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Framework, Publications & Projects

Find out more about legislation, publications and current green public procurement (GPP) projects.

Legal framework

EU Treaty:

In addition to the Procurement Directives, a number of other sources of EU Law govern procurement and thus affect the manner in which green public procurement (GPP) should be implemented.

The basic principles of free movement of goods, services, capital and people are set out in the Treaties, along with a prohibition on discrimination based on nationality. These are the principles of transparency, equal treatment, proportionality and mutual recognition. Similarly public authorities should be aware of the EU rules governing State Aid and Competition when conducting any procurement process.

For more information, please go to EUR-Lex home website.

EU Public Procurement Directives: 

On 26 February 2014, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament adopted two directives aimed at simplifying public procurement procedures and making them more flexible: Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement, and Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors.

The new rules seek to ensure greater inclusion of common societal goals in the procurement process. These goals include environmental protection, social responsibility, innovation, combating climate change, employment, public health and other social and environmental considerations.

For further information on public procurement legislation and other relevant documents, please consult the publication office website of the EU

Policy framework

The European Commission’s public procurement strategy focuses on six strategic policy priorities that were set out in the 2017 communication 'Making public procurement work in and for Europe'. It aims to improve EU public procurement practices in a collaborative manner by working with public authorities and other stakeholders. One of the pillars of this strategy is to ensure the wider uptake of innovation, green, and social procurement. 

The European Green Deal was launched by the Commission in December 2019 and provides a roadmap for boosting resource efficiency and supporting a sustainable economy. The roadmap suggests actions that promote a circular economy, restore biodiversity and cut pollution.

For more information, please visit the European Green Deal website.

In March 2020, the Commission published the new Circular Economy Action Plan. It is one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal and announces initiatives along the entire life cycle of products, targeting for example their design, promoting circular economy processes, fostering sustainable consumption, and aiming to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible. It introduces legislative and non-legislative measures targeting areas where action at the EU level brings real added value.

As regards specific actions on GPP, the Commission proposes to introduce mandatory minimum criteria and targets in sectoral legislation. In addition, it undertakes to continue to support capacity building through guidance, training and dissemination of good practices.

For more information about the EU Strategies, visit the Environmental strategies and actions plans.


Green Public Procurement (GPP) Ongoing Projects

In this section you can find links to ongoing GPP projects and take advantage of expert advice on a variety of GPP related issues.

These projects are built on partnerships between a number of public authorities, and other organisations, from across the Member States. The goals of these projects include the production of guidance documents, tools and tender models; the establishment of groups of buyers and suppliers; and the development of eco-innovation solutions through pre-procurement and joint procurement. By contacting the project coordinator or the national partners you too can get involved and profit from these activities.

The following projects are being carried out:

  • Big Buyers Working Together - connect public buyers across Europe to promote the use of strategic public procurement and to find sustainable and innovative solutions;
  • BUS-GoCircular - Stimulate demand for sustainable energy skills with circularity as a driver and multifunctional green use of roofs, façades and interior elements as focus;
  • nZEB-Ready – Enhancing Market readiness for nZEB Implementation;
  • SchoolFood4Change: Shifting school meals and schools into a new paradigm, addressing public health and territorial, social and environmental resilience;
  • COACH Collaborative Agri-food chains;
  • CityLoops Closing the loop for urban material flows;
  • Clever Cities – regenerating cities with nature-based solutions;
  • SAPIENS Network – Sustainability and Procurement in International, European and National Systems - Training network and academic research project integrating SPP as a sub-discipline within the scientific field of SPP studies;
  • EC GPP Training and Toolkit;
  • CIVITAS – Sustainable and smart mobility for all.