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Greening the Budget

Budgetary Policies for Environmental Improvement

Edited by J. Peter Clinch, Kai Schlegelmilch, Rolf-Ulrich Sprenger and Ursula Triebswetter

Greening the Budget regards the fundamental cause of environmental degradation as government and market failure and proposes the use of budgets as an instrument of environmental policy to rectify this problem. The book focuses on the elements of the public budget which currently affect the environment and explores the scope for greening both revenue and expenditure through specific measures.
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Chapter 16: The case of public purchasing and green procurement at the municipal level: the local and the European dimension

Budgetary Policies for Environmental Improvement

Arndt Mielisch and Christoph Erdmenger


Arndt Mielisch and Christoph Erdmenger INTRODUCTION There is a six-digit number of local authorities in Europe that spend hundreds of billions of euros on products and services every year – ranging between 5 and 10 per cent of the gross national product in most European countries. When so much money is spent on goods and services, it could be used as a policy instrument for more sustainable products and services, and as a means to significantly reduce the environmental burden. A number of local authorities in Europe have already started to set up ‘green purchasing’ policies. However, these initiatives have so far remained uncoordinated. This is why ICLEI’s European Secretariat has launched the European Eco-Procurement Initiative. THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND GREEN PURCHASING The public sector is often expected to be at the forefront of green consumption, for a number of reasons. First, public authorities can reduce environmental impacts significantly by managing their own administrations, as well as public property and public amenities in an environmentally respectful way. Second, public administrations – being focal points of public life – can function as a model for the behaviour of other socio-economic actors, including citizens, private institutions and companies. Being the guardians of public and commercial life, they are obliged to display environmentally respectful behaviour. Last but not least, governments can establish a leverage in favour of environmentally benign products as they are among the largest single buyers in a 297 Clinch 05 chap 16 15/11/01 1:29 pm Page 298 298 Public purchasing and administration...

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