Report lca tools for sustainable procurement final 20100331


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Report lca tools for sustainable procurement final 20100331

  1. 1. LCA related sources and instruments in Sustainable Procurement Criteria Niels Jonkers, Eszter Tóth, Ckees van Oijen Amsterdam, 31 March 2010 IVAM research and consultancy on sustainability Plantage Muidergracht 14 - 1018 TV Amsterdam - Postbus 18180 - 1001 ZB Amsterdam Tel. 020-525 5080, Fax 020-525 5850, internet:, e-mail:
  2. 2. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA Colofon ISO Doc. nr. 1024o Titel LCA related sources and instruments in Sustainable Procurement Criteria Auteur(s) N. Jonkers Interne review door C. van Oijen Deze rapportage is tot stand gekomen /Onderzoek uitgevoerd in opdracht van Agentschap NL Contactpersonen opdrachtgever: Nico van den Berg (Agentschap NL) Voor meer informatie over deze rapportage kunt u contact opnemen met: Niels Jonkers, of 020-525 5080 Gegevens uit deze rapportage mogen worden overgenomen mits onder uitdrukkelijke bronvermelding. IVAM UvA B.V. aanvaardt geen aansprakelijkheid voor eventuele schade voortvloeiend uit het gebruik van de resultaten van dit onderzoek of de toepassing van de adviezen. 1
  3. 3. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY Inhoud 1. Introduction 4 1.1 Background 4 1.2 Goal of the project 4 2. Methods 5 2.1 Reference list 5 2.2 Evaluation matrix for instruments and tools 6 2.3 National and international trends 6 3. Results 7 3.1 Reference list 7 3.2 Evaluation matrix for instruments and tools 7 3.2.1 Description of the matrix 7 3.2.2 Use of LCA-based instruments in criteria 8 3.2.3 Usability of new LCA-based instruments in criteria 9 3.2.4 Possible pitfalls for the use of LCA-based instruments in criteria 11 3.3 National and international trends 11 3.3.1 Harmonisation of LCA in Dutch building sector 11 3.3.2 Comparing international Environmental assessment methods for buildings - BRE 12 3.3.3 Scoping Study on Sustainable Procurement Tools and Databases - Defra 12 3.3.4 Taking Green Procurement to the next level - SEMCo 13 3.3.5 Green Public Procurement in the EU - PwC 14 3.3.6 EU-project: Carbon Footprint tool for European Ecolabels 15 3.3.7 International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook 16 3.3.8 Directive on renewable energy sources 16 4. Conclusions and recommendations 18 References 21 2
  5. 5. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY 1. Introduction 1.1 Background Since 2010, the national government aims to take sustainability into account in 100% of its procurement. To put this sustainable procurement of products and services into practice, Agentschap NL has facilitated the development of sustainability criteria for a number of product groups, commissioned by the Ministry of Environment (VROM) (Agentschap NL, 2010). General principles set up by VROM for these criteria documents are to use Life Cycle Thinking as the approach to environmental criteria, and to prevent resolving one environmental problem by creating another one elsewhere in the life cycle (shifting of burdens). In addition, the criteria should be as transparent and verifiable as possible (VROM, 2009). A tool that can contribute to the fulfillment of these principles is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). However, the performance of an LCA is a laborious task requiring extensive expertise, and does not seem to fulfill the Ministry’s requirement of ‘proportionality’, stating that a reasonable degree of ambition should be proportional to the effort needed to fulfill this ambition. In addition, a general aim of the government is to decrease the bureaucratic and administrative workload for companies (VROM, 2009). For these reasons, Agentschap NL has special interest in the use of LCA-based calculation tools, in which the advantages of the holistic Life Cycle Approach of LCA can be combined with user-friendliness. In an LCA-tool, the user does not need LCA-expertise, but should only provide input on parameters such as energy and material use and waste generation, and the tool uses pre-calculated LCA scenarios to determine the environmental profile of a product or service. 1.2 Goal of the project The general question in the current project is: what is the role of LCA-based evaluation tools in (the development of) Sustainable Procurement criteria? Specifically, Agentschap NL has asked IVAM to first produce a reference list and characterization of all the literature and other sources used in the existing Sustainable Procurement criteria documents. Next an overview and description was made of a number of LCA-based tools which are or may be used in the criteria. Finally, the national and international developments in this field are highlighted. The deliverables in the project are the following: (1) An Excel list with the inventory of all literature and other sources used in the existing sustainable procurement criteria documents (versions of July 2009). The list includes a categorization of the references on accessibility and usability (2) An Excel matrix providing descriptions and characterization of LCA-based evaluation instruments which are mentioned or used in the criteria documents, or may be used in the future (3) A short report on the current national and international developments concerning the development of LCA-tools and their application in sustainable procurement (this report). (4) A presentation for the ‘sustainable procurement department’ of Agentschap NL on the results of the project 4
  6. 6. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA 2. Methods 2.1 Reference list A list was assembled in Excel with an inventory of all literature and other sources used in the sustainable procurement criteria documents. The versions used were from July 2009. Since then updated versions have been published, but the updates concerned mainly improvements in layout and not changes in the criteria themselves. Therefore, the reference list produced in this project is still up-to-date. A total of 52 criteria documents have been studied, concerning 45 product groups. In addition to the sources in the reference lists, (for the documents on building construction and civil works product groups) sources mentioned in footnotes and (clear) literature references in the texts were included in the reference list. References to CPV-codes or legislation, norms and standards are not included. In the reference list, the following characterization of the sources is included: (1) Title of the source (2) Product group and criteria document (3) Type of source (article, book, brochure, database, directive, report, website, etc) (4) Source (name of website, journal) (5) Public accessibility (free; free with license/costs; confidential) (6) Keywords/subject (7) Context/background (project, policy, legislation, company) Due to time constraints, not all of the references could be characterized completely. For product groups or sources that were considered less important, the Context, Keywords and Source have not been specified. The following types of