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Green Business

Procuring sustainable computers, printers and related services


Located in central Italy, Tuscany with its 3,69 million inhabitants is the ninth most populous region in the Country. Region Tuscany is the central purchasing body of the region. ARPAT, the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Tuscany, is a member of the Italian national network for environmental protection (SNPA). It employs 900 people and has 19 offices around Tuscany. The Agency is responsible for environmental protection in the region and participates in the national Committee for the Italian GPP National Action Plan (NAP GPP).

In November 2019, Region Tuscany sought ARPAT’s support for integrating environmental criteria in their upcoming ICT tender. The procurement was for the supply of computers, printers and associated services for the integrated management of workstations in the offices of Region Tuscany and in the offices of local authorities in the region. This sustainable procurement practice is the result of the fruitful collaboration between ARPAT and Region Tuscany.

Procurement objectives

ARPAT conducted a preliminary study on environmental and social criteria that could be applied to the ICT tender.

In 2020 (and still currently) there were no Italian national mandatory Minimum Environmental Criteria (MECs)1 available for the category of computers (new criteria are being defined). On the other hand, the Italian government has developed mandatory Minimum Environmental Criteria for printers (Ministerial Decree 17.10.2019) that have been applied to this tender.

For computers and monitors, ARPAT and Region Tuscany decided to adapt the draft EU GPP criteria for Computers, Monitors and Smartphones of November 2019. ARPAT also suggested to include social responsibility criteria along the supply chain for some products. They referred to other procurement practices (Region Stockholm) and to the criteria set developed by the EU project Make ICT Fair.

1 Following the National Action Plan (NAP) for Green Public Procurement (GPP) in Italy, Italy has (since 2009) been developing and advocating for the implementation of Minimum Environmental Criteria (MECs, also referred to as CAMs in Italian) in public procurement for several procurement categories. The Criteria, which are mandatory since 2017, were introduced to achieve the objectives set out in the NAP and to promote sustainable production and consumption, and circular economy models.

Criteria used

Subject matter of the contract:

Supply of goods and services for the integrated management of workstations in the Region; supply of professional technical software. The tender was divided into three lots:

• Lot 1 and 2 were for the supply of personal computers, printers and additional devices, with reduced environmental and social impact along the supply chain, for respectively, Region Tuscany, its agencies and dependent entities (Lot 1), and for the bodies of the Tuscan Health Service and local authorities in the Region (Lot 2).

• Lot 3 was for the supply of a professional technical software and related maintenance services (one-year maintenance for both the software licenses already owned by the contracting authority, and new software licenses).

Technical specifications:

For the computers, the technical specifications referred to the abovementioned adapted draft EU criteria for computers, monitors and smartphones.

• Minimum energy performance of computers and laptops: the calculated typical energy consumption (ETEC) for each computer and notebook must be less than or equal to the maximum value (ETEC_MAX) of the Energy Star® Program requirements (version 7.1) for Computers (EU GPP criteria, Technical Specification (TS) 18);

• Minimum energy performance of monitors: the calculated typical energy consumption (ETEC) for each monitor must be less than or equal to the maximum value (ETEC_MAX) of the Energy Star® Program requirements (version 7.1) for Displays. (This technical specification differs from the EU GPP criteria TS19 as the EU Energy Label for displays was not yet available at the time of the tender (July 2020)).

• Lifespan extension: » Provision of an extended service agreement with reference to the EU GPP criteria’ TS1 explanatory note on service level requirements (for: access to the manufacturer’s warranty, pick-up and return, management of failures, battery coverage, battery replacement policy, provision of failure statistics, Incident management/problem management/ preventive maintenance); » A 5-year warranty from the manufacturer (longer than the EU GPP criteria, TS6); » Functionality for secure data deletion (EU GPP criteria, TS5); » Rechargeable battery endurance (for mobile equipment): battery life longer than 300 cycles with State of Health ≥ 60%; (reflecting the threshold indicated in the draft version of the EU GPP criteria of November 2019 – this was increased to ≥ 80% in the final core criteria and ≥ 90% in the comprehensive criteria); » Information on battery state of health (EU GPP criteria, TS8) and provision of a battery protection software (reference to EU GPP criteria, TS9) » Standardised port (EU GPP criteria, TS14) » Backward compatibility of adapters (EU GPP criteria, TS17). 

• Recyclability: mandatory marking of plastic casings, enclosures and bezels (EU GPP criteria, TS22).

» For printers, the 2019 Italian mandatory Minimum Environment Criteria were applied. The following criteria were included in the tender: • Energy consumption: minimum energy efficiency must meet (or be below) the levels set by the EU GPP criteria for imaging equipment, TS1; • Capability to use 100% recycled paper (compliant with the equipment’s technical specifications and with the International Standard EN 12281); • Duplex imaging capability (with speed higher than 19 ppm for colour equipment and higher than 24 ppm for black and white equipment), print preview mode, and N-up printing feature must be guaranteed; • Noise emissions: The weighted sound power level must be measured according to the International Standard ISO 7779, must be declared in compliance with the International Standard ISO 9296 (LWAd) and must not be greater than 75 dB; • Limited hazardous substances and heavy metals in toners and inks, according to the Italian MECs for cartridges (Ministerial Decree 7.11.2019).

» For personal printers and those for small groups of employees:  • Limits of emissions of pollutants in a confined environment; • Capability to use remanufactured inkjet and toner cartridges; • Provisions for designing the equipment to facilitate disassembly, recycling of materials and reparability; • Requirement to supply at least 30% remanufactured cartridges (compliant with the MECs for cartridges).

