Environmental clauses in public procurement

Environmental clauses in public procurement are provisions that the client (the government) can include in contract documents to achieve environmental and climate objectives. These objectives may include, for example, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting the circular economy, protecting biodiversity, boosting energy efficiency, preventing waste, etc.

The principal may apply environmental clauses in various ways, depending on the nature and subject matter of the contract. For example, the principal may:

  • Use environmental criteria when selecting candidates or tenderers. This means that the client checks whether the candidates or tenderers meet certain environmental conditions, such as complying with environmental legislation, having an environmental policy, having an eco-label, etc.
  • Attach environmental conditions to the performance of the contract. This means that the client requires the contractor (the contractor, supplier or service provider) to fulfill certain environmental obligations during the execution of the contract, such as using environmentally friendly materials or products, limiting noise or air pollution, recycling or reusing waste, etc.
  • Integrate environmental aspects into the technical specifications or award criteria of the contract. This means that the client takes into account the environmental characteristics or environmental impact of the products, works or services that are the subject of the contract, such as life cycle analysis, carbon footprint, carbon neutrality, etc.

The contractor must comply with the environmental clauses imposed by the principal, and must be able to prove it. The client, in turn, must monitor compliance with the environmental clauses, and can impose sanctions for non-compliance, such as withholding payments, breaking the contract, excluding future contracts, etc.

Environmental clauses in public procurement thus aim to increase the environmental responsibility of government and contractors, and to contribute to a more sustainable and climate-friendly society.

Want to know more?
Ask your question