sources were considered as specifically important for the current project: -sources mentioned in more than one product group -sources concerning sustainability evaluation instruments (LCA, LCC, Cost Benefit Analysis, models, etc) -sources on (eco)labels or certificates -sources with international reputation -sources with important general guidelines/advice from authoritative organizations The following product groups received specific attention, as LCA-based tools are likely to exist for these types of products: -Groenvoorzieningen (Green spaces) -Kantoorgebouwen (beheer en onderhoud; huur en aankoop; nieuwbouw; renovatie) (Office buildings: management & maintenance, rental & purchase, renovation, to be newly built) -Bouw/sloop (Construction Works, Demolition of buildings) -Kunstwerken & Waterbouwkundige constructies (Hydraulic engineering constructions) -Conserveringswerken (Preservation works) -Gemalen (Pumping stations) -Wegen (Roads) -Openbare verlichting (Public lighting) -Grondwerken bouwrijp maken en sanering/bodemreiniging (Earthworks, preparation of building sites & remediation, soil decontamination) -Waterzuiveringsinstallaties, slibbehandeling (Water purification & sludge treatment plants) 5
  7. 7. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY 2.2 Evaluation matrix for instruments and tools In order to give some insight into the potential of LCA-based instruments for application in sustainable procurement criteria, a matrix was produced in which a large number of existing instruments were listed and characterized. This matrix should allow developers in the future to evaluate the current possibilities and limitations of the instruments, and to judge if an instrument could be suitable to incorporate into a specific criterion. Both instruments mentioned in the criteria documents, used in the criteria, and found in other sources are considered. In addition to purely LCA-based instruments, also instruments in which the life cycle approach plays a major role are evaluated, e.g. Ecolabels and guidelines. The following aspects of the instruments have been characterized: a. Field of application (product group, material, work or service) b. Background of the instrument (developer, methodological background e.g. LCA, Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), ecolabel) c. Database used, organization responsible for database d. Accessibility of instrument e. Subject of the instrument (what is evaluated?) f. Is the evaluation qualitative or quantitative? g. Unit of the result h. Environmental effects considered in the instrument i. Role of LCA in the instrument j. Limitations of the instrument k. Procurement phase in which instrument can be used l. Is the instrument usable for more product groups? m. Reference The main sources used for the description of the instruments were the websites of the instrument and manuals. In some cases, not enough information on the instrument was available to fill in the matrix completely. Due to time constraints, instruments that were identified in the final stage of the project were not fully characterized either. 2.3 National and international trends To give an indication of national and international trends in the development and application of LCA- based instruments a (limited) amount of international reports on the subject were reviewed and IVAM colleagues were consulted. 6
  8. 8. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA 3. Results 3.1 Reference list The inventory of literature and other sources from all criteria documents resulted in a list of almost 700 references. Around 80 references were mentioned in more than one document. The amount of references in the documents varies between 4 and 45, with an average of 15. There is no clear relation between the amount of literature used and the amount of criteria formulated. The clarity and completeness of the references is also variable between documents. Most of the mentioned references are websites, some of which are no longer available. Most of the references are freely accessible; for some of the instruments, norms or standards, a licence or fee must be paid. In general the traceability of the reference is good, but in a number of cases the reference is vague, e.g. referring to the general website of a ministry instead of a specific page or document on the site. Scientific publications are found only sporadically in the references. Most of the references (>80%) are not LCA-related. In 10 product groups, LCA-based instruments are mentioned in the references. In 22 product groups, instruments like (eco)labels or certification schemes are mentioned. 23 product groups contain references to official guidelines or toolboxes. In the separate Excel-file containing the reference list, sources related to LCA have been marked in green. Those references have also been listed in an extra worksheet. Product groups marked orange were considered as the most relevant for the current project and have been studied in more detail. Cells marked in blue indicate that the list of sources is identical to those of an other criteria document. 3.2 Evaluation matrix for instruments and tools 3.2.1 Description of the matrix The instrument evaluation matrix is provided in a separate Excel-file, in which a total of 101 instruments are listed. The instruments mentioned in the criteria documents (43 in total) are listed first and are marked green. The instruments are divided into 3 categories: 1. Instruments for the procurement of specific products/services: LCA-related instruments 2. Instruments related to (eco)labels and certificates 3. Instruments related to official guidelines, toolboxes and management systems Of the instruments mentioned in the criteria documents, 12 belong to the first category. 15 instruments related to ecolabels were mentioned in the criteria documents, and most of the mentioned instruments were of the third category (23 instruments). 7
  9. 9. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY In all of the criteria documents, at least one type of instrument is mentioned. All of the instruments found in the criteria documents are characterized in the matrix. However, due to time constraints, not all of the additional instruments that were found are fully characterized. In an additional worksheet of the Excel-file, an overview is given of which instruments are mentioned in which criteria documents. 