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UNFPA's Approach to Green Procurement

UN SPHS
UN SPHS

Amelie Mahler, UNFPA's Procurement Assistant has given a presentation on how UNFPA approaches to green and sustainable procurement and the UNFPA eco-condoms pilot project. The presentation was delivered on 11 May 2016 at the dialogue on “Fostering Sustainable Procurement: How Procurers Can Change the Global Health Sector” in UN City Copenhagen.

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UNFPA
Because everyone counts
UNFPA’s Approach to Green
Procurement
Amelie Mahler
Procurement Assistant
Procurement Services Branch
Copenhagen
High UN commitment
Ban Ki-moon, NY, June 2007:
SDG 12.7
Green Procurement
Collaboration Model
UNFPA Procurement
 Every year UNFPA buys around 742.881.456 condoms and is the together with USAID
the world largest public condom procurer
Eco-Condoms Pilot Project:
Manufacturing Stage
 Training
 Environmental Criteria in Bidding Process
• ISO 14001 certification
• Waste water treatment
• Air pollution
• Plan for saving energy and using renewable
energy
• Packaging
Results: Manufacturing Stage

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UNFPA's Approach to Green Procurement

Editor's Notes

  1. In 2007 Ban Ki-moon pronounced this sentence “make the UN more climate friendly and environmentally sustainable “ and following this commitment, a number of key initiatives related to climate neutrality and sustainability have taken place. We have questioned ourselves in PSB how can we become more green? And we have agreed that this is a priority for us but that it should be done little by little. We cannot put very strict measures to our suppliers and pretend that they will be able to comply in a few months time. It is a process with high compromise from the UN as a whole. The importance of sustainable public procurement is also reinforced by SDG 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.
  2. In 2013 UNFPA developed a Green Procurement Strategy. Suppliers were engaged in UNFPA’s green procurement collaboration model from day one. The purpose of the collaboration model is for UNFPA and suppliers to jointly work in a partnership towards reducing the environmental footprint of the operations performed. This collaboration will offer opportunities for both parties to learn from each other and improve our operations together. The collaboration model consists of seven steps and is based on a close collaboration between UNFPA and our suppliers. Each step in the model will require involvement and efforts by both parties. Inform and update on overall goals for UNFPA Green Procurement: UNFPA will enter into dialogue with stakeholders, including suppliers, and inform and continuously update them on the overall goals for Green Procurement. UNFPA will also continuously seek input from all stakeholders to further develop and improve the Green Procurement Policy. Alignment of application of focus areas – long-term: Based on the stakeholder dialogue about the overall focus areas and the scope of application, the supplier should obtain alignment of the application of the focus areas in a way that reduces its environmental footprint to a level that satisfies compliance with UNFPA’s long-term goals for green procurement. Alignment of Green Procurement Policy: Based on stakeholder dialogue and alignment of long-term focus areas, short-term goals must be formulated to meet the requirements of the Green Procurement Policy. Initiatives and targets must be at a level that satisfies compliance with UNFPA’s short term goals for green procurement. Alignment of application of focus areas – short-term: Based on the Green Procurement Policy for supplier segments, UNFPA and the supplier should obtain alignment of the application of the focus areas in a way that reduces the environmental footprint of the supplier to a level that satisfies compliance with UNFPA’s short-term goals for green procurement. Execution of initiatives: Based on the commitment made by the supplier regarding application of the Green Procurement Policy, the supplier should define and execute an action plan so it can become compliant with UNFPA’s long- and short-term goals for green procurement and can reduce its environmental footprint. UNFPA will maintain a dialogue with the supplier throughout this process. Obtaining assurance of compliance: UNFPA will obtain assurance of the supplier’s compliance to the requirements set out by UNFPA. UNFPA will continuously monitor the results of the performed assurance activities and will take necessary measures if required. Capacity Building and improvements: Throughout the process, UNFPA and the supplier mutually collect experiences from the work and develop suggestions for improvement. These will be continuously implemented in to the operating model.
  3. We started a ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ Training program that