Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been identified as one of the main tools public administrations can use to drive the necessary changes to the current consumption and production patterns. The EU framework for the promotion of GPP is well defined and expressed in several official communications and recommendations. The New Public Procurement Directives clearly states the need to include environmental and social concerns in procurement procedures. In addition, the new rules promote a life-cycle costing approach that takes account of all costs over the life cycle of works, goods and services in order to assess their total value. At the national level the Collegato Ambientale and the public procurement code have made the adoption of GPP and of Minimum Environmental Criteria mandatory in Italy. Since February 2016, there is a legal obligation to include Minimum Environmental Criteria in the public procurement of works, goods and services. GPP is now mandatory in all procurements and tenders for the purchase of goods, services and works that require intensive energy use and in 50% of contracts and tenders for all other categories of economic activity.
The LIFE Green FEST project aimed to disseminate good practices for the adoption of Minimum Environmental Criteria in the field of cultural activities funded, promoted or managed by public authorities.
The main objectives were to:
- Improve policies for public procurement in cultural events funded, promoted or organised by public authorities by orienting them towards sustainability;
- Define new Minimum Environmental Criteria in public tenders and regulations;
- Improve the cultural sectors knowledge of environmental legislation;
- Inform and train cultural sector providers and stakeholders on the impact of their activities;
- Improve the information of policy-makers on the interactions between social and environmental impacts linked to the procurement of goods and services;
- Define actions for the improvement of sustainable management of small- and large-scale cultural events promoted by public authorities and the diffusion of information on improvement; and
- Orientate public procurement policies of public authorities towards sustainability by favouring the introduction of environmental criteria into procurement procedures and by developing normative and regulatory proposals for taking into account of considerations of social costs in public procurement of goods and services.
The project is in line with implementation of the directives on public procurement and the Circular Economy Action Plan, which foresees GPP as a way of furthering circularity principles and targets.
The LIFE Green FEST project prepared and tested minimum environmental criteria (MEC) for green public procurement for cultural events as well as guidelines for their application. It also developed a methodology for assessing the lifecycle costs of hosting cultural events sustainably.
Despite the pandemic, the project was able to apply the MEC to 19 initiatives, of which evaluations of cost and environmental benefits were completed for 14. These events, including communication activities, training and round table discussions, involved 156 053 people in total and ranged from food and music festivals to exhibitions and sport. The training courses for public administrators were attended by 196 employees. The project team applied various types of MEC in order to benefit from a wide range of case studies. Additionally, 46 memoranda of understanding on green procurement were signed with key stakeholders in the cultural sector.
Application of the criteria was shown to result in moderate environmental and climate benefits – depending on the size of the event. The impact of the MEC, however, is expected to increase in the medium term as the criteria are further adopted and eventually become mandatory for publicly financed events (expected by end of 2022) – one of the main outcomes of the project. The Italian ministry of culture estimates that events in the country attract more than 91 million people annually.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).