3.2.2 Use of LCA-based instruments in criteria The Life Cycle Approach is present in most of the instruments in the evaluation matrix, albeit in different forms. For complex products such as buildings or construction works, instruments make use of full LCA calculations, and often even additional sustainability aspects such as safety or future value. For less complex products, instruments like Ecolabels are often used. In these labels, often requirements for toxic ingredients reduction, biodegradability, renewability of resources or requirements for waste treatment/recycling are included, which are part of the Life Cycle Approach. In for example the product groups “Papier” (paper), (cleaning products in) “Schoonmaak” (cleaning services) and (lubricants in) “Vaartuigen” (vessels), sustainable procurement criteria are based on Ecolabels (although the Ecolabel itself is not a requirement, it can be accepted as proof of compliance). Instruments such as guidelines or toolboxes are often mentioned in the criteria documents of product groups related to services, such as maintenance. The Life Cycle Approach in this third category of instruments is expressed in check lists addressing the origin of raw materials or waste treatment. Of the LCA-based instruments mentioned in the criteria documents, only a few are actually used in the criteria. In the criteria for “Renovatie Kantoorgebouwen” (office renovations) and “Nieuw te bouwen kantoorgebouwen” (newly built offices) criteria are set for minimum scores in one of the tools GPR- Gebouw or GreenCalc+, with ‘bonus points’ given when the score is better than the minimum requirement. GPR-Gebouw and GreenCalc+ are also mentioned in the criteria document for “Kantoorgebouwen Beheer en Onderhoud” (maintenance of office buildings), but are not in the actual criteria of that product group. In the criteria for “Kunstwerken” (infrastructural works) and “Waterbouwkundige Constructies” (water works), and “Wegen” (roads), a “gunningscriterium” (‘bonus criterion’) is formulated in which a non- specified score in an LCA analysis is required to score ‘bonus points’ (the specification is left to the judgment of the user). The criteria suggest to use the LCA-based tool DuboCalc for this purpose. Although the LCA-based instruments are used in criteria for only 3 product groups, the instruments are mentioned in 5 other documents as well, which indicates their potential for further use. These product groups all concern more complex products such as buildings and construction works. Instruments of category 2 (ecolabels etc.) are incorporated more often into the actual criteria. Especially energy labels or energy certificates are regularly required for energy consuming equipment or for buildings. However, this is not always done in a consistent way. One reason for this is probably that the product groups covered by an energy label are limited, so the label cannot be used for all sustainable procurement product groups. In the product groups “Hardware”, “Netwerken/telefonie” (networks/ telephone services) and “Reproductieapparatuur” (reproduction equipment), an Energy Star label is in the criteria, but for the product group “Grootkeukenapparatuur” (catering equipment) the criteria document mentions that the requirements for an Energy Star label are often not ambitious enough, and therefore it is not used, and a 8
  10. 10. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA different maximum energy use is defined as criterion. In the criteria document for “Audiovisuele apparatuur” (audiovisual equipment), the Energy Star label is not mentioned at all, but energy consumption requirements are based on norms of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Energy consumption requirements for “Openbare verlichting” (public lighting) are defined as a minimum label D in the “Handleiding Energielabeling Openbare Verlichting”, as developed by Agentschap NL and the “Nederlandse Stichting Voor Verlichtingskunde” (NSVV). The label is based on an international norm called SLEEC (Street Lighting Energy Efficiency Criterion, EN13201-5). In the product group “Huur en aankoop kantoorgebouwen” (office buildings purchase & rental), an energy label C or better is a requirement. This label is based on the “Besluit Energieprestatie van Gebouwen (BEG)”. A requirement for lamps in that product group is a light efficiency of 50 lumen/Watt (apparently not based on any label). For the related product groups “Renovatie Kantoorgebouwen” (office renovations) and “Nieuw te bouwen kantoorgebouwen” (newly built offices), energy consumption requirements are indirectly set with the required scores for the “sustainability of a building” tools GreenCalc+ or GPR-Gebouw. For “Dienstauto’s” (cars), an energy label (A or B, sometimes C) is required based on the “Nederlandse besluit etikettering energiegebruik personenauto’s”, which is in turn based on the European Directive 1999/94/EC. 3.2.3 Usability of new LCA-based instruments in criteria Some general requirements can be formulated for the use of LCA-based instruments in sustainable procurement criteria. First, the evaluated product or service should have a significant environmental impact. A recent European study called “Environmental Impact of Products” (EIPRO, 2006) gives some insight into the relative impacts of products in LCA terms. The objective of this project was to identify those products that have the greatest environmental impact throughout their life-cycle, from cradle to grave, based on a life-cycle analysis of the products consumed in the European Union by private households and the public sector. Three product groups were identified as having the greatest environmental impact: • food and drink • private transport • housing These three areas are of approximately equal importance, and together are responsible for 70–80% of the environmental impact of consumption. Within the area of food and drink, meat and meat products are the most important, followed by dairy products. Within transport, the greatest impact is caused by cars, despite major improvements in the environmental performance in recent years, especially on air emissions. The products within ‘housing’ include buildings, furniture, domestic appliances, and energy for purposes such as room and water heating. Energy use is the single most important factor, mainly for room and water heating, followed by structural work (new construction, maintenance, repair, and demolition). The next important products are energy-using domestic appliances, e.g. refrigerators and washing machines. For the remaining product groups investigated, uncertainties are higher, but most of the evidence suggests that clothing ranks highest, accounting for 2-10% of total environmental impact. 9
