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Firms face 'green test' if bidding for State contracts

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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Firms tendering for State contracts will have to show how climate friendly their goods and services are before getting a shot at receiving taxpayers' money.

A new 'Green Public Procurement' policy is being rolled out so Government departments and public bodies will have to assess the environmental credentials of suppliers.

This will happen, along with value-for-money considerations, before signing on the dotted line.

With €12bn worth of State spending up for grabs by companies each year, the move is seen as a way of encouraging the private sector to improve its performance on climate action.

However, officials will still have wide discretion to decide how relevant environmental considerations are to any given contract and price will remain the key influence.

A circular issued by the Office of Government Procurement states: "The appropriateness of including environmental measures in public procurement projects will vary from contract to contract and is primarily a matter for individual contracting authorities."

It continues that green criteria should be considered where "the cost can be met within a department's existing budget without impacting on service delivery".

An advisory group is being set up to examine the issue and may recommend issuing more precise instructions in future. In the meantime, as of next year, each Government department will have to report annually on progress on green public procurement.

Irish Independent