29 November 2021

ICLEI supports Belgium to improve ICT purchases and sustainable procurement

The latest edition of the GPP News Alert features an interview with Jo Versteven from the Belgian Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (FISD). Since 2004, Versteven has been working on sustainable public procurement for the Belgain federal government.

Versteven explains that recently Sustainable Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have become an important topic for Belgium’s (procurement) policy agenda. On 14 June 2021 the Belgian Minister for Sustainable Development, Zakia Khattabi, signed the Circular and Fair ICT Pact, an international partnership to accelerate circularity, fairness and sustainability in the ICT sector focusing on public procurement.

Versteven notes that to translate these ambitions into concrete actions, minister Khattabi asked the FISD to set up two working groups “Firstly, a Belgian Buyers Group with about 80 local, regional and federal government buyers/procurers to exchange best practices and tender information on circular and fair ICT procurement. And secondly, a European working group on socially responsible ICT procurement with about 27 European buyers of ICT equipment together with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The second group was considered to be important because of potential negative side effects of (green) buying in the ICT mining, production and assemblyfacilities – for example, using child and/or forced labour. Both groups will deliver their reports and recommendations by the end of the year.”

In the interview Versteven further discusses how the FISD is helping to integrate sustainability in the procurement portfolio of federal public buyers, how Belgium is building on the EU Clean Vehicles Directive to green its car fleets, and the importance of monitoring to better understand the success of sustainable interventions. The full interview can be read here.