  11. 11. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY A second rationale to justify development or implementation of LCA-based tools is that the product or service to be evaluated is relatively complex: it should not be immediately obvious which choice is the most environmentally benign. For simple products, instruments of the Ecolabel type are more suitable, such as the Euro classification for cars, or the Energy Star label. In contrast, for a product such as weed control (product group “Reiniging openbare ruimte”), it is not immediately obvious if chemical techniques (using herbicides such as glyphosate) or mechanical or thermal methods (e.g. brushing or burning) have the lowest environmental impact. The comparison between the ecotoxicological effects of the chemicals and climate change effects of the fuel consumption can be modeled with LCA techniques. The result will depend on a number of parameters on consumption amounts, desired weed control quality of the area to be treated, and local circumstances such as the nearness of surface water. Currently, the criterion for weed control in the product group “Reiniging openbare ruimte” is based on a qualitative instrument: the guideline “Duurzaam OnkruidBeheer op verhardingen (DOB)”. A third factor (related to the second) which justifies the use of LCA-based instruments is when complex products must be compared, but a clear quantitative unit is not available. Buildings are a good example, as the sustainability of a building cannot be simply expressed in terms of energy or material use. Most of the LCA-based tools listed in the evaluation matrix also take into account aspects such as safety or future value of a building. The result of calculations with such a tool can simplify comparisons or ranking of buildings. Based on these considerations, the following recommendations for the use of LCA-based instruments in the criteria can be made: • the building sector perfectly fits the requirements for the use of LCA-based tools in criteria. In this sector, the use of LCA-tools is already common practice. • in the transport sector, current criteria use Euro classification for vehicles. However, it does not prescribe which transport system should be used for which purpose (an exception is the product group “Dienstreizen”). A tool which calculates the total emissions of a company that uses a relatively complex combination of transport systems (e.g. a post delivery company) could rank different companies, and set targets to motivate companies to use the most environmentally benign transport method for each specific service. This instrument could have the form of a carbon footprint tool, as the environmental effects would be caused almost exclusively by fuel consumption. • as the food and drink sector has one of the highest contributions to the total environmental impact of products, and the product group is very complex, an LCA-tool addressing this product group can be considered. A number of instruments in the form of labels exist for this product group, focusing mainly on Fair Trade or biological production. However, more quantitative (LCA-based) tools for this sector are not known. A first step in the direction of such a tool is the recently developed “Vleeswijzer”, which gives both a CO2 emission score and an animal welfare score for different types of meat (Vleeswijzer, 2009). Currently, the criterion in the product group “Catering” is that 40% of the assortment must be biological products (as defined in EU-regulation nr. 834/2007), and that at least one other criterion is fulfilled from a list of various criteria on animal welfare, energy consumption or transport distance. Some of these ‘optional’ criteria could be quantified with LCA-based tools, which would allow a more objective comparison of e.g. vegetables produced in a Dutch greenhouse (large energy consumption) or in Spain (large transport distance). It is clear that not all aspects of sustainability could be modeled with an LCA-based tool: e.g. animal welfare or the consequences of the use of genetically modified organisms cannot be quantified in LCA terms. 10
  12. 12. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA • for weed control (product group “Reiniging openbare ruimte”), the existing quantitative LCA-tool would give a more transparent and objective evaluation of different weed control methods than the current qualitative criterion (the DOB guideline) does. • waste treatment is a topic that has been extensively modeled in the LCA society. In procurement procedures related to biowaste, an LCA-based tool called the “CO2-reductie composteren en vergisten van gft-afval”-model which calculates CO2 emissions of various biowaste processing methods is used by several municipalities in the Netherlands to evaluate tenders by competing biowaste processors. In the current sustainable procurement criteria, waste treatment is addressed in many product groups, but no consistent approach is taken. A possibility would be to link the criteria for waste treatment to the LCA calculations done within the framework of the MER-LAP (Landelijk Afvalbeheerplan), in which minimum environmental standards were defined for the processing of many types of waste (VROM, 2002). These data could be transformed into a generic tool for waste treatment applicable to all product groups. • Life Cycle Costing is a relatively new development within the LCA community. As sustainability also comprises optimization of the ‘profit’ side of a product, it may be considered to include this type of tool in the sustainable procurement criteria. A first example is the “afwegingsmodel wegen”, in which a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach is part of the assessment/evaluation. 3.2.4 Possible pitfalls for the use of LCA-based instruments in criteria The use of LCA-based instruments in the criteria has some possible drawbacks. First, certain specific qualitative sustainability aspects which are not well addressed in the LCA methodology may be ‘forgotten’. Secondly, when a sustainability criterion is simplified to a certain minimum score in a tool, it becomes unclear how this score is reached. While this gives the applicant/supplier more freedom to incorporate sustainability in the way they see fit (a possible advantage), this may reduce the procurer’s control over and insight in the sustainability of a product. For example, the tool GPR-Gebouw: gives a broad overview of the environmental performance of a building, but less insight into what a good score means: is a good score for Environment due to material use or due to waste treatment? The weighting of different sustainability indicators is left entirely to the instrument/ tool maker. 3.3 National and international trends The following is a discussion of some current trends in the field of development and implementation of LCA-based tools. As only limited time was devoted to this part of the study, the overview is only meant to show some examples of current activities in the field, and is far from complete. 3.3.1 Harmonisation of LCA in Dutch building sector An important national trend concerning the various LCA-based tools in the building sector is the current progress towards harmonization of these tools. This harmonization occurs at several levels. First, the developers of the tools (a.o. GreenCalc, EcoQuantum, GPR Gebouw and DuboCalc) collaborated in 2007/2008 on a common manual for evaluation of environmental performance of buildings by means of LCA (IVAM, 2007). A next (ongoing) step is the development of a harmonized database containing environmental data on materials and building components, which will be used as input for all instruments. Maintenance and updating of the database will be centrally organized. The following instruments will make use of the harmonized database: GreenCalc, EcoQuantum, GPR Gebouw, DuboCalc and BREEAM-NL. 11
