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The Procura+ Awards reward successful, already running, sustainable and innovative public procurements. These procurements lead to significant improvements of public goods, services, processes and infrastructure.

With this Award the Procura+ Network wants to showcase sustainable and innovation procurement in practice.


The shortlisted candidates for the Procura+ Awards 2021 are announced in all four categories: Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the year, Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT, and Procurement Initiative of the year.

Who are the judges?

The entries for the 2021 Procura+ Awards are assessed by a jury of procurement experts and policy makers:

  • Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Adviser at the Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD
  • Johanna Enberg, Strategist Innovation Procurement, National Agency for Public Procurement, Sweden
  • Katharina Knapton-Vierlich, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission
  • Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre


Procura+ Awards highlight sustainable and innovation procurements and tender procedures and give visibility to the most dynamic, forward-looking and innovative public authorities and their initiatives.

The procured solutions will have a strong potential for replication and scaling up and will be an excellent showcase in using sustainable and innovation procurement instruments to purchase cutting edge solutions, in particular ICT solutions.

2021 Sustainable Procurement of the Year

Recognising the outstanding environmental, social and economic impacts of the procurement.



Beyond organic food procurement according to the Sustainable Development Goals

Having already achieved 90% organic food across all public meals, Copenhagen is now introducing further environmental and social considerations into its food procurement using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a guide. The aim is to fulfill the goal set in their Strategy for Public Food to reduce the CO2 emissions resulting from public food procurement by 2025, while still providing sustainable, nutritious and high quality meals.

Through the Danish national network of food procurement officers (which Copenhagen established in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of Environment), Copenhagen became aware of a SDG tool developed by the City of Odense to help suppliers identify the SDGs they are contributing to during market dialogue exercises, and to provide a framework for tenders. Through cooperation, Copenhagen was able to build on this work, in order to create a SDG Roadmap, which connected their tender specifications to SDGs, and provided bidders with a platform to map their current level of sustainability, and visualise their development potential.
Bidders were asked to provide information on fair trade products, sustainably certified fish, green vehicles used in transport, packaging, and diversity of in-season fruit and vegetables. The “climate weight” of food was also part of the evaluation. In February 2021 it awarded the contract, with the inclusion of several requirements on suppliers to measure and report on issues relevant to the SDGs, including: measurement of food waste; sorting instructions for all packaging after one year; requirement to use certified palm oil and sustainable soy.
In terms of lessons, Copenhagen's and Odense’s experience shows that market dialogue is important to help suppliers overcome the barriers that sustainability criteria add to contracts, and to build strong partnerships. Exchange between procurers is also important for sharing approaches and making progress across multiple cities.


Challenging the market with ambition of most aesthetic, user-friendly, and energy-efficient as possible

The South Moravian Region identified the need to build a new sanitarium for children with respiratory diseases. The intention was to give the market the opportunity to show the best they can offer to make the building as aesthetic, user-friendly, and energy-efficient as possible. To test clarity and feasibility of the planned procedure, the project was introduced to the market using preliminary market consultation. Based on the feedback from the market, the contracting authority started a procedure of combining several procurement methods to provide the bidders with an opportunity to come up with innovative and efficient solutions, maximizing the added value for the contracting authority. The tender itself was awarded using a combination of the competitive procedure with negotiation and architectural design contest (as the final stage of the tender). The contracting authority set a fixed price of the tender and decided on selecting the contractor according to qualitative criteria only. The contracting authority also used contractual provisions to emphasise fair relations in the supply chain (including timely payments to the subcontractors), legal employment, fair and safe working conditions for all persons who will participate in the execution of the project. For the final stage of the procurement seven bids were received. The selected tenderer offered several sustainable solutions, including reusable (or fully recyclable) components of the main construction and interior design solution enabling simple layout adjustments in the future. Furthermore, their design envisages rainwater collection and its subsequent use for irrigation, with its surplus being absorbed directly in the sanitarium area. Based on a feedback enquiry to all involved actors, it was mentioned that the children’s sanatorium project is very demanding in terms of the development of minimum requirements and technical standards. Ultimately, it was considered that this procurement pushed the market significantly towards delivering on sustainable buildings. 


