Sustainable Procurement Tendering Texts

The public procurement bodies – the Federal Government, the individual states and the local authorities – have evolved into a significant driving force in the area of sustainable and health-promoting construction. The political will definitely exists but there are still great deficiencies in its widespread practical application. The federal agencies are the only bodies that have established a binding framework for action through the Assessment System for Sustainable Building (BNB). Even this, however, does not specify any rules or guidelines on how to specifically search for and identify sustainable building products. The European public procurement legislation and the legal framework for public procurement in Germany do however provide a sufficient basis for the establishment of a system of ‘Green Public Procurement’ in the building sector. However these opportunities still remain largely unrecognized and the public authorities often lack the necessary specialist knowledge.

In this respect it is of decisive importance that at the ‘invitation for tenders’ phase the public procurement body specifies an exact definition of what is expected of the products and services, in this case the sustainability properties, that are to be submitted in the tendering procedure. This approach is often already doomed to failure at this early stage. Often the responsible employees do not know which sustainability requirements they should, or can, reasonably demand or which it is at all possible to demand, because of a lack of knowledge on the availability of products on the market that meet such requirements. Procurement bodies therefore prefer to avoid such expert discussions and choose instead to stipulate certain environmental labels – in Germany primarily the “Blue Angel (Blaue Engel)” – as a quality requirement. Due to procurement legislation restrictions this practise is however very contentious and is only permissible under very strict conditions. For this reason most authorities have dispensed completely with sustainable procurement systems for the building sector.

natureplus has created a service for both public and private planning areas to anchor the requirements for sustainable building products in tendering texts. The following “tendering process aids” contain the sustainability requirements for a number of product groups for indoor-relevant products, which have been compiled from environmental labels such as natureplus®, the Blue Angel, Emicode and others. They are continually updated and supplemented and it is intended that in the future further labels from other countries will be included. From these labels it is possible to identify the sustainability criteria that have been developed within society and that have found acceptance among industry and the scientific community. The labels considered in these aids serve simply as a proof of the desired properties.

The “tendering process aids”must not necessarily be used in their entirety. They may also be used a text blocks. The institution that issues the invitation to tender can select from the texts the properties that are most important for them. The texts should then be included in the general preliminary comments to the bill of quantities, either as part of the subject of the contract or in the technical specifications. If you have any questions on this subject, we will be pleased to advise you. All parties to the building project then know what is required and how these requirements are to be met. Hopefully this will lead to more attention being paid to products with proven sustainability characteristics such as natureplus certified building materials. If you want to enhance your tendering texts to reflect sustainability and health, please feel free to make use of the following texts!


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