  13. 13. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY Parties involved in this harmonization project are: Dutch Green Building Council, Stichting MRPI/NVTB, Rijkswaterstaat, W/E adviseurs, NIBE, IVAM, Onderzoeksinstituut OTB (TU Delft) and VROM/WWI. Additional harmonization activities are focusing on the unit of comparison in order to be able to compare the environmental performance of different types of building, for example a flat with a bungalow. Finally, more harmonization is still needed on the weighting of scores for different environmental impact categories to arrive at one final score. Some instruments use the Distance-to-Target method (how far is an environmental effect away from the policy goal), while other instruments use a monetarization method (costs of an environmental effect). 3.3.2 Comparing international Environmental assessment methods for buildings - BRE In a recent report by BRE, some of the internationally best-known methodologies for assessing the sustainability of buildings are compared (Saunders, 2008). The methods include BREEAM (UK), LEED (USA), Green Star (Australia) and CASBEE (Japan). Both LEED and Green Star were originally based on BREEAM, and diverged somewhat from it in later versions. CASBEE has independent origins and focuses strongly on issues which are of particular importance in Japan, such as earthquake resistance. The main finding is that the application of sustainability assessment methods in countries other than where they were designed does not function well. A high variation exists between the systems for the same “grade”, for example between BREEAM ‘Excellent’, LEED ‘Platinum’ and Green Star ‘Six Stars‘. In general, the systems give the lowest scores to buildings in the model’s country of origin, and higher scores to foreign buildings. These differences can be partly explained by the fact that each system relies on local regulatory minima to achieve certain aspects of performance. These aspects are therefore omitted from the grading as they are taken as a ‘given’. In other countries, regulations are different, and certain important sustainability features may be completely missed in the evaluation. Buildings might be awarded much higher ratings than they deserve when compared to other buildings that merely follow local regulations, guidelines and standard practice. Multinational building corporations are using sustainability evaluation systems regularly, but usually base the choice of a system on the location of their corporate headquarters. In order to improve international comparability of buildings, harmonization of the models is needed. More transparency will allow better comparison of the relative merits of each system which will help to promote the sharing of best practice. Facilitating this should therefore be a key future role for an independent body such as the World Green Building Council working closely with all scheme operators. Such an organization should work towards: the development of a set of standards which exclude as much ‘home territory regulatory effects’ as possible to facilitate comparison improve communication between the various scheme operators, to facilitate sharing of best practices and setting key common minimum standards dual or multi certification to allow multinational companies to demonstrate the environmental performance of their buildings in the countries in which they are based and compare more easily with the buildings they occupy overseas 3.3.3 Scoping Study on Sustainable Procurement Tools and Databases - Defra In 2009, the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published a study reviewing the currently available Sustainable Procurement Tools and Databases (Defra, 2009). First, a literature search was done to make an inventory of what is currently available for public-sector procurers. 12
  14. 14. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA Then, procurement experts were consulted to find out which tools they actually use, and what aspects and functionality they find useful, and what else might be required. The report reviewed, assessed and categorized 78 instruments. Many of the tools reviewed consisted of general guidance, flow diagrams/procedural guidance and risk assessments. To a lesser extent, tools were found that provided product specifications. The main gaps appear to be on whole-life costing and life cycle assessment, or other similar quantitative analysis. Although such tools do exist, many of them only provide the background or reasons behind doing whole-life costing, rather than actually assisting the procurer to calculate the costs. The procurement stage in which most tools can be applied was mainly in the middle of the procurement cycle; setting specifications, and then assessing and awarding contracts. This is the phase in which comparisons are undertaken, scoring of competing tenders is made and quantitative analysis can be done. Similar results were found in the current Dutch study, see section 3.2.1. From the (British) user consultation, the following needs were identified: • incorporating life cycle analysis more firmly into tools, to improve in understanding environmental impacts and avoid potential shifting of environmental burdens, • greater understanding and inclusion of whole-life costing in the procurement process, and suitable tools to allow for this, • the efficiency and usefulness of a tool should be measured. • a well-defined, central and stand-alone tool library or gateway, which can be updated when necessary, is required. The library could potentially be tailored to measure tool use frequency, and ‘rating’ • cultural changes are needed: at present sustainability is not fully embedded into the minds of all procurement professionals. In the procurement cycle, it should always be considered that the product or service may not be needed at all. Procurement should not be viewed in two versions (conventional and sustainable); rather, all procurement should inherently be sustainable. It was also mentioned that the British Standards Institute (BSI) is developing a Procurement Standard, BS8903. It will be relevant to public, private and third sector organisations and include case studies and best practice examples. No mention was made of any specific product groups that require more extensive evaluation tools. 3.3.4 Taking Green Procurement to the next level - SEMCo A recent study by the Swedish Environmental Management Council (SEMCo, 2009) reported on their experiences with Green Procurement in Sweden. In recent years, green procurement has emerged as a potentially powerful tool, for gaining environmental and sometimes even cost benefits and to minimize risks, and also driving research into new and innovative technologies. SEMCo develops criteria are for three levels of stringency and ambition: • Level 1: Basic requirements - covering products that fulfill the basic level of environmental performance (somewhat exceeding legal requirements). • Level 2: Advanced requirements - covering products in the best environmental performance quartile (25%), about the same level as current eco-labelling criteria. • Level 3: Spearhead criteria - covering products at the absolute forefront of existing environmental developments/innovations, based, for example, on the concept of Best Available Technology (BAT). Life Cycle Costing is normally included in procurement criteria developed by SEMCo, when found relevant. SEMCo has developed a general tool for LCC calculations based on the net present value method, applicable to most products. LCC calculations are best suited to products with high energy consumption in use, e.g. vehicles, lighting, and office machines, where operating and maintenance costs are relatively high during the product life cycle, and are therefore important to consider in the 13
