Green Public Procurment standards are applied to more than 70% of public tenders concerning food, catering, as well as transport field. Last year, the GPP criteria were applied the most to two categories of tenders organised by the State and municipalities – to tenders concerning food and catering services (on 76% of occasions) and purchase of transport (on 79% of occasions).
In general, only now entrepreneurs in Latvia are becoming acquainted with the potential demand of environmentally friendly goods and services, therefore, the entrepreneurs gradually adjust their supply in order to make it more compatible with the criteria. Experts from various fields arrived to this conclusion during the meeting with entrepreneurs, which was organised by Riga Planning Region project GreenS. The participants of the meeting had a discussion on the capacity of Latvian companies to provide products that would be compatible with the GPP criteria.
As it was pointed out by Ms Aija Zučika, representative of Riga Planning Region and project GreenS, this meeting is a step toward acquiring examples of good practice, which would allow entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of future opportunities that the GPP criteria would provide in public tenders. Moreover, project GreenS aims to develop guidelines for applying GPP criteria to public tenders organised by the Riga Planning Region Municipalities, as well as to create a common online database that would comprise environmentally friendly goods and services.
Maris Klismets, Director of the Coordination Department at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, admitted that it would be difficult to attain the goal of an active implementation of GPP criteria in public procurement tenders without a political support on behalf of the State. The active involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture is a successful example of including GPP criteria as a mandatory requirement in tenders concerning food branch via Ministry regulations. Nowadays, due to this action three out of four tenders are being conducted by basing on this principle. On the other hand, it is important to sort out the question of “the lowest price” requirement, for it currently deters entrepreneurs to expand their production range, whereas the municipalities are deterred from applying the criteria entirely, because environmentally friendly solutions do not immediately mean that their price will be the lowest.
The Green Industry Innovation Center (GIIC), which is the only Green Technology Incubator in the Baltic States, is working already for many years for the purpose of promoting innovation in the field of green technology. The representative of GIIC Matīss Neimanis tells that 81 ideas have received help on their development stage since the beginning of the work of this incubator, and it is planned to admit other 72 projects of environmentally friendly technologies to the incubator by the next summer. In his opinion, there are many good and brave ideas, for example, houses of hemp blocks, Bindio app for bicycle parking, scooters to be used in Riga centre, adhesive Saproglue that uses sapropel, which is an environmentally friendly substance.
Skonto Prefab, producer of reinforced concrete constructions, admitted during the discussion that the company definitely shifted towards environmentally friendly practices after developing its exports to the Scandinavia, where environment declarations that confirm the product origin and compatibility of ingredients with the stringent environmental requirements were an important precondition.
Meanwhile, Ms A. Breidaka, representative of AS Spodrība affirms that the green thinking is a rapidly growing trend in the recent years in Latvia. The proportion of Spodrība eco production grows by 75 to 80% each year. The company is one of producers that encourage the society to embrace environmentally friendly lifestyle by its green products and thinking. If the range of eco production comprised 9 products in 2012, today there are around 20 eco products. A. Breidaka admits that the company has chosen the hardest yet the most sustainable development route that is responsible towards consumers and the environment, by moving towards eco-certification for its products. Although all products from ECO line are compatible with eco-labelling requirements, the certification process is gradual, as obtaining the certificate is rather expensive.
Riga Planning Region (RPR) organises a round of discussions for the project GreenS, which aims to contribute to an effective implementation of GPP standards in the Latvian municipalities. This meeting was the second out of seven discussions of the round, and it was devoted to the topic of the capacity of Latvian entrepreneurs to provide products compatible with the GPP criteria, and experts from various branches shared their experience.
Steering comitee meeting: video