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Forum for Bio-Based Innovation in Public Procurement

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InnProBio (Forum for Bio-Based Innovation in Public Procurement)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

InnProBio relates to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015 `Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy´ and call topic ISIB-7-2014 `Public procurement networks on innovative bio-based products´ within the call for an `Innovative, Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy´.
InnProBio identified relevant stakeholders from European, national, regional and local level including representatives from public procurement bodies and relevant decision makers. Stakeholders were approached to provide information on their specific needs related to Public Procurement of Innovation with bio-based products and services. This gave insights on drivers and barriers for bio-based product procurement in the public sector. The assessment took into account the results of the Business to Public Procurer expert surveys in the framework of the EU-FP7 funded Open-Bio project (Opening bio-based markets via standards, labelling and procurement project).
During the project period the consortium organised several workshops and market dialogues in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. Moreover, a roundtable discussion with public procurers and standardization bodies was organised in the Netherlands. The gathered information during the mentioned events and bilateral conversations with public procurement practitioners led to the development of tools that can to support public procurers with the procurement of bio-based products and services.
InnProBio Online-Toolbox under: https://www.biobasedconsultancy.com/.

InnProBio pursued four specific objectives:
Build a community of public procurement practitioners interested in innovation procurement of bio-based products and services
Develop an elaborated and legally solid Online-Toolbox
Capacity building activities
Recommendations for decision makers and standardization bodies

To fulfil the objectives, stakeholder needs, interest and knowledge were assessed. After that, the consortium prepared a number of information material to serve the needs and interests of the stakeholder and further, to raise the status quo of their knowledge. Then the consortium organised six workshops in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. Further, three market dialogues in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland as well as a roundtable discussion in the Netherlands to bring all stakeholders together. There were 150 participants present during the workshops and 200 during the market dialogues. During the whole process a project website provided interested stakeholders with information on the topic and future events.
Throughout the project it quickly became apparent that the public procurement of bio-based products and services is a very uncommon practice. During workshops, market dialogues, roundtable discussions and bilateral conversations with public procurement practitioners, it became clear that this is not due to a lack of interest per se but rather because of the lack of information, tools and knowledge about what is still a rather niche area which hinders public purchases to be made of bio-based products and services.
Therefore, the consortium prepared an Online-Toolbox dedicated to providing tailored tools and information material which will support beginners and experienced procurers alike. As the Online-Toolbox is one of the first of its kind, it has the potential to have a huge impact.
Moreover, as a result of the many workshops and discussions with procurement practitioners, barriers which procurers encounter are tackled in the ‘Recommendations to decision makers and standardisation bodies’ report. This report lists barriers and respective solutions and actions, which, if implemented, will help to lower barriers and thus aid in the transition from the public consumption of mainly fossil based products services to those made from bio-based materials.
EU public spending in the European Union on purchasing supplies, works and services adds up to 18% of the EU’s GDP, which could have a huge impact on the general public buying behaviour and the position of suppliers of bio-based products and services on the market. Obviously, the main purpose of public procurement is to secure the resources (e.g. work, services, goods) in order to carry out public duties. Nonetheless, public policy can further use public procurement to support specific policy goals. InnProBio looked at the benefits bio-based products and services can provide for society and how this market can be supported by increasing the share of bio-based products and services within public procurement. The project presented product groups which should be of interest to public procurement authorities, because they provide new or enhanced functionalities and specific characteristics supporting sustainability goals of public buying. The InnProBio project published a series of good practice examples, which highlight this:
One good practice example describes the procurement process of a hot drink vending machine. At the end, the bio-based cup was biodegradable and compostable according to the EN 13432 standard. This example shows, why national policy targets connected to procurement goals can lead to innovative product solutions.
Another good practice example describes the procurement of Skåne’s regional council (Region in South-Sweden), which decided to change their purchasing approach for protective disposable aprons to one which results in a purchase of a more environmentally-friendly product alternative. The result was that the winning application offered aprons with the proportion of renewable material of 91%. Additionally, instead of being imported some of the raw materials used were sourced locally and sustainably: starch from Kristianstad and chalk from Örebro.
This example shows that choosing high impact exemplary products for innovative procurement can lead to solutions which bring not only high benefits in terms of the procurement goals (i.e. low environmental impact) but also present an ideal case for communication and dissemination.

Since bio-based products are still in a niche market it is advied to focus activities on daily products in high quantity, which offers the possibility to purchase products and services for a low price but with high impact and also establish easy cases for repetition by other procurement authorities. This will take the fear of the unknown, which procurement practitioners often experience.
The described good practice examples highlight that the support from government authorities is fundamental and how suppliers of bio-based products and services and public procurers can be brought together.
InnProBio offers help with its materials, e.g. good practice cases, general information on bio-based products and services and tender support. Communication and dissemination of the procurement processes between procurement authorities is fundamental to raise the interest of public procurement practitioners, which are not familiar with sustainable or bio-based procurement.
The InnProBio project therefore provided the tools needed for practitioners to bring the topic of sustainable procurement forward and to help to shift the fossil-based economy to a more bio-based economy.