  15. 15. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY procurement process. It can also be used to estimate how much an environmentally compatible, green alternative would cost in comparison with a conventional product – maybe even resulting in a cost saving rather than an increase. The report stresses that in order for procurement activities to be credible and a driving force in environmental work, the use of environmental criteria should be checked and followed up. It is important to formulate environmental criteria that can be verified and checked, and that purchasers have information on the type of verification to request from suppliers. Too often, the implementation and follow-up of environmental criteria for the contract duration are not handled in a satisfactory way. The documentation for substantiating compliance with requirements in green procurement should be further improved. Environmental management systems (EMSs) focusing on the environmental performance of an organisation and environmental product declarations (EPDs) focusing on the environmental performance of goods and services have considerable potential for greater use in procurement contexts. The use of EMSs in green procurement is generally felt to be problematic, as the demands placed on EMSs in practice usually lack a direct connection to the subject matter of the contract. Many organisations, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that have introduced EMSs for the purpose of gaining a market advantage in public and private procurement activities are disappointed, as the existence of an EMS usually does not lead to the desired positive market effect. EPDs are not commonly used yet as documentation or verification in green procurement. This is partly because not many products have an environmental declarations and partly because of uncertainty regarding the type of information to include in an environmental declaration, whether or not they are available, and which suppliers can actually provide them. The way forward for SEMCo’s work with procurement criteria will take three different paths – simplifying criteria to make them more understandable and useful for a broader audience; continuing quality maintenance and updating of the existing set of criteria; and developing procurement criteria further at different levels of ambition (e.g. ‘spearhead criteria’) – all of which will contribute to transforming the SEMCo procurement criteria “from being as complete as possible to the better practical application”. 3.3.5 Green Public Procurement in the EU - PwC In 2008, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Significant and Ecofys, performed a study in which the current level of Green Public Procurement (GPP) in the seven best performing Member States is monitored by measuring quantitative levels of GPP (numbers and value of “green” contracts as compared to overall number and value of public procurement contracts) and measuring the CO2 and financial impact of GPP (PwC, 2008). This study focused on the Green-7 Member States (most actively involved in GPP, taking the inclusion of environmental criteria in their procurement procedures seriously, both in policy and practice). Within the majority of public institutions, the procurement policy contains an environmental section. Mostly middle management or a higher level is responsible for realizing ambitions on sustainable procurement. It is concluded that in 2006/2007, GPP in the Green-7 has led to average CO2 reductions of 25% and average life cycle cost reductions of around 1%. This means that public purchasers have the possibility to substantially reduce CO2 emissions, without this leading to extra costs of ownership. Although direct purchasing costs are generally increased by GPP, this can be compensated by reductions in operational costs in the long term. 14
  16. 16. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA Although in The Netherlands the level of GPP in terms of procurement value is the lowest of the Green- 7, the CO2 reduction is the highest at 47%. This results from the large amounts of comprehensive green purchases of electricity. In addition, the CO2 impact of textiles, cleaning services and paper are also high in the Netherlands. Regarding to the financial impact of GPP per product group in the Netherlands, positive impacts of paper, textiles and electricity are compensated by the negative impact of cleaning services, construction and transport. As a result, the overall financial impact arrives at a value very close to zero (-0,17%). A general conclusion is that only for the product groups transport, construction and cleaning services, GPP leads to reductions in both the CO2 impact and the financial impact. These are the product groups that public purchasers could focus on when implementing GPP. However, when also taking into account the product groups with the highest CO2 emissions (but where GPP leads to increased costs), construction and electricity are the product groups to focus on. 3.3.6 EU-project: Carbon Footprint tool for European Ecolabels A recent EU-project “EU Ecolabel—the Carbon Footprint Measurement Toolkit” (Service Contract N. 070307/220/486031/SER/G2) aimed at developing and checking a carbon footprint calculator procedure suitable for the evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions as criteria in the EU Ecolabel (Baldo, 2009). The main outcome of the project is a simple, flexible Excel-based preliminary tool, mainly aimed at policy makers. The tool should give the possibility of a multilevel interpretation of the results, and in the definition of rules in order to provide the most suitable and scientifically correct approach for the inclusion of carbon footprint criteria in the EU Ecolabel. The actual tool does not seem to be available yet. In the project, the tool was tested for 5 example products. An example of the results (for the product ‘hard floor coverings’) is shown in the figure below. The tool should be based on a central public database, such as the International Reference Life Cycle Data System, developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. Users and Ecolabel applicants should also have the possibility to add their own data to the system. The responsibility for the functional unit to be considered, the data input and interpretation of the results should lie with the AHWG (ad hoc working group) which is responsible for the revision of the criteria of a specific Ecolabel. Although in this project a step is taken towards the wider application of LCA/carbon footprint in the evaluation and comparison of the sustainability of products, some problems can be identified in the approach. First, no indication is given when a carbon footprint of a product would be useful. This decision will have to be taken for each product separately. Then, at each revision of each Ecolabel, an LCA specialist would have to participate in the AHWG, to address the methodological questions concerning the carbon footprint calculations. Finally, it is not clear what the exact function of the carbon footprint score should be: would it be purely to compare products, or would a criterion be set with a maximum score (and how would that be defined?). For these reasons, it seems that the practical application of the carbon footprint calculator in Ecolabels cannot be expected very soon. 15