Low environmental impact cleaning services

In connection with the mission of the Climate Air Energy Plan developed by Dinan, they aimed to contract cleaning services that do not harm the environment, support access to employment and to enable companies of different sizes to apply.
To prepare the tender, Dinan conducted an inventory of all the Dinan Agglomeration buildings and the functionality of each of them in order to determine the level of quality of cleaning service requested, depending on the use of these. A market engagement phase followed in order to identify the real capacities of companies to be able to respond to the environmental and social criteria and for the public authority to learn about their cleaning processes.
The tender documents outline both mandatory environmental criteria (recycled, natural, eco-labeled or eco-certified products, water, effluent and waste management, etc.) but also expected quality of services. The requirements in terms of quality have been defined with the notion of professional integration (inclusion) in terms of an obligation to hire people excluded (far from employment) from employment for a defined number of hours per year. Social responsibility, for example gender equality or access to training, was included in the form of a contract award criterion. The tender was divided into three lots of different sizes, with the sole possibility of awarding a single lot per company in order to promote the diversity of economic players in the performance of the contract. The tender has been successfully awarded to three different companies per lot. Since its operation, a significant reduction in indoor air pollutants was recorded, 20% financial savings and a minimum of 350 hours of work per year is reserved for the most disadvantaged, and the companies of the two largest batches/ lots are already registering through an integration process beyond what is imposed on them. Through this procurement Dinan emphasises the learning of defining the needs based on knowing about the use of the premises and to collaborate across departments throughout the entire procurement process.


Creating a platform for circular furniture exchange across the Flemish Government and beyond

The Government of Flanders wants to reduce the amount of office furniture that ends up as waste. It is often the case that furniture disposed of in one part of an organisation can be reused in another part. However, practical barriers (such as matching supply and demand) plus financial barriers (such as the financial ‘borders’ between different departments) exist. As such, Flanders decided to procure a service to act as a platform between the government’s entities, which could collect, store, clean and refurbish furniture, sell this furniture from one entity to another through an online webshop; and, source and sell additional refurbished furniture to fulfill additional needs.
As the desired service did not yet exist on the market, a competitive procedure with negotiation was used. This allowed Flanders to shape the service with potential contractors, including how the system would work, the minimum requirements for accepting furniture, how the webshop would work, and how Flanders and the contractor would work together to grow the market.
By making the platform provider the legal owner of the furniture once collected, it has been possible to overcome the financial barriers, and open the service to other buyers. But reuse within the government is also encouraged, and entities that give furniture to the platform receive credits that can be used to buy furniture now or in future.
In the first two months of the contract, 51 pieces of furniture were collected, and 21 have already found a second life. Flanders also brought 329 pieces of refurbished furniture. As the contract progresses, reuse, refurbishment and waste data will continue to be collected, as well as data on carbon emissions. The contract also includes the full-time employment of 2 people through a sheltered workshop.


Reducing packaging through procurement using an objective and transparent scoring methodology

Barcelona Sports Institute (IBE) is committed to reducing the environmental impact of sports events, and has identified waste reduction as a priority. One such event is its annual La Merce Race - a 10km race held each September by the city, at which each runner received a t-shirt. As well as recruiting t-shirts that meet the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO TEX ecolabel standard, IBE developed an innovative method for comparing and scoring waste minimisation across bids. Finally, points were also awarded for green vehicles used in the local delivery.
As a first step, IBE calculated their current waste creation. They found that in 2018, the delivery of t-shirts led to 396.41m2 of cardboard, weighing 425kg. Bidders were asked to provide a technical file describing the design of the box, the total number of boxes, the mass of each box and the total mass of packaging, and to calculate the percentage of waste reduction using a given formula. Due to this procurement, the packaging used to deliver race t-shirts has been reduced by over 75% through the use of reusable crates that are taken back by the supplier. The winning supplier also completely eliminated plastic bags, which saved 13,000 plastic bags in 2019, and delivered t-shirts using ECO standard vehicles.
The main lesson is that it is possible to evaluate waste reduction in an objective, transparent and clear way, but doing so requires a baseline of current packaging use, plus monitoring of actual results.


