Green public procurement - the evolution of the regulatory framework and pilot initiatives în România

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ABSTRACT

Green public procurement has become, in recent years, a more often central topic to the attention of authorities, public and private sector. Green public procurement is a way to achieve the global goals of sustainable development - protecting the environment, encouraging innovation and clean technologies, inducing responsible production and consumption. Although in Romania the development of the Green public procurement is still in early stage (20% of the country's GDP), the law on green public procurement is an important step towards Romania's accession to the European Union's environmental policy. In this direction, the National Green Public Procurement Plan sets mandatory multi-annual targets for green public procurement and the contracting authorities have the obligation to fulfill the multi-annual targets for green public procurement. Moreover, an important achievement is the adoption of the Green Public Procurement Guide, developed by the Ministry of Environment and the National Agency for Public Procurement in Romania, which includes the minimum requirements on environmental protection for certain groups of products and services required at the level of specifications. Regarding the promotion of the Green public procurement (GPP) Best project, although the efforts were considerable, the Green public procurement pilot project faced a number of challenges. The purpose of this article is to analyze the regulatory framework, the pilot initiatives, as well the implementation of the Green Public Procurement area in Romania. The adoption of the regulatory framework is just one step and, for this environmental policy to be effective, sustained actions are needed to raise awareness of the importance of the role of green public procurements.

Keywords: green public procurement, pilot project, eco-labels, National Green Public Procurement Plan, sustainability

INTRODUCTION

Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a process by which public authorities procure goods, services and works with a low impact on the environment during their entire life cycle. [15]

The United Nations Organization and the European Commission have issued recommendations and strategies that mark the key role of public authorities for environmental protection and support for innovation in the procurement of goods, products and services, by including green technical requirements or by applying green assessment factors.

The RELIEF study, the largest research project on green public procurement in Europe, conducted between 2001 and 2003 through the European Research for Environment and Sustainable Development Program, identified benefits that could be obtained if GPP became a widespread practice. This study shows that if all public authorities would buy electricity from renewable sources, there would be a saving of over 61 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, or 18% of the EU's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions by 340 million tonnes. In the IT field, the large-scale purchase of energy-efficient computers - higher than EnergyStar standards - would reduce electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by almost 8 million tonnes of CO2.

Public authorities are the largest consumers in the European Union, but also the most expensive customers. They supply about 16% of the European Union's gross domestic product by goods and services. Romania invests in public procurement almost 20% of the country's GDP. It is easy to understand, therefore, that the public administration has considerable purchasing power. [4] This power can be directed towards the opting for environmentally friendly goods and services and, therefore, can make an essential contribution to sustainable development.

Thus, based on environmental criteria, public authorities can purchase electricity services, transportation services, IT office equipment, food and catering and many other goods and services that help to reduce the impact on the environment. Simply put, by applying these environmental criteria, financial resources can be saved and the environment can be protected at the same time.

Green procurements are relevant for both the public and private sectors. In public procurements, the concern for the inclusion of environmental criteria in the allocation of contracts has intensified in the last decade. For example, the Member States of the European Union - with the exception of Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Romania - had adopted by 2017 national action plans for green and sustainable procurements. In the private sector, many companies practice green procurement as part of their social responsibility policy. [1]

Bibliografie

[1] Antoneac (Călin) R., Dobrotă C.E., Corporate social responsibility and economic and financial performance of an enterprise, Basiq International Conference, 2017, Graz, Austria;

[2] Annex of the Order No. 1068/1652/2018 of October 4, 2018 for the approval of the Green Public Procurement Guide, which includes the minimum requirements regarding environmental protection for certain groups of products and services required at the level of specifications, Romania;

[3] Brânnlund R., Lundberg S., Marklund P. O., Assessment of Green Public Procurement as a Policy Tool: Cost-efficiency and Competition Considerations, Umea University, Sweden;

[4] Cazan R., Achiziții publice ecologice în România. Protecția mediului prin cheltuieli publice responsabile, material realizat în cadrul proiectului “5% în 5 ani. Achiziții verzi pentru o economie verde”, Centrul pentru Politici Durabile Ecopolis, 2014;

[5] Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), College of Europe, The Uptake Of Green Public Procurement In The Eu27. Submitted to the European Commission, DG Environment, Brussels, 29 February 2012;

[6] Cristea M., Dobrota, C. E., Green Energy for Sustainable Development in Romania’s Economy. Revista de Chimie, vol. 68, no. 6, 2017, Romania, Bucharest;

[7] Diofâsi O., Valko L., Green (Public) Procurement In Practice - Methods And Tools For The Successful Implementation, Regional and Business Studies (2011) Vol 3 Suppl 2, 11-23 Kaposvâr University, Faculty of Economic Science, Kaposvâr;

[8] Dobrotă, C. E., Marcu, N., Siminică, M., & Nețoiu, L. M. (2019). Disparities, gaps and evolution trends of innovation, as a vector. Romanian Journal of Economic Forecasting, 22(4), 174.

[9] Lundberg S., Marklund P. O., Stromback E., Sundstrom D., Environ Econ Policy Stud (2015), Umea University, Sweden;

[10] Lundberg S., Marklund P. O., Green public procurement as an environmental policy instrument: cost effectiveness, Environmental Economics, Volume 4, Issue 4, 2013 Sweden;

[11] Lundberg S. and Marklund P. O., The Pivotal nature of award methods in green public procurement. Environmental Economics, 2011, "Environmental Economics" Journal, Sweden, businessperspectives.org;

[12] Marcu N., Dobrotă C. E., The economic impact of the cohesion policy, Revista Economica, vol. 68, no. 3, 2016;

[13] Rudenauer I., Dross M., Eberle U., Gensch C.O., Graulich K., Hunecke K., Koch Y., Moller M., Quack D., Seebach D., Zimmer W., Hidson M., Defranceschi P., Tepper P., Costs and Benefits of Green Public Procurement in Europe. General Recommendations, Oko-Institut e.V., ICLEI, Freiburg, 26 July 2007;

[14] Telgen, J., Harland, C., & Knight, L. (2012). Public procurement in perspective. In Public procurement (pp. 44-52). Routledge;

[15] The communication from the European Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on "Public Procurement for a Better Environment" (COM(2008) 400);

[16] Wozniacki L., European Environmental Bureau Guidance to Foster Green Public Procurement, 2012;

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