Procurement criteria for lower climate impact

In a nutshell

This tool provides procurers options to procure food with lower climate impact through shorter supply chains and preferring seasonal food. A short food supply chain means short(er) physical distances between producers and consumers, which typically lowers transport emissions. Seasonal products are generally delivered over shorter distances.

Seasonal vegetables with better taste, quality and prices can also promote the shift of the menu towards more plant-based meal options, contributing to a climate-friendly and healthy diet. Thus increasing the share of seasonal food delivered at short distances helps to reduce the climate impact of food production and consumption, possibly the procurement cost, and to improve the quality of fresh food, which all support the health and climate protection policies of the EU.

Necessary Steps

  • If a procurer wishes to purchase food with lower climate impact through shorter supply chains and prefer seasonal food, the technical specification of the catering service should determine:
    • the distance of food production in kilometres and for which food items this requirement applies.
    • which seasonal food and drink products are to be delivered at what time of the year. Seasonal products are usually fresh fruit and vegetables that ripen during certain seasons (e.g. summer or autumn).

The procurer could use the following criteria in the procurement document:

  • The following primary food products used in the preparation of meals [procurer inserts the list of food] must originate within a radius of X kilometres [procurer inserts the number of kilometres] from the place of consumption.

Tips: considering the climate impact, the distance of food supply chains could be up to 300 km. Both animal products, such as eggs, milk, meat (chicken, pork, etc.,) and plant products, such as fruits and vegetables, are suitable for the short supply chain requirement.

  • X% (e.g. 100% or at least 80%) of all fruits offered in autumn (September, October, November) [to be determined based on the time when seasonal fruits are available in a country/region] are X, Y, Z [e.g. apples, pears and plums, to be determined based on the availability of seasonal fruits].
  • X% (e.g. 100% or at least 80%) of all root vegetables offered in autumn (September, October, November) [to be determined based on the time when seasonal root vegetables are available] are X, Y, Z [e.g. fresh carrot, beetroot, turnip, celeriac to be determined based on the availability of seasonal vegetables in a country/region].
  • Verification: The tenderer will provide:
    • A list of producers of the required primary products. The contracting authority will verify the fulfilment of the short supply chain criterion in the contract based on delivery notes/invoices of food purchases.
    • A list of potential seasonal products that will be provided. The contracting authority will verify the fulfilment of the seasonality criterion in the contract based on delivery notes/invoices of food purchases.

More Issues To Consider

According to EU public procurement directives, the public procurer cannot set a condition that producers or products should be "local" or "domestic", which imposes discrimination and unfair treatment of other EU suppliers. The aim of determining the distance where the primary products must originate is to reduce the climate impact of transporting food.

Further Information

Disclaimer

The information on this page about the use of the tool “Procurement criteria for lower climate impact” is only provided as a general guide and is not intended as a substitute for the user to check the respective public procurement regulations. We compiled the content to the best of our knowledge, but do not assume any liability for completeness and correctness. We do not assume any liability for the user to verify the applicable procurement law provisions in the respective national state.

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