Procuring ICT for schools and pushing for fair working conditions
The City of Stavanger was driven by the ambition to find new ways of including social criteria, when procuring ICT equipment. The city used an upcoming procurement of laptops for schools as means to find a supplier who works systematically with their supply chain to reduce and eliminate violations of human rights. Consequently, Stavanger used award criteria to purposely evaluate the suppliers on how effectively they worked with their supply chain. Specifically, they  outlined an award criteria on social responsibility that was weighted 60%, whereas price was the other 40%. The social responsibility criterion was split into four main subjects closely linked to each other, and weighted 25% each. The first criteria was about the suppliers ethics and responsible trading, with the aim to get to know how the suppliers work. Second criteria was regarding the chromebook manufacture and the supplier knowledge of their supply chain. The third criteria was regarding capacity building to push for the supplier to work with it’s supply chain to build knowledge on sustainability. The fourth criteria was regarding external cooperation, suggesting suppliers of ICT-equipment to work with external organisations to put labour and human rights on the agenda.
Before publishing the tender, market dialogue events were held and a PIN published.The procurement documents were finalised with social criteria as: qualification demand, technical specification, in the contract agreement and as award criteria. Two bids were received for the contract on supply of Chromebooks. Overall, Stavanger received more information on social criteria than expected and the information provided included details on internal routines and on how the suppliers measure human rights in regards to other parameters. In addition, the procurement received a lot of attention from other public buyers and organisations, mostly from Scandinavian public buyers, but also international buyers and actors in the industry. Stavanger shared their approach and lessons learned also as part of the Procura+ Interest Group on Socially Responsible Procurement of ICT hardware.

2021 Innovation Procurement of the Year

Recognising the outstanding innovation of the procurement and the public authority as a launch customer.



Using innovation procurement to meet Santiago’s unique needs as a World Heritage City

Santiago de Compostella’s Smartiago project seeks to develop innovative solutions which will improve services to citizens, while respecting the complex and specific needs encountered as a World Heritage City. Three challenges in particular were identified: municipal solid waste (MSW) management and the need for intelligent solutions, last mile logistic services which reduce congestion and damage to paving, and ornamental lighting solutions which enhance the value of heritage while saving energy.
For each challenge, a Preliminary Market Consultation was carried out. In total, 63 responses were received to this consultation, from companies, technology centres and universities etc. Based on this, it was possible for the City to determine what was currently available on the market. It also provided justification for running the ornamental lighting procurement as a Pre Commercial Procurement (PCP).
All three procurements have expected sustainability results. For example, the PCP of intelligent ornamental lighting for heritage conservation is expected to reduce electricity costs by 80% annually, save maintenance costs of lighting by 20%, plus, save 20% of the costs of maintaining and restoring historical facades, due to the development of biocidal LED lighting which inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
The main lesson is that heritage cities can benefit from closer collaboration with suppliers to develop new solutions that are viable in their context.


