Public Procurement accounts for a large proportion of European consumption (nearly 20% of EU’s GDP). Green's Public Procurement (GPP) urges public purchasers to take account of environmental factors when buying products or services.
The European Commission defines GPP as: "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.” (source: Commission Communication on Public Procurement for a better environment 2008)
GPP concerns both contracting national, regional or local authorities and so-called bodies 'governed by public law', i.e. without an industrial or commercial character and for the most part financed, administered or supervised by public authorities as well as contracting entities that operate in so-called 'special sectors' (water, energy, transport and postal services) that provide public services and remain fairly dependent on public money.
There are no legal documents, but the Commission has published a GPP Training Toolkit (2008), containing concrete examples of environmental criteria that can be readily introduced into tender documents. For some product groups, voluntary EU GPP criteria have been published.
In March 2010, the Commission launched the Europe 2020 Strategy: a European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy reinvigorates the GPP policy in Europe by encouraging wider use of Green Public Procurement.
In the EU action plan for the Circular Economy (2015), the importance of GPP was reiterated. In the future, special emphasis shall be placed on aspects relevant to the circular economy, such as durability and reparability, when setting out or revising criteria.