Administrative regulation for sustainable public procurement

In a nutshell

This tool can support a public administration’s environmental aims by including them in administrational regulation for public procurement, making them binding for public institutions. The details of the regulation are agreed upon within the administration and included in training material for implementation by public procurement officers. This helps qualitatively improve the tendering process and can lead to consecutive environmental solutions by bidders, particularly with respect to public meals. The public administration, by adopting this regulation, further aligns with ambitious environmental policies such as those for climate protection, the circular economy, waste management, and biodiversity set by the EU.

Necessary Steps

  • Elaborate an administrative regulation describing how the environmental principles and aims match with environmental procurement criteria and shall be applied.
  • Create a specifications for tenders in which, amongst others, the necessary sustainable criteria for the procurement of the public meal and how to show the compliance are defined.
  • Examples from Berlins specifications for tenders:
    1. At least 15 per cent (of the monetary input) of the foodstuffs used, in relation to the total input, originate from organic farming in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 834/200719
    2. 100 percent of fish and other marine products originate from sustainable fisheries / fishing or sustainable aquaculture.
    3. 100 percent of the coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate originate from organic farming in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.
    4. At least one food component (e.g. potatoes or vegetables) is offered daily in organic quality.
    5. If there is a choice of two or more menus per day, at least half of them shall be vegetarian.
    6. The standard range of foodstuffs (e.g. sugar, milk, jam, mustard, etc.) shall not be served in portion packs.
    7. Only reusable tableware (incl. beverage cups for cold and hot drinks) may be used (with the exception of cardboard packaging, (…)).
    8. For plastic reusable tableware, high-quality environmentally friendly plastic, e.g. polypropylene, polycarbonate, shall be used.
    9. Food waste, fats and oils, waste glass, cardboard, paper and light packaging shall be collected separately and fed into the respective collection of recyclable materials.
    10. Only napkins, kitchen rolls and paper towels made of recycled paper are used that meet the requirements of the Blue Angel eco-label, RAL-UZ 5, July 2014 edition, contained in Chapter 3. (…)
    11. Only unbleached baking/cooking and hot filter papers (e.g. coffee and tea filters) may be used that meet the requirements of the Blue Angel eco-label, DE-UZ 65, February 2014 edition, contained in Chapter 3.(…).

Further specifications define energy efficient fridges, ovens, etc.; the use of detergents, etc.

  • Create and provide support and trainings material, like guidance documents, templates, explanatory videos for the procurement officers.

More Issues To Consider

  • The regulation applies to a wide range of products and services procured by public administration. Food, catering, and related issues make up only a small part of this.
  • The regulation only applies to public catering facilities that are funded by the government (like school canteens). It does not apply to public canteens operated by private caterers receiving revenues from the customers only and no public funding.

Further Information


The information on this page about the use of the tool “Administrative regulation for sustainable public procurement” 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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