Building net-zero energy innovation through procurement in construction in the centre of Prague

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) of the City of Prague decided to build its first permanent seat reusing a brownfield site. From the start, SAO was driven by the ambition to only build its own administrative building with the lowest life-cycle costs appropriate for modern administrative buildings, a longer service life of the public building could be assured and if the building could meet „net-zero energy consumption“ requirements. Before the actual tendering phase, the project team consulted with academic experts and conducted market engagement. A taskforce across units was set up to make strategic decisions together. Pushing for innovation in the Czech procurement context, the tender documents include high requirements for the effective and economic operation of the building, including the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to evaluate life cycle costs and building performance.
Since the BIM requirement was quite innovative and it was not easy to meet the requirement of previous experience with BIM projects, the SAO required proof of experience with 6 individual segments of BIM. Overall three tenders were published for the Principal Architect, the Engineer and contractors. For each of them multiple bids were received and successfully awarded. Benefits already achieved in the construction process include for example the use of recycled concrete from the previous structures on site and using sand from the construction pit used for the construction itself. Key lessons learned are that although using BIM may increase the price of the whole project, it increases transparency and efficiency of the Project implementation process. In addition, SAO was able to leverage the contract management phase to identify, support and promote benefits for the environment and the society.


Two innovative social and health solutions for active ageing and independent living

Driven by the aim to improve capabilities of companies and the public service to innovate in the health care sector, buyers from Portugal, Spain and France aggregated their demand and implemented a transnational Public Pr ocurement of Innovation (PPI). The procurement was developed in the framework of the Interreg SUDOE Programme European project, PROCURA, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF).
All agents of the different innovation ecosystems of the SUDOE programme area were involved in defining the needs and state of the art of the market as an extensive research was carried out on existing solutions in the market in order to propose a real innovation, as well as defining the procurement process. Various transnational workshops were carried out to learn from other PPIs, creating an Early Demand Map and joint Functional Needs Design document. The main output was the identification of two solutions: a smart Walker and a modular Toilet Solution. The Preliminary Market Consultation was carried out, involving a technical dialogue with the companies at a transnational level. Based on positive feedback from the market in terms of technological readiness, the tender documents were prepared and published. Several consortiums showed their interest in the tender and finally one bid was received coming from a two companies merger. Overall, the whole process is considered as very innovative due to be the first social and health procurement of innovation in three different countries (Spain, France and Portugal) applying co-creation and co-production person-centred methodologies, to be incorporated into the public regional policies. Based on all the lessons learned, the initiative seeks to create a community to share good practices of innovation procurement within their region.


Developing a silent electric refuse truck for late-night city centre waste collection

Night-time or early morning waste collection is a common practice in many city centres to reduce congestion on roads (and the associated air pollution and CO2 impacts). This can, however, be very disruptive to residents. As such, Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) is piloting an innovative ‘Silent Refuse Truck’, which makes use of a fully electric chassis and refuse collector. The pilot has resulted in the development of a truck in which operating energy is taken from the truck’s own battery, and hydraulic cylinders have been replaced by electric actuators, both of which are innovative technical solutions which have not been tested in a cold climate.

The developed refuse truck will be tested in-situ in Helsinki’s city centre, over an 18-month period, including two winters. The pilot truck will be equipped with devices which monitor the energy use. Noise levels will also be measured and compared with conventional refuse trucks.
HSY, which organises waste management for 1.1 million people, usually procurers services, but by buying a pilot truck, and allowing their contractors to test it, HSY hopes to increase suppliers confidence in the technology and their willingness to invest in it.
The main lesson learned is that the market for electric truck chassis is still very limited (roughly only 200 exist world-wide), and the price is high compared to conventional trucks. However, buying a traditional refuse collection truck takes around 1.5 years from order to receipt, therefore, a proactive approach is needed now in order to ensure future results, in particular, Helsinki’s 2035 carbon neutrality target.

2021 Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT

Recognising the outstanding application of Procurement of Innovation and Pre-commercial procurement of ICT.



