29 April 2022

ICLEI World Congress to highlight public procurement’s key role in advancing sustainable urban development

The ICLEI World Congress, taking place in Malmö (Sweden)from11-13 May, aims to showcase how cities, towns and regions worldwide are advancing sustainable urban development and accelerating the sustainable transition. The World Congress will host two sessions highlighting the key role public procurement has in this context:

Public buyers in Europe spend 14% of the EU’s GDP, while a recent framework co-developed by the World Economic Forum notes that public procurement is responsible for 15% of global GHG emissions. That means that there is a lot of potential for public authorities to have a positive social and environmental impact with their purchases of works, goods and services. They can do so for example by creating reserved contracts for social enterprises. In the ‘building equity’ session participants will hear how the city of Malmö and social enterprise Yalla Trappan are working together to achieve a just and equitable recovery from the COVID pandemic.

In addition, speakers from Pittsburgh (USA), Metro Vancouver (Canada) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will share their own stories of using public procurement as a tool for social and ecological resilience, contributing to attractive local communities, and a pandemic recovery based on the principles of social justice, equality and inclusion. These examples will show that by supporting minority-owned SME’s, providing decent working conditions in global supply chains and promoting gender equality, public buyers have a lot of power to boost local economies, create a green shift, and foster a just transition.

These examples all show that by making just and sustainable choices public buyers can make a big difference. But what you if don’t know what the right choice is? What if you want to reduce CO2 emissions in your city, but don’t know what the best solution is? By pursuing innovative procurement processes such as Pre-Commercial Procurement (PPC) or Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) public procurers can engage the market to get a better understanding of what is possible and create demand for innovative sustainable solutions. The “AI & Sustainability” session will highlight how cities can contribute to and make use of such innovative solutions.

For the past two years, ICLEI has been involved in the EU-funded PCP project AI4Cities, where six cities and regions joined forces to find innovative AI-based solutions that will reduce CO2 emmissions in their energy and mobility domains. In the “AI & Sustainability” session participants will hear from one of the cities (Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France) that is in the process of acquiring one of these solutions. Furthermore the session will provide an overview of the organisational processes and challenges municipalities need to take into account when implementing new technologies, and present the perspective of Medellin (Colombia), which chose to develop its AI technology entirely in-house without going through a procurement process.

ICLEI’s organisation of these sessions fits its longstanding efforts to support public authorities in using their public spending to achieve social and environmental objectives. Through projects and flagship networks, such as the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network and the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, ICLEI provides professional information, advice, networking opportunities, training and tools to public authorities wanting to implement better, more cost effective sustainable and innovation procurement practices.

Register here for the World Congress