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Letter from Procura+ Chair Pekka Sauri

16 March 2017

Cities around the world have a crucial role in the transition to sustainable consumption and production by using sustainable public procurement (SPP) as a key tool. By introducing sustainable criteria in our purchases, local and regional governments are making our societies more sustainable, while at the same time ensuring social justice and fair treatment, and generating economic benefits.

2016 marked 20 years of work on sustainable procurement for ICLEI. Figures speak for themselves: during these two decades over 2,000 people have been trained; 300 cities in more than 50 countries have been supported; and 1 million tonnes of CO2 have been saved through the involvement in 150 projects, 100 conferences, seminars and workshops.

The City of Helsinki, as the Chair of the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network and a founding participant of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, is championing SPP to accelerate its implementation worldwide. In these networks, we are sharing experiences, learning from others, and engaging with all stakeholders, including suppliers we buy from. Every single purchasing choice we make has an impact on our cities and on our citizens, so we want our decisions to be as smart as possible to foster resource efficient and low-carbon societies.

In Helsinki we have committed to achieve 100% sustainable public procurement in 2020. The goal for this year is 70%. To achieve these goals, all city departments and subsidiaries are being trained to make sustainable procurements.

Sustainable procurement is about considering what is really needed from a holistic perspective – so as to explore possibilities such as reusing products or leasing them – and deciding whether we need to buy or contract certain products or services. Then, it is about introducing sustainable criteria in the tenders.

By promoting SPP, local and regional authorities are also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal #12: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. SPP also plays an important part in reducing GHG emissions, boosting green jobs and encouraging suppliers to promote fair employment.

I would like to encourage all colleagues to embrace sustainable procurement practices to achieve social, economic and environmental value for the money cities are spending.

Pekka Sauri

Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki, Finland, member of ICLEI’s European Regional Executive Committee, and Procura+ Network Chair

This letter originally featured in CityTalk, a blog produced by ICLEI, on 9 March 2017.