Co-creating an app using the inDemand model to improve communication between doctors and epilepsy patients

The European project inDemand brought together procurers from 3 European regions (Murcia, Paris and Oulu) to test a new co-creation model - inDemand - which is presented as being leaner, faster and requiring less organisational resources and overheads through pre-commercial procurement (PCP), and is therefore more suited to rapidly changing technologies, like digital solutions. So far, 22 innovation projects have tested the model, including one led by the Murcian Health Service (SMS) called EPICO (which stands for Epilepsy Communication Channel).
Working with the Neurology Department of Santa Lucia Hospital, EPICO used the inDemand model to identify the challenge of improving accessibility for and follow-up with epileptic patients. A call to companies to co-create an innovative solution alongside clinicians was then launched. After a tender procedure, one company - Oxiframe - was selected by a decision committee of stakeholders. Working with neurologists and patients, the company engaged in a 5-month co-creation process of an all-in-one app for direct communication between patients and doctors. The developed solution was then tested with 54 patients at the Hospital of Cartagena for 2 months, and then a wider group of 120 patients for 12 months. SMS then prepared an open tender for a solution, which the Oxiframe solution won.
There was a 100% acceptance of the tool, which was found to significantly improve communication between doctors and patients affected by epilepsy. It has increased patient satisfaction by 50%, and led to a quality of life improvement of 2.5 points (according to the QOLIE-10, NDDI-E test).


Procurement of innovation to take better care of population

24 hours a day, 365 days a year - the Local Telecare Service of Barcelona Provincial Council provides direct and regular support to its local population. The service especially caters to people who may need support because they are at risk due to social vulnerability, loneliness, age or complex social and/or health situations. With the ambition to improve the telecare services, the Council published a tender for innovation, worth over 60 Million EUR. The procurement was done at supra-municipal level, tendering through an entity to which 310 municipalities adhere. The procurement model was designed results-oriented and open to innovation by identifying the challenges to be addressed, but leaving it up to the bidder to decide how to address them. Three large Spanish companies specialised in the provision of telecare services submitted bids for this contract. All three solutions included innovative and sustainable solutions in the four specific areas of assessment defined through technical specifications: Offering various responses to the challenges posed, evolution of the service model, digitalisation, coordination and universal accessibility. The selected contractor started implementation in May 2021. For Barcelona Provincial Council, this procurement means to pioneer an advanced telecare service in Spain. The innovation includes new IP technology to improve the different intensities of the service for its users, to integrate new digital technology, which should enable the transition to the connected home for users and a predictive service delivery system.

2021 Procurement Initiative of the Year

Recognising outstanding processes and actions towards strategic, sustainable and innovation procurement.



Using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as compass for each procurement

In 2017, the Province of Zeeland worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reflect on the contribution that public procurement could make to the UN SDGs. After internal awareness raising and training sessions with the aim to get to know the SDGs, Zeeland started to monitor progress on achieving the SDGs via the sustainable procurement platform developed by a startup company. In 2020, the Provincial governments organized multiple ‘around the screen: SDG dialogues’ with NGOs, policy officers, buyers, suppliers, experts, lectors and students to discuss how purchasing and contracting could contribute to the SDGs.
As a result, they committed to achieving impact on SDGs through each purchase in 2021-2024.  Based on existing policy goals, ability to monitor and in alignment with local initiatives, the focus was set on 7 SDGs. For each of the 7 goals, concrete impact targets were embedded in the Sustainable procurement plan 2021-2024 and monitored results will be shared on the sustainable procurement platform. Reflecting on the initiative to make an impact towards a liveable future, a key lesson learned is that there is a need to re-organise the procurement process and to collaborate across internal departments, with the employees of the suppliers, citizens and schools in the area.