  17. 17. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY 3.3.7 International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook In March 2010, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre launched the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook (JRC, 2010). The handbook is a series of technical documents providing detailed guidance on all the steps required to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The Handbook’s main goal is to ensure quality and consistency of life cycle data, methods and assessments. This was inspired by their Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan stating that “..consistent and reliable data and methods are required to assess the overall environmental performance of products..”. Its main target audience is LCA practitioners, data providers, and reviewers. The existing ISO 14040/44 standards for LCA already provide a framework for Life Cycle Assessment. However, the JRC is of the opinion that this framework leaves the practitioner with a too wide range of choices that can change the results and conclusions. The ILCD Handbook will provide more guidance to support consistent and robust results and coherent requirements derived from LCAs, and improve the compatibility and consistency of data generation and reporting requirements. The Handbook also aims to increase stakeholder acceptance of the tool LCA and its results. 3.3.8 Directive on renewable energy sources In the European Commission Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (2009/28/EC, formerly Biofuel Directive, EC, 2009), a target of a 20% share of renewables in final energy consumption for the EU in 2020 has been set (for The Netherlands: 14%). Among the options for renewable energy are biofuels. To determine whether a biofuel can be considered as renewable, environmental sustainability criteria for biofuels and other bioliquids, have been developed (Article 15). For example, the raw materials shall not originate from lands with a “high biodiversity value” or “high carbon stock” (e.g. wetlands, peat land) areas. In addition, the biofuel should lead to greenhouse gas emission savings of at least 35%, compared to its fossil alternative. A calculation tool has been developed to determine the GHG emission savings for various biofuels. An annex lists precalculated CO2-savings for common biofuels, e.g. bio-ethanol, rapeseed biodiesel, palm oil biodiesel and biogas. Then, a calculation method is presented to determine the carbon footprint of other biofuels by considering emissions during the whole life cycle: from emissions in agriculture, processing, transport, land use change, avoided electricity production, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and the use of the fuel. A third Annex presents a database with typical GHG emissions for the various life cycle stages for a number of biofuels. 16
  18. 18. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA Within the framework of the European Ecolabel, discussions are on-going to introduce this type of calculation in the criteria as well, for example in order to quantify the renewability of raw materials for biolubricants. 17
  19. 19. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY 4. Conclusions and recommendations The background literature of all sustainable procurement criteria has been compiled in a reference list, and amounts to around 700 references. Most of the references are not directly LCA related. LCA-based instruments are regularly mentioned in the criteria documents, but are present in the actual criteria in only a few cases (GPR-Gebouw, GreenCalc+, see paragraph 3.2.2). LCA-based instruments are used for complex product groups, such as buildings, where the most sustainable alternative is not obvious. Instruments such as (eco)labels and certificates are found more often in the criteria documents. These instruments refer to more concrete products such as paper or cleaning agents. Instruments of the category ‘guidelines and directives’ are found most often in the criteria documents, and usually focus on services or activities such as maintenance and waste treatment. Overall it can be concluded that although Life Cycle Thinking is present in all sustainable procurement criteria documents, the actual quantitative assessment of sustainability using LCA-based tools is an exception in the criteria. LCA-based tools could be developed further for the complex product groups, where sustainability can be improved in different ways. For buildings, a number of tools are already available, and further harmonization of the tools is in progress. For waste treatment, LCA studies exist, and for specific applications LCA tools have been developed (e.g. a tool for biowaste treatment methods (GFT, 2008), and LCA studies on different collection/treatment options for household waste (IVAM, 2009), and the studies for MER-LAP (2002)). No ready-to-use tool for waste as a whole could be found. For the other more complex product groups, no directly applicable LCA-based tools could be found either (for some specific products within product groups, tools do exist, e.g. such as the Vleeswijzer (2009) within “Catering”). National and international trends show the increase in the use of LCA-based tools (e.g. Carbon Footprint) in Ecolabel criteria and in regulations such as the EU renewable energy directive. Efforts are on-going in the harmonization of tools to arrive at common calculation methods (e.g. Dutch Green Building Council or BREEAM International) and LCA databases (e.g. the EU-JRC International Reference Life Cycle Data System). Recommendations: References References in criteria documents could be structured more clearly. We propose to make different headings for references related to: • Laws, regulations, guidelines and norms • LCA, LCC instruments, Life Cycle Thinking • (eco)labels, certificates In addition, the distinction between types of references can be made more clear: • Literature: articles, books, reports • Instruments, models, tools • Websites of governmental or other institutes, ecolabel agencies, branch organisations, suppliers, contacts with experts References should also be checked for completeness (for example, in criteria document “Nieuw te bouwen kantoorgebouwen”, references to the GPR-Gebouw and GreenCalc+ tools should be included in the reference list). 18
