LIFE Project Cover Photo

Capacity Building in Sustainable Public Procurement

Reference: LIFE09 ENV/PT/000050 | Acronym: Building‐SPP



Each year European public authorities spend the equivalent of 16% of EU gross domestic product on the purchase of goods (e.g. office equipment, building components and transport vehicles) and services (e.g. building maintenance, transport services, cleaning and catering services and works). This public procurement can shape production and consumption trends; significant demand from public authorities for environmentally friendly products and services can create and enlarge ‘green’ markets.


The Building‐SPP project aimed to mainstream sustainable public procurement (SPP) in Portugal and Greece by:

  • Assisting public authorities in implementing a procurement strategy in line with their economic, social and environmental policies;
  • Encouraging co-operation among public procurers; and
  • Promoting greater market engagement among public procurers and suppliers.
  • The project focused mainly on public authorities. Private organisations would be addressed through the adaptation of some of the instruments produced within the project, namely the SPP Toolbox. The project would also test approaches to develop a procurement strategy that takes into account and contributes to the targets of all relevant policies of the given public authority. The project would enhance awareness, networking, collaboration and training in sustainable procurement for procurers and suppliers.


    The Building‐SPP project established an SPP network in both Portugal and Greece to facilitate the exchange of practical experiences of capacity building in SPP among public procurers, top managers and other technicians. The network also helps disseminate SPP benefits and good practices. In Portugal the SPP Network consists of 33 members, while in Greece 128 members were obtained.

    Good practice was also spread through training. A total of 228 technicians were trained by the project, 81 in Portugal and 147 in Greece, while thematic workshops reached 298 participants (113 in Portugal and 185 in Greece). A catalogue of 30 good practices (22 from Portugal and eight from Greece) was produced.

    Furthermore, the project promoted discussion among public procurers and suppliers on the inclusion of environmental and social criteria in procurement procedures. To this end, a list of five priority products and services categories was drawn up: copying and graphic paper; cleaning products and services; office IT equipment; food and catering services and construction (Portugal only); street lighting (Greece only). Procurers and suppliers also provided a set of recommendations for the Portuguese and Greek Green Public Procurement Action Plans and SPP policies in general. These were based on consultations with stakeholders and will be sent to the responsible bodies for GDP in both countries.

    A main outcome of the project was the creation of the SPP Toolbox, a step-by-step guide for local authorities and public organisations in the development of sustainable procurement at strategic and operational level. This tool is available as a web application in Portuguese, Greek and English, and it is free to access via the project website or CD-ROM. The SPP Toolbox addresses all the needs of public authorities concerning the integration of sustainability criteria into tenders. It outlines the likely results of the sustainable tender, and details how to perform SPP in a systematic way, how to monitor the contract performance and how to involve the market.

    Another outcome was the SPP Training Package – an e-book containing training material on sustainable procurement. Available in Portuguese, Greek and English, it is aimed at managers, politicians, procurer’s officers and technicians from other departments. It can be accessed through the project website and is included in the SPP Toolbox CD-ROM. The project also published a book on SPP entitled ‘Sustainable Public Procurement: Training guide for public authorities’ aimed at Portuguese authorities.

    The next step was to demonstrate impact of use of the SPP Toolbox and the benefits of adopting a SPP strategy SPP by carrying out pilot projects in local authorities, three in Portugal and two in Greece. The public authorities performed not only procurement procedures with sustainability criteria, but also integrated SPP at strategic level through the SPP vision and the SPP policy. They also integrated SPP in a systematic way through the SPP action plan, carried out training and involved the market in certain purchases.

    The pilots furthermore assessed the results from procurement, monitoring the contract performance in some cases and recording the lessons learned. It was thus possible to follow how the authorities were progressing and acquiring competences. In total the pilot projects involved 24 departments and six top managers, resulting in the development of nine procurement tenders with sustainable criteria. Two concerned pest control services and two included public lighting, while the others followed criteria on uniforms, school meals, surveillance services, school transportation and cleaning services.

    The five pilot projects have good demonstration value and the beneficiary hopes that they will inspire and guide other public authorities. The project’s methodology can be replicated and transferred to other regions with only minor adaptation. By promoting the adoption of SPP by public bodies and directly implementing Commission guidelines, the project moreover has directly contributed to GPP/SPP European objectives and to several legislative instruments, including the new procurement directives (D2014/24/EU on public procurement, D2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water energy, transport and postal services, D2014/23/EU on the award of concession contracts) and Commission Communications (e.g. "Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth", "Sustainable consumption and production and sustainable industrial policy Action Plan", "Public procurement for a better environment", "IPP", "Integrating environmental considerations into public procurement", "Integrating social considerations into public procurement").

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


    Reference: LIFE09 ENV/PT/000050
    Acronym: Building‐SPP
    Start Date: 01/10/2010
    End Date: 30/09/2014
    Total Budget: 1,079,956 €
    EU Contribution: 538,228 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia, I.P.
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: Rua da Amieira1089, 4466-901, S. Mamede de Infesta/Matosinhos, Portugal
    Contact Person: Paula TRINDADE
    Tel: +351 210 924 600 ext. 4208

    LIFE Project Map



    • Green procurement
    • Environmental training - Capacity building


    • environmental training
    • environmental friendly procurement
    • public procurement


    • Directive 2014/24 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (26.02.2014)


    Name Type
    Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia, I.P. Coordinator
    Municipality of Torres Vedras, Portugal Participant
    Municipality of Loures, Portugal Participant
    Serviço Intermunicipalizado de Gestão de Resíduos do Grande Porto (LIPOR), Portugal Participant
    Agência Nacional de Compras (ANCP), Portugal Participant
    Ecological Recycling Society (ERS), Greece Participant
    Energy-Environment-Local Development Ltd (EPTA), Greece Participant
    Municipality of Melivoia, Greece Participant
    Municipality of Elefsina, Greece Participant