ICLEI’s train-the-trainer workshop in Brussels, six webinars, on-spot visits and individual follow-up support sessions proved to be a useful preparation for the GPP Support Units in GreenS to carry out the required six GPP Training in each partner country.
Partner did not just meet the target of six GPP training each but in some cases exceeded the envisaged number [Andalusia (8 pieces of training in total); Riga (10 trainings in total)]. Eventually, seven more trainings than envisaged were held and 961 more people involved in the procurement process trained (see table 1).
Overall, the feedback from participants of GPP trainings was very positive and constructive. As recommended by ICLEI, partners tried to provide GPP trainings tailored on the needs of the respective public authority and its procurers. Having a clear knowledge and understanding of the target group proved to be very important for the success of trainings.
The participants appreciated the variety of content, the interactive parts (a key part of train-the-trainer session), the good practice examples show-cased and the competence and preparedness of the trainers and speakers involved. In most of the GPP trainings participants asked for further GPP trainings. Life-cycle assessment of products and in particular how to use life-cycle costing in green tendering to move from cheapest offer to most-economically advantageous offer was regarded as very useful for participants
As these activities went hand-in-hand with the drafting of the combined strategy plans for developing actions and tools for implementing G.PP.S (Deliverable 3.2) and institutionalising GPP trainings (Deliverable 4.2) partners could constantly experiment and improve different approaches leading to a hopefully successful roll-out of GPP during and after the project.
The start of the GPP trainings coincided roughly with the transposition of the 2014 Procurement Directives in all EU countries, which had to come into force at national legislation level from April 2016 onwards. Hence, many local governments and procurers were eager to hear and be trained on the latest procurement legislation.
In terms of lessons learnt and recommendations for successful GPP trainings the following can be summarised per partner:
Attendees showed great interest in incentive and support schemes for municipalities (national policies and levers) carrying out environmental protection, and green public procurement in particular. Offering practical and sessions adjusted to the interests of the audience proved to be a fruitful approach. What used to be attractive is to organize trainings back-to-back with important gatherings such as the annual Energy Days in Varna.
To keep GPP trainings interactive participants explicitly asked to keep sessions at 15-20 participants. The concept of the first seminar will be transferred to all the districts of Cyprus to ensure equal geographical coverage on knowledge-sharing on GPP. Combining these GPP trainings with other similar projects proved to be very beneficial. An attractive point for GPP trainings in Cyprus was the aspect of how to save money through GPP.
The lack of clear political support makes GPP trainings challenging. Participants expressed the wish to have more of such trainings to be enabled to use GPP as a strategic tool for sustainable local development as well. What makes Italy unique and attractive for GPP trainings is the fact that GPP is mandatory in Italy. Hence, procurers are very keen to receive information on so called minimum environmental criteria [=Criteri Ambientali Minimi (CAM)]. Providing certificates to attendees proofed to be another attractive asset for GPP trainings.
The mix between theoretical part and SWOT analysis worked well. However, participants noted discrepancies between real working situations and theories explained. Hence, main feedback was to focus more on the practical parts in the training and use the theoretical part primarily to provide new information and update participants. They recommended to stronger involve market players and people who can directly influence the processes (political decision-makers). Another suggestion was to not organise such trainings close to bank holidays to avoid low attendance level.
The Slovenian partner provided rather technical GPP trainings focussed on specific products and services which worked well. To emphasise the innovative part of GPP and use an innovative approach in trainings, such as on-spot calculators on CO2-savings of practices green tendering, was very appreciated. Interestingly, for one of the trainings, procurers and mayors were taken on a trip to Austria, which included also field visits. The experiment proved to be very successful for its highly interactive part, the combination of purchasers and political decision makers and the innovative training approach outside of sterile meeting rooms.
Following the first low level of participation, the Spanish partner adopted ICLEI’s recommendation of preparing a structured proposal where different modules (e.g. introduction; GPP set-up strategy; legal session; specific product group sessions; LCC; etc.) could be chosen by interested public authorities. This made the GPP training offer much more attractive and increased the number of participants accordingly.
Sweden showed that technical problems can be annoying and should be solved ex-ante. Some participants felt they could have had more advanced GPP trainings, which relates to the importance of knowing the audience in advance and offer tailor-measured trainings. The North Sweden Energy Agency highlighted the role of market players, which could deliver a key message on boosting sustainable and green procurement approaches in local authorities and small municipalities. Hence, the approach to bring procurers (demand) and market (supply) together in the frame of such GPP trainings can be very effective. Combining GPP trainings with study visits made the capacity building much more attractive and hands-on.
ICLEI has been supporting partners throughout the project and invited them to engage in follow-up support activities such as the NGO Network on GPP, where some partners are part of, upcoming GPP trainings and relevant events such as the triennial European Conference on Sustainable Public Procurement called EcoProcura, which will take place from 3-5 October 2018 in the EU Green Capital of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
For more information on the GreenS GPP way: greensproject.eu