Original article published by Confebask (link)

As a result of the climate emergency in which we are immersed and the priority need that countries have to achieve the emission reduction targets set by the European Green Deal, the environmental considerations and regulations are gaining ground at the level legislative.

An example of this is the Green Purchase, until now mainly oriented to the public sector and known as Green Public Procurement (CPV). The Green Purchase and Contracting is a process of purchasing or contracting goods and services in which both economic and technical aspects are valued as well as environmental ones, that is, environmental criteria are incorporated at the time of buy goods and services.

The European Commission considers it an instrument strategy to achieve its environmental objectives. And it is that the expense intended for the purchase of goods and services by the administration public sector in the EU represents 19% of GDP. For this reason, the public sector can play an important role through his figure as a plaintiff of resources and be a key agent in promoting and implementing various environmental policies and strategies through this tool. On the one hand, the incorporation of environmental criteria in the public procurement process stimulates the production of more environmentally sustainable goods by of companies and, on the other, the high purchasing power of the public sector it can also influence consumption patterns and redirect them towards patterns more environmentally friendly, with the consequent additional impact on their production.


In the Basque Country, green purchasing has been around for almost 20 years, in which it has been gaining ground in the different public administrations. In 2018, Law 9/2017, of November 8, on Public Sector Contracts, came into force, which obliges Public Administrations and bidding companies to consider environmental aspects in public procurement and contracting processes. This obligation has meant an important boost to its implementation in recent years. And it is that green purchasing, despite being a useful instrument that is expected to have an impact on environmental benefits and, at the same time, competitiveness and innovation, is not exempt from difficulties as far as its implementation is concerned.

One of the biggest challenges is the training and formation of the people in charge of bidding and contracting purchases and services. The inclusion of environmental criteria in the specifications requires knowledge, both administrative and bureaucratic, as well as technical and commercial, to know the most environmentally friendly techniques or products to buy or tender. This brings us to the second link in the chain, the great gap between supply and demand for eco-designed products and services and, therefore, a lack of alternatives to choose from. The slow transformation of the private sector towards a more sustainable production, both in processes, materials, products and distribution, generates an imbalance that needs to be tackled.

However, in the Basque Country we are at a turning point, since the private sector will become part of the Green Purchasing program for the next 10 years, with the so-called “Green Purchasing and Contracting Program of Euskadi 2030 ”. The main objective of this will be to address the aforementioned challenges in order to guarantee full integration of environmental criteria in the purchase of goods and services in both the public and private sectors, and thus be able to accelerate the transformation of the Basque industrial sector towards one that include the environmental vision transversally. And it is that green purchasing has great potential as an engine of innovation and competitiveness for the company, which is expected to have an impact on economic savings. The question now is to be prepared to change the way of understanding the industry and production to design products and services that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, without making the processes more expensive. It is about integrating the process and end-of-life costs that until now were hardly taken into account in production, to reconsider the cost or long-term savings that our choice of consumption will have. And from the point of view of the consumer to be able to get rid of the idea that sustainable is inherently more expensive.

Sara Soloaga