EPDs can be an useful tool in green public procurement and ISO 14025 states that one of the applications of environmental declarations is procurement. However, so far it is not common to use EPDs in public procurement although there is a great potential.
USE OF EPDS IN GREEN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT (GPP)
In many countries the procedure of governmental or public procurement is regulated by legislation. Within the World Trade Organization there is an agreement on Governmental Procurement and the European Union have a common directive on public procurement, implemented in the legislation of the member states. Both the WTO agreement and the European directive put down some general principles for public procurement, for example non-discrimination and transparency. Used right, environmental declarations according to ISO 14025 meet these general principles and are therefore a useful tool for public procurement.
WHY ARE EPDS SUITABLE FOR GPP?
EPDs are based on international standards
The concept of EPDs are based on the standard ISO 14025, which is internationally recognized and developed with in the International Organization for Standardization.
EPDs can be used for all types of goods and services
There are no restrictions regarding what products that can have EPDs as there are no criteria on environmental performance that must be met. EPDs works for both goods and services and companies all sizes have registered EPDs.
EPDs contains verified environmental information
The EPD is a third-party verified document which gives the information a high credibility and therefore is very suitable for procurement.
EPDs are based on a transparent and open framework
ISO 14025 requires the programme operator to publish the programme instructions, product category rules and registered EPDs. The transparent framework makes it possible to understand the calculations and methods behind the results in the EPD.
EPDs gives comparable information within the same product group
EPDs that are based on the same product category rules (PCR) are comparable as the PCR set the rules for the life cycle assessment that the EPD must meet, for example allocation rules, data quality requirements and system boundaries.
HOW TO USE EPDS IN GPP
There are three main methods on how to use EPDs in public procurement:
1. To obtain environmental information on the product
To get information on the environmental impact from the goods and serviced being procured can be seen as the first step in greening the procurement activities. Knowledge about the impact of the subject matter is vital in order to be able to put down relevant GPP criteria in the tendering documents. EPDs can therefore give very useful input to GPP, either in the market analysis or as a first step in greening the GPP.
Information obtained from the EPDs can also serve as environmental information to different stakeholders.
2. As verification on environmental requirements in the tendering documents
As the EPDs contain information on the products environmental impact in a life cycle perspective, the EPD can be used to verify compliance provided that the environmental requirements put in the tendering documents is information that can be found in an EPD. Examples on such requirements are:
the contents of hazardous materials and substances in the product
environmental requirements on the production of the product
energy consumption when using the product.
3. To be reward the environmentally best product
Information in EPDs within the same product group and based on the same PCR can also be used to compare products from an environmental point of view and also to reward the environmentally best product. This must be done according what is allowed in the legislation and the reward criteria must be transparent and non-discriminatory.