Rapid two-digit economic growth over the last three decades has led to a big increase of consumption in virtually every sector in China. Yet, the rising consumption trend is not sustainable and increasingly leads to depletion of natural resources. Since 2002, primary energy consumption has been increasing at an average rate of 13% annually. High levels of, largely coal-based, energy consumption leads to extreme local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A considerable share of China’s energy consumption can be attributed to the public sector. In 2006, public consumption made up 14% of GDP. Although China has several policies targeting eco-efficient consumption in place, implementation remains rather weak.
The SWITCH-Asia project “Green Public Procurement” (SuPP-Urb) aims to mitigating climate change and to reducing environmental degradation. These goals will contribute to achieving the environmental targets of the Chinese government’s 11th five-year plan. The project implements and mainstreams sustainable public procurement (SPP) on a city level. The project adapts and uses sustainable public procurement standards in municipal Public Procurement Centres (PPCs) of the cities Tianjin, Qinhuangda and Lanzhou.
As part of the SWITCH-Asia project Sustainable Public Procurement in Urban Administrations in China, three procurement experts visit selected procurement centres. From 26 October 26 to 1 November the experts discuss public procurement procedures tools and techniques. Maike Bunse, project coordinator of the Wuppertal Institute underlines the importance of such field visits: “The direct exchange between experts from China and those from Europe is an important factor. Exchanging good practices and experiences might lead to new ideas in China and Europe, and will furthermore encourage our Chinese project partners in implementing sustainable procurement practices.” The visiting German and Chinese experts meet staff of the centres, and representatives from local SME suppliers, Nankai University, environmental Management College of China, and the Lanzhou environmental Protection Bureau. Experts from the Centre of Sustainable Consumption and Production, the German Chamber of Commerce, and the Berlin Energy Agency introduce instruments and regulations used in Germany respectively Europe to identify green products. They highlight how a legal framework can be used to promote sustainable public procurement and discuss practices in bid evaluations. The SWITCH-Asia project Sustainable Public Procurement in Urban Administrations in China aims to implement green procurement procedures in Tianjin, Lanzhou and Qinhuangdao. The project has screened the local situation and the experiences made by local Procurement Public Centres while preparing for implementation. In March 2010, the procurement centres of the three cities published action plans to implement sustainable public procurement and started to discuss their plans with relevant suppliers.
The project Greening Public Procurement held a stakeholder workshop on the 11th and 12th of March 2010 to present and discuss the action plans for sustainable public procurement of the three partner cities of Qinhuangdao, Tianjin and Lanzhou. Participants came from 12 associated cities, supplier companies, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, as well as from the EC Delegation to China and discussed major factors for the successful implementation of sustainable public procurement.
The kick-off meeting of SuPP-Urb China was held from 21 to 23 April, 2009, in Qinhuangdao. Among the participants were representatives from the EC delegation in China and Mongolia, from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), from the China Standard Certification Centre, and from the Municipality of Qinhuangdao, as well as experts from each of the project partners and representatives of all associate municipalities. During the meeting, objectives, actions and main activities were clarified, as well as project planning and management agreed upon. In addition, the meeting served for knowledge sharing on existing eco-labels and on the process of public procurement in China, including the presentation of good practice case studies.