Green public procurement in Poland

MonZZP PLAccording to “The National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement 2017-2020” (NAP), published by the Public Procurement Office (PPO), public procurement accounted for 6.5% of the country’s GDP in 2015.

It’s total value amounted to 116.3 bln PLN, that is ca. 27.3 bln EUR. Polish procurement remains very decentralized. According to OPP, over 107,000 tenders were announced in the Bulletin of Public Procurements between January and November 2015 by approx. 35,000 institutions.

The level of procurement that can be considered sustainable (green) regularly fails to achieve the indicators planned by the government. In 2015, SPP reached 11.4%, failing to reach the 20% target for 2016. Furthermore, while in 2013 SPP reached a record level of 12.1%, in 2014 it fell to just 9.25%.

ISSP Monitoring

Similar results came out of from the regular monitoring of over 3,000 bids published by 80 central, local public authorities and universities carried out by CentrumCSR.PL Foundation in Warsaw, Kraków, Katowice, Wrocław and Poznań between 2014 and 2016. While it observed a higher level of GPP usage in the mentioned cities (27.6% in 2015) it also took notice of high disparities between monitored central institutions (55.8% of GPP in 2015) and local authorities, ie. in Wrocław (7.95%).

It also varied a lot between the sectors, ie. while almost 45% of tenders regarding electronic devices had green clauses (mainly Energy Star label), in case of gardening products and services it was just over 3%. The lack of consequence can be seen when analyzing the same sectors in comparison with 2014 – in that year over 62% of the gardening products and services tenders had some green clauses.

Prospects for the Future

There is a huge potential of greening public procurement in Poland. The PPO regularly signals the need for more training of procurers. The NAP names education as a key tool in achieving the goal of 25% of GPP in 2020. Even though PPO aims at having 1,530 participants of seminars and conferences devoted to both social and ecological aspects of public procurement and 560 clerks trained in Green Public Procurement in the 2017-2020 period – in comparison to 35,000 active procurers in Poland this indicator is insufficient.

There is a need for the proliferation of good practices and mutual learning between procurers. OPP published a GPP manual in 2012, which needs an upgrade to a new Directive. The GPP Criteria has been translated into Polish. Public intitutons are reluctant to spend resources on commercial trainings, though the experience of CentrumCSR.PL proves there is a need for free-of-charge workshops and seminars. Procurers signalize interest in obtaining tailored, easily applicable solutions.