inspire other cities to join the transition.

The public buyers within the BBI working group share a common ambition in applying circular economy principles to public construction projects and supporting the growth of a local circular economy sector. The aim of these activities is :

• to keep existing materials in use and retain their value, thus avoiding waste,

• to stimulate market innovation for less resource-intensive materials (e.g. bio-based building blocks or low carbon concrete), and ultimately

• to reduce the embedded carbon of construction materials and lessen the environmental impact of raw material demand.


Working group members have conducted pilot projects on circular construction or demolition of infrastructure or buildings, addressing different challenges to circularity of construction materials across the value chain. These pilots include:

• Testing of digital tools for tracking material composition, quantity and quality (material passports/ buildings as material banks),

Selective demolition of a hospital and several schools to recover contained materials and components

Social urban mining approach of cooperating with social economy enterprises (focus on social inclusion and green jobs for un- or underemployed persons) to remove, separate and transform secondary construction materials

• Procurement requirements for life-cycle assessment (LCA) calculations, environmental cost indicators (ECIs) and environmental product declarations (EPDs) for the principle construction materials

• Creation of a ‘circularity index’ to compare tenders in procurement considering value maintained, e.g. of concrete infrastructure

• Municipal-led circular land mass coordination between all construction sites in the city

• On-site transformation of old concrete for new recycled aggregate

• Inclusion of reclaimed materials and components in new constructions or renovations (doors, technical ceilings, bricks, floor boards, furniture)

The full report can be found on: https://sustainable-procurement.org/big-buyers/


Make ICT Fair project: the participation of Haarlem in fair and sustainable ICT

Haarlem’s Sustainable and Responsible Procurement Policy (2015-2019) sets the city’s ambition to become climate neutral and circular, to encourage SROI and uphold international responsibility. The policy puts a particular focus on ‘Electronics’ and ‘Stones’ as important product categories for the implementation and development of social responsibility. This decision is based on the knowledge about the social and environmental conditions affecting workers in the supply chains of these products categories.

A key challenge in the electronics industry is the lack of transparency in the raw materials used in electronics. Currently, the electronics industry has started to establish transparency of its minerals supply chains to the level of smelter and/or refiners. However, to enable monitoring, remediation and improvements for affected workers and communities of mining operations, the challenge for the coming years will be to move beyond smelters and or refiners to establish the links between mines and particular supply chains.

In 2018, Haarlem decided to affiliate with independent monitoring organisation Electronics Watch, in order to implement its policy and increase its verification capability. By participating in the Make ICT Fair project, Haarlem also had an opportunity to improve its procurement practice through market engagement on fair and circular ICT equipment. In 2019 Haarlem organized two market engagement events and now uses the collected knowledge in its procurement. Due to a shift in the working package of the IT department the tender was postponed untill the fall of 2020. Now Haarlem has joined the joint procurement with the VNG towards a circular and fair framework contract. The results of this tender will approximately be available in the spring of 2021.


We wish you all a wonderful Christmas time and a healthy and happy 2021 !

Seasons greetings from the Urban Agenda Haarlem team and all partners of the Partnership:

* Valentina Schippers-Opejko

* Sanne van Kamp

* Rudie de Vries

* Else Kingma

* Debby Jansens

For more information about the Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement under the EU Urban Agenda, please send an e-mail to Mrs. Valentina Schippers-Opejko: vopejko@haarlem.nl

This newsletter is a production by the EU Urban Agenda coordination team Partnership for Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement.

City of Haarlem


Gemaakt met een afbeelding van rawpixel - "untitled image"