  20. 20. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA Tool evaluation matrix In order to optimize the produced evaluation matrix for LCA-based tools for application by criteria developers, the following improvements are suggested: • Complete the data that is still lacking for the instruments that were described only briefly in the matrix. • Comparability of instruments could be improved by adding menus with a predefined list of possible ‘answers’ for some of the columns (e.g. for ‘type of instrument’ or ‘environmental effect categories addressed’). • More information could be included on the type of user of the instrument (e.g. ‘certified auditor’ or ‘procurer’) and the level of input data needed (e.g.: ‘location visit’, ‘list of materials used’ or ‘check presence of certificate’). • More technical details could be included, such as the system boundaries of the instrument (e.g. the Dutch, European or world market), and representativeness of the data/method. • A column could be added to further specify the type of instrument into the categories ‘LCA-based tools’ ‘Labels and certificates’ and ‘guidelines and toolboxes’, which is now done with different shades of green in the matrix. Also, an additional categorization could be made into the outcome of the instrument: a classification (‘Excellent’, ‘class 7’ or ‘Gold’) a quantitative result ‘tonnes of CO2’ or ‘hectares land use’, or a non-quantitative result (‘the guideline was followed’). • A glossary describing the main concepts (Substance/material flow analysis, Product stewardship,…) and abbreviations (LCC, TCO,…) would be useful for non-expert users. • For some of the toolboxes/guidelines a more in-depth study of the main tools and labels to which those documents refer may give valuable insights (e.g. ‘Toolbox energiebesparing in de GWW- sector’, ‘European Commission Green Public Procurement (GPP) Training Toolkit Purchasing Recommendations’ and “Methodologische gids voor de aankoop (Belgische overheid, 2004)”. Consistency of criteria In the next revision of criteria documents, the consistency between criteria for different product groups can be further improved. Some sustainability aspects that play a role in many criteria documents are: • criteria for vehicles: most criteria documents demand a Euro-4 classification or better, and do not set criteria for “Het Nieuwe Rijden” (as the environmental benefit of the latter guideline has not been proven). This is the case for criteria documents “Post”, “Leerlingenvervoer”, “Aangepast vervoer”, “Verhuisdiensten”, “Beveiliging” and “Dienstauto’s”. However, for product group “Reiniging Bedrijfskleding” transport is discussed in the document, but no criteria have been defined. • energy use requirements of electrical equipment could be more standardized, e.g. according to the Energy Star labeling method. For some product groups (e.g. “Hardware” and “Netwerken”, Energy Star is in the requirements, while for others it is deemed not ambitious enough (“Grootkeukenapparatuur”, see also paragraph 3.2.2). • waste treatment is an issue in virtually all product groups. In only a few criteria documents, a specific criterion is formulated on this aspect (e.g. asphalt granules (teerhoudend asfaltgranulaat) in “Kunstwerken”, “Waterbouwkundige Constructies” and “Wegen”). A general criterion for waste treatment could be formulated e.g. on the basis of the MER-LAP (Landelijk Afvalbeheerplan) LCA studies. • lubricants are used in several product groups (e.g. “Vaartuigen” and “Waterbouwkundige Constructies”). A consistent criterion for the use of (bio)lubricants could be formulated for these product groups. A starting point for such a criterion could be the existing ecolabels for lubricants. 19
  21. 21. IVAM RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY ON SUSTAINABILITY LCA-tools Possible new LCA-based instruments could be developed for the following subjects (see paragraph 3.2.3): • waste treatment techniques • transport methods • weed control • food and drink • Life Cycle Costing The use of instruments by public procurement professionals should be monitored and evaluated, by questionnaires and interviews, to assess which problems the users encounter and what further needs they have. These evaluations can give insight into • the practical problems of finding the right input data for the instruments or with interpretation of the results, • whether any important sustainability issues are left out of the consideration (and additional instruments are needed to quantify them), • whether the instruments improve the freedom of an applicant to apply sustainability as they see fit, or that the instruments have a restrictive effect, • whether the public procurement professional still has insight into the exact contribution of a product/service to sustainability, or that this information remains hidden behind a ‘single score’ (e.g. is it clear if a good score of a building in GPR-Gebouw is because of a low energy consumption or because of the choice for sustainable building materials?) • whether the instrument helps to clearly communicate on the sustainability of a product 20
  22. 22. LCA-BASED INSTRUMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT CRITERIA References Agentschap NL, 2010a Agentschap NL, 2010b Baldo, 2009 Baldo G.L.; Marino, M.; Montani, M.; Ryding S.O. “The carbon footprint measurement toolkit for the EU Ecolabel” Int J Life Cycle Assess (2009) 14:591–596. Defra, 2009 Cadman, J.; Allen, J.; Tahsildar, N.: “Scoping Study on Sustainable Procurement Tools and Databases”, report for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), September 2009. EC, 2009 Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, 23 April 2009. EIPRO, 2006 JRC, “Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO) - Analysis of the life cycle environmental impacts related to the final consumption of the EU-25”, European Commission – JRC (IPTS/ESTO), May 2006. GFT, 2008 IVAM, 2007 Anink, D.; Van Ewijk, H.; Haas, M. “Handleiding Milieuprestaties Gebouwen”, collaborative report IVAM, W/E & NIBE, 2007. IVAM, 2009 Krutwagen, B.; Van Ewijk, H.; Jonkers, N. “Quickscan CO2-effecten inzameling integraal/ deelfracties huishoudelijk afval (kunststof, glas, textiel, papier, gft en hout)” IVAM report 0919, 2009. JRC, 2010 European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment “International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook”, 2010. PwC, 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Collection of statistical information on Green Public Procurement in the EU - Report on data collection results”, PwC, Significant and Ecofys, 2009. Saunders, 2008 Saunders, T. “A discussion document comparing international Environmental assessment methods for buildings.” BRE, 2008. SEMCo, 2009 Swedish Environmental Management Council (SEMCo), “Green Procurement – Taking it to the next level”, SEMCo report 2009:3. Vleeswijzer, 2009 VROM, 2009 VROM informatieblad “Duurzaam Inkopen - Actualisering proces van criteriaontwikkeling”, 2009. VROM, 2002 Ministerie van VROM, “Milieueffectrapport Landelijk Afvalbeheerplan 2002-2012 MER- LAP”, 2002. 21