Public authorities within Europe can make a significant contribution to improving resource efficiency and to the low carbon economy by purchasing more environmentally friendly goods and services. This is known as Green Public Procurement (GPP) or green purchasing. 

Public authorities’ expenditure is equivalent to approximately 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the whole of the EU1, so they have a potentially significant role in encouraging the development of greener products and in reducing the impact on the environment. The public sector does indeed have a responsibility to promote green procurement in order to support wider environmental and sustainable development objectives.

Benefits of GPP

GPP for transport is potentially an important policy tool with many associated benefits:

  • Contributing to the growth in the number of cleaner vehicles
  • Stimulating demand for cleaner vehicles
  • Contributing to improving the local and global environment
  • Raising awareness of environmental issues and solutions
  • Enabling local authorities to lead by example

From the perspective of transport, there is a need to increase the number of clean vehicles being bought in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions2, air pollution and waste.

Lower Production Costs and Lower Prices

The growth in the market for cleaner vehicles will thus help to deliver the economies of scale that will lead to lower production costs and lower prices leading to an improvement in air quality, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Local authorities can demonstrate leadership by becoming examples to private consumers and businesses. This will be of huge significance as clean vehicles are often more expensive to buy, which can put people off purchasing them as the possible savings from their usage are not always considered.

Core and Comprehensive Criteria for Local Authorities

GPP criteria offer local authorities a ready-made set of criteria that they can apply when buying vehicles, as many local authorities do not have the resources to understand the issues and to develop the criteria themselves. Consequently, common GPP criteria for transport are developed at the EU level. These criteria have a set of core criteria, which any public authority might apply, as well as a set of comprehensive criteria for public authorities that want to go further in improving the environmental performance of vehicle fleets. Incidentally, the UK Government currently bases its own “Buying Standards” on the previous set of European criteria.

TEPR Contributions

TEPR supported the development of the latest set of GPP criteria for transport for the European Commission. This involved policy analysis, literature review and stakeholder engagement3. The final set of criteria will be published in spring 2018. If you’d like to talk to TEPR about how we might help to green your procurement of transport vehicles and services, please contact Ian Skinner on 01892 663289.


1 European Commission (2016) “Buying Green: A handbook on green public procurement”, 3rd edition

2 Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant emitted by transport than contributes to global warming and climate change



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