Budgetary Policies for Environmental Improvement
Edited by J. Peter Clinch, Kai Schlegelmilch, Rolf-Ulrich Sprenger and Ursula Triebswetter
Chapter 16: The case of public purchasing and green procurement at the municipal level: the local and the European dimension
Clinch 05 chap 16 15/11/01 1:29 pm Page 297 16. The case of public purchasing and green procurement at the municipal level: the local and the European dimension 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...
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