Developing a dynamic model for green vehicle requirements across a range of city services

In Denmark, the climate footprint of cars and fuel makes up almost 12% of the climate footprint of public procurement. This includes the delivery of goods and services, which in Copenhagen corresponds to 4.5 million kilometers driven within the city each year. As such, in 2020 the City developed a dynamic model for introducing green vehicle requirements to a range of goods and service contracts. The model is based on market dialogue (to understand suppliers current capabilities ) and the continuous mapping of market developments (to create a projection of future technological development). The results inform an easy-to-read table which projects market maturity for different categories of green vehicles over a five year period. Rather than set criteria, which go out of date fast, this approach allows requirements to be scaled-up over the course of a contract.
To date, contracts for food supply to centralised kitchens, window cleaning, locksmith services, and electrician services now include the enhanced requirements. The total value of these contracts is €57 million. In 2021, the requirements are planned for six additional contracts. Data on the CO2 reductions will also be collected from suppliers over the course of the contracts. The key lesson is that it is possible to require green vehicle use, and suppliers have been quick to adapt.


Towards carbon neutral municipalities and regions using carbon footprint criteria to promote sustainable public procurement

As the largest operator engaging in public procurement in Finland, the goal of the City of Helsinki is to find ways to mitigate climate change through procurement. In 2019, the city started a new procurement initiative through which Helsinki aims to identify different ways of taking into account the climate impacts of procurement. For example, not just by emission calculations or carbon footprint but also by using climate-smart procurement criteria. The carbon footprint data helps to identify the most important actions for promoting low-carbon operations, to guide the development of low-carbon criteria and so seek emission reductions where the most potential is.

The project identified low-carbon procurement pilots and supported the contracting entity with the sustainability perspectives (low-carbon, other environmental aspects and overall responsibility). As a first result Helsinki piloted climate-smart procurement methods across 9 examples such as design & build contract of apartment buildings; street renovation; food services for residential homes. Preparation and implementation of the pilot procurements is carefully documented as independent case descriptions which enables evaluation of results and sharing the lessons learned to wide audiences such as other European public buyers.

One of the key takeaways from the initiative is that the utilization of carbon footprint calculation must be assessed on a procurement-by-procurement basis. In addition, market dialogue as well as exchange with experts and international procurement networks were marked as critical. Overall, the initiative helped Helsinki's staff to increase the exchange of knowledge and experiences between different, decentralized procurement units of the city.


Supporting women in academia through the provision of an on-campus kindergarten

The University of Cagliari established their “Baby Card” project in order to reduce the dropout of women from their studies and academic careers. One big obstacle for women was the lack of appropriate and affordable childcare places in the city for children aged 3 to 36 months. As such, the University decided to create a kindergarten on campus, using a former small library which was no longer in use. It is one of the first Italian universities to provide such a support service to students.
Two procurements were required. First, a works contract which was carried out in compliance with rules on energy and noise efficiency, accessibility for disabled users, hygiene and health standards. Second, an interior furniture contract, with requirements around formaldehyde emissions, paint, phthalates and fireproof materials, in line with the Italian Minimum Environmental Criteria.
The new kindergarten can accommodate 14 children  between 3 and 36 months. By renovating an existing space, the University saved land and resources. By providing childcare services on campus, the University aims to improve the support it offers students, but it can also have the effect of reducing travel miles.
The main lesson is that public administrations can find new opportunities for positively improving people’s quality of life. By creating an initiative which aims to strategically address barriers to female students, it has been possible to procure outside of the university’s ‘business as usual’.


The Procura+ Awards 2021 also received entries from the following organisations

Mobility and Rehabilitation of Central City Public Spaces - Vila Nova de Famalicao  (Portugal)

Aquisition of renewable energy - Loures  (Portugal)

Reducing environmental impact of public lighting - Lources (Portugal)

Environmental criteria in urban pest prevention - Lources (Portugal)

Innovative toolkit for trace analysis - Center for Security Studies (Greece)

Climate vise procurement of dairy products - Helsinki (Finland)

Procurement of automatic vending machines considering sustainable waste management - University of Cagliari (Italy)

The 2020 Procura+ Awards are supported by the Procure2Innovate project. 



  • KAMP C - Sustainable Procurement
  • City of Koprivnica - Innovation Procurement
  • BIG Austria - Innovation Procurement in ICT
  • City of Haarlem - Procurement Initiative

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