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Green public procurement – what is it and why is it needed?

Green public procurement (GPP) is the procurement of products or services with minimal impact on the environment. Their main goal is to reduce the impact of the production and use of products and services on the environment throughout the life cycle of the product or service. All stakeholders are invited to contribute to achieving sustainable and environmentally friendly production and consumption and increasing the resource efficiency of the economy, by choosing goods and services that are in line with environmental protection and the rational and responsible use of natural resources.

The Green Public Procurement Guide is the European Commission’s main document for public organizations to procure goods and services with a low environmental impact. It is also a useful reference document for policy makers and companies involved in green public procurement procedures.

In addition, the Commission has developed a set of “green” standards for public procurement, grouped according to their purpose. These “green” standards apply to 20 different groups of products and services to be included in the tender documents. They cover a wide range of public procurement, including sectors such as design, construction and maintenance of roads, road transport, design, construction and management of administrative buildings, sewage infrastructure and electricity.

The criteria are divided into selection criteria, technical specifications, award criteria and contractual provisions for achieving the criteria. Each criterion has a core criterion and a comprehensive criterion, and is intended for use by organizations wishing to increase their support for environmental protection and innovation.


These common standards throughout the European Union help avoid market distortions and reduced competition that may arise from the application of different standards in different countries. These standards are expected to continue to evolve.


Green procurement aims to save financial resources for enterprises and institutions through the purchase of energy-efficient or water-saving products, as well as products that contain a minimum amount of harmful substances, which in the future will reduce the costs of their operation and maintenance.


Environmental protection and reduction of the carbon footprint based on them is predefined by:


  • Reducing the cost of acquiring products and services;
  • Taking into consideration the impact of the entire life cycle of a product or service;
  • Reducing waste and pollution;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Creating incentives for the development of environmentally friendly and innovative technologies, products and services.

As suitable examples of “Green” Public Procurement, we can mention the following:

  • Purchase of energy-saving computers;
  • Supply of lighting fixtures with LED technology;
  • Design and construction of buildings with low energy consumption;
  • Production, supply and sale of recycled paper;
  • Provision of cleaning services through the use of biological and environmentally friendly products;
  • Production, supply and sale of electric or hybrid cars, etc.

A national action plan was developed in Bulgaria, adopted with Protocol No. 38.2 of the Council of Ministers dated 13/10/2011 (source – https://www.moew.government.bg – official website of the Ministry of Environment and Water), which aims to promote green public procurement. The Action Plan sets out the goals and objectives to be pursued, while also framing the first steps to be taken to ensure that green public procurement becomes a reality. It obliges state institutions to reach a certain percentage of green procurement. Green procurement is expected to contribute to addressing climate and environmental challenges, achieve financial savings from public authorities and, last but not least, be an important driving force for innovation in the field of environmentally friendly products and services.

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