Tag Archives: Award of contract

Green public procurement

Green public procurement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green public procurement


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

Green public procurement

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 July 2008 on Public procurement for a better environment [COM(2008) 400 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The objective of this Communication is to provide guidance on how to reduce the environmental impact caused by public sector consumption and how to use Green Public Procurement (GPP) * to stimulate innovation in environmental technologies, products and services.

More specifically, the Communication proposes instruments which should enable the main obstacles to increased take-up of green public procurement to be removed. The Commission recommends the following:

  • setting common green public procurement criteria;
  • encouraging publication of information on life cycle costing of products;
  • increasing certainty about legal possibilities to include environmental criteria in tender documents;
  • establishing political support for the promotion and implementation of green public procurement through a political target linked to indicators and future monitoring.


This Communication covers all public procurement procedures, both above and below the thresholds defined by European public procurement Directives. The Commission has identified ten priority sectors for GPP:

  • construction;
  • food and catering services;
  • transport;
  • energy;
  • office machinery and computers;
  • clothing and other textiles;
  • paper and printing services;
  • furniture;
  • cleaning products and services;
  • equipment used in the health sector.

Common GPP criteria

The Commission highlights the need to define common green public procurement criteria. A preliminary set of criteria for products and services in the ten priority sectors has been established in the framework of a “Training Toolkit” (EN). The criteria have been based on criteria used in the granting of the European Eco-label, in particular, or, in the absence of a European label, national ecolabels and are the result of cooperation between the Commission and a group of experts made up of representatives from Member States.

GPP criteria are divided into two categories:

  • the “core” criteria are designed to allow easyapplication of green public procurement and are focused on the key area(s) of environmental performance of a product. They are aimed at keeping administrative costs to a minimum for companies who have to comply with the criteria and public authorities who have to enforce compliance with them. The Commission proposes that by 2010, 50% of all public procurement should comply with these criteria;
  • the “comprehensive” criteria take into account more aspects or are based on higher levels of environmental performance, for use by authorities that want to go further in supporting environmental goals.

Assessment and monitoring

In order to monitor green public procurement, the Commission proposes to establish two types of indicators: quantitative indicators to assess the progress of the policy and its impact on the supply side, and impact-oriented indicators allowing assessment of the environmental and financial gains made. In 2010, the Commission will evaluate the situation and produce a review which will serve as the basis for setting future targets.


The potential for green public procurement was first highlighted in the European Union in 2003 in the Commission Communication on integrated product policy. In 2004, Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC, which constitute the European framework for the procurement of public contracts, clarified how purchasers can integrate an environmental dimension into the tendering process. The Commission handbook “Buying green!”, adopted in August 2004, aims to further clarify how these new rules can be used to conclude green public contracts.

The new European Union strategy for sustainable development, adopted by the Council in June 2006, set a target that by 2010 the average level of green public procurement in the EU should be the same as the 2006 level of the best performing Member States in this area.

This Communication is part of the Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production and the Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP), which establishes a framework for the implementation of instruments aimed at improving the environmental performances of products.

Key terms of the Act

  • Green public procurement: a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.

Public procurement in the fields of defence and security

Public procurement in the fields of defence and security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Public procurement in the fields of defence and security


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

Public procurement in the fields of defence and security

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on the coordination of procedures for the award of certain works contracts, supply contracts and service contracts by contracting authorities or entities in the fields of defence and security, and amending Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC (Text with EEA relevance). [See amending act(s)].


This Directive applies to public contracts in the fields of defence and security for:

  • the supply of military equipment;
  • the supply of sensitive equipment;
  • works, supplies and services directly related to military or sensitive equipment;
  • works and services for specifically military purposes or sensitive works and sensitive services.

Public procurement

Economic operators, whether they are natural or legal persons, can participate in invitations to tender in these fields. Groups of economic operators may also participate. If a contract is awarded to them, they may be required to assume a specific legal form.

Market thresholds and exclusions

This Directive shall apply to contracts which have a value excluding value-added tax (VAT) estimated to be no less than the following thresholds:

  • EUR 400,000 for supply and service contracts;
  • EUR 5,000,000 in the case of works contracts.


Certain specific contracts are excluded from the scope of this Directive, including:

  • contracts governed by specific procedural rules pursuant to an international agreement or arrangement between Member States and third countries and markets governed by the specific procedural rules of an international organisation purchasing for its purposes;
  • contracts for which the application of the rules of this Directive would oblige a Member State to supply certain information the disclosure of which it considers contrary to the essential interests of its security;
  • contracts awarded in the framework of a cooperation programme aimed at developing a new system;
  • contracts for the purposes of intelligence activities;
  • contracts awarded in a third country when forces are deployed outside the territory of the Union and transactions take place in the area of operations;
  • contracts relating to immovable property;
  • contracts awarded between governments.


Contracting authorities/entities shall apply national procedures for the award of public contracts adjusted for the purposes of this Directive, by using the restricted procedure or the negotiated procedure with publication of a contract notice. An open procedure cannot be chosen.

Member States may use a competitive dialogue in the case of particularly complex contracts. In this case, contracting authorities/entities open a dialogue with the candidates selected in order to identify and define the means best suited to satisfying their needs.

There are also exceptional cases in which it is possible to use the negotiated procedure without publication of a contract notice.

The procedures are adjusted for the specific purposes of this Directive, in particular by proposing specific rules for the security of information, the security of supply and subcontracting.

The contracting authorities/entities may also conclude framework agreements, the duration of which may not exceed seven years. They must not, however, restrict competition.

Rules on advertising and transparency

Contracting authorities/entities may publish a prior information notice on their buyer profiles or on Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). They are obliged to publish a contract notice on TED with the sole exception of an exceptional negotiated procedure without publication of a contract notice.

In the case of restricted or negotiated procedures, contracting authorities/entities shall invite the selected candidates to submit their tenders and to negotiate. They shall also be invited to negotiate under the negotiated procedure. This invitation shall include contract documents, the deadline for receipt of tenders and an indication of any documents to be annexed.

For every contract or framework agreement, the contracting authorities/entities must draw up a written report describing the selection procedure chosen as well as information concerning the candidates.

Contract award criteria

Contracting authorities/entities shall award contracts on the basis of:

  • the most economically advantageous tender. Award shall then be based on various criteria linked to the subject-matter of the contract in question, such as quality, price or technical merit); or
  • the lowest price.


Contracting authorities/entities may oblige the successful tenderer to organise a transparent and non-discriminatory competition when awarding subcontracts to third parties.

In addition, Member States may allow or require their contracting authorities/entities to ask that subcontracts representing at least a certain share of the value of the contract (a maximum of 30 %) be awarded to third parties following a transparent and non-discriminatory competition.


A review of a decision taken by contracting authorities/entities may be sought in the event of an infringement of Community law. Member States must ensure that any operator that has suffered harm has access to effective and rapid rights to review. They may require that operators who wish to seek review either inform the contracting authority or first seek review from it.

During a review procedure, interim or final measures may be taken. In both cases, damages shall be granted to the persons concerned.


The 2005 Green Paper on defence procurement highlighted the fact that it was essential to create a European market for defence equipment. This Directive should prove to be an appropriate legislative framework since it meets the specific requirements relating to goods and services in the fields of defence and security.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/81/EC



OJ L216, 20.8.2009

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1177/2009


OJ L 314, 1.12.2009

Regulation (EU) No 1251/2011


OJ L 319, 2.12.2011

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2009/81/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is for reference only.