The city of Ludwigsburg in Germany has a sustainable development strategy that includes the use of procurement to achieve its sustainability goals, instructing all public procurement departments to follow “Cradle to Cradle” principles in their procurement and awarding criteria.
In this context, the city wanted to award a new two-year framework agreement for office stationery and office material to fulfil the demand in all public administration departments as well as all schools, day care centres, and public companies. A list of 38 product groups and 295 individual products was defined with ambitious sustainability criteria. For products where no clear sustainable option was available on the market, bidders had to fill in a product declaration, which is guided by Cradle to Cradle principles. This approach encouraged suppliers whose products could comply with some sustainability criteria, even though no certification is available.
Sustainability criteria of the tenders include circularity in aspects such as material cycle, and take-back and reuse schemes.
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For this framework procurement, green criteria were included both in the technical specifications and in the award criteria. Bidders found the sustainability criteria challenging to fulfil with their own product range and included new products specifically for this tender.
The tender was awarded to Lyreco, which commissioned the development of a new product that adhered to higher sustainability standards (a sticky note cube that complies with “Blauer Engel” certification) to become eligible. The City of Ludwigsburg observed that the market was made more aware of concepts such as “Cradle to Cradle” thanks to the bidders’ declaration that had to be included for some products.