Award criteria:

Tenders were evaluated using a pointbased system. For Lots 1 and 2 the tenders were awarded on the basis of the best price-quality ratio (technical offers could get up to 70 points while financial offers a maximum of 30), whereas the Lot 3 tenders were evaluated on the basis of the lowest price.

Green criteria

• Energy consumption of computers (EU GPP criteria, AC 5) and monitors 27’’: a maximum of 1 point was awarded if the energy performance is higher than the minimum provided in the technical specifications, as follows:

» over 80% lower: 1 point

» 60-79% lower: 0.8 points

» 40-59% lower: 0.6 points » 20-39% lower: 0.4 points

» 10-19% lower: 0.2 points T

his award criterion differs from the EU GPP criteria for monitors (AC6) as the EU Energy label for electronic displays was not yet available at the time of the tender (July 2020).

• Laptop battery lifetime extension (EU GPP criteria, AC1): 1 additional point was awarded if the battery endurance was greater than 500 cycles (with ≥80% capacity retention of the initial rated capacity), proportionally to the additional number of cycles ensured.

Contract performance clauses:

Social responsibility criteria

• Minerals from Conflict-Affected or High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs): computers, laptops and monitors had to be manufactured by brand owners that have a strict and public policy on the supply chain of minerals from CAHRAs (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold). This was verified by checking the brand owner’s participation/adherence to relevant initiatives: a) European Partnership of Responsible Minerals (EPRM); b) Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) or, as an alternative, demonstrate compliance with TCO Certified Generation 82.

• Supply chain transparency: for each piece of equipment, the successful bidder had to indicate the main final assembler (company name and production sites’ addresses) and update such information throughout the contracting period.

• Supplier code of conduct: the trademark’s owner “code of conduct” is consistent with the following: » the eight core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (no. 29, 87, 98, 100, 105, 111, 138 and 182); » the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 32; » all applicable local and national health and safety and labour laws in force in the country where the equipment is manufactured.

The successful bidder must submit a copy of the supplier’s “code of conduct” as a means for verification.

2 TCO Certified is a sustainability certification for IT products. It covers a wide system of criteria, independent verification and a structured system for constant improvement in the sector. Its Generation 8 includes a wide range of updated and new criteria, designed to promote a circular approach to IT products along with transparency and responsibility in the supply chain. The criteria also sustain progress toward the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. More information here.


Region Tuscany launched the open call for tenders in July 2020. Three tenders were received for Lot 1, four tenders for Lot 2 and one for Lot 3. In Lot 1 the awarded tenderer scored 95.4 points out of 100, while in Lot 2 the group of economic operators that won scored 95.55 points out of 100. All tenderers met the technical specifications. The three contracts were awarded in January 2021 (Lot 1), June 2021 (Lot 2) and February 2022 (Lot 3) and entered into force in February 2021 (Lot 3), June 2021 (Lot 1), and March 2022 (Lot 2). The total value of the three contracts is € 40,600 000 (VAT excluded) over five years. More in particular, the value of Lot 1 is € 20,800 000, the value of Lot 2 is € 15,000 000, and the value of Lot 3 is € 4,800 000.

Infographic explaining the sustainable ICT procurement and their steps


Environmental impacts

According to the Technical Report for the EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) Criteria for Computer, Monitors, Tablets and Smartphones, the manufacturing and use phases of computers and notebooks have significant life cycle environmental impacts, with production being the greater contributor to greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. The production of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and integrated circuits (ICs) also have a significant impact. Therefore, it is crucial to extend the lifetime of ICT equipment as much as possible. For instance, secondary applications of laptops can result in a 40% reduction in GHG emissions3.

Additionally, the obligation to include the Italian MECs technical specifications for printers in tenders ensures that the national procurement policy achieves its environmental, natural resource use, and sustainable production and consumption objectives. Besides enhancing environmental quality, applying the MECs also helps the public sector to rationalise its consumption, reduce expenditure where possible, and guarantee high quality product standards.

3 André et al. (2019) Resource and environmental impacts of using second-hand laptop computers: A case study of commercial reuse. Waste Management.

Lessons learned

The close collaboration between the Region Tuscany (the contracting authority) and ARPAT was the key to success. It is necessary to combine social, environmental and technological expertise with procurement skills.

At the time of the tender preparation, the ICT market was not fully ready to meet the ambitious EU GPP criteria (as drafted in November 2019). Thus, Region Tuscany adapted those criteria to foster firms’ participation in the process and did not incorporate some EU GPP criteria into the tender documents.

When the public procurers verified and evaluated the tenders, they had no issues with applying the GPP criteria, including the 5-year equipment warranty criterion (which is longer than the 2-year warranty outlined in the EU’s GPP criteria). They also had no issues with applying the social responsibility criteria, which will be verified when the contract is executed. To date, Region Tuscany noticed that the market’s offer has improved and all the EU criteria are successfully met by the most advanced firms. As the final EU GPP Criteria were published two years later (in 2021), we can note that they followed the market developments. Moreover, the JRC draft documents are very useful sources for developing environmental criteria if the final criteria are not yet available.

Getting inspiration from existing good practices from other public procurers (in this case, Region Stockholm’s practice) or projects in Europe is extremely beneficial.


For related information, please see European GPP criteria for computers, monitors, tablets and smartphones, and the Technical Background Report. In addition, the European GPP criteria for imaging equipment, consumables and print services and the Technical Background Report.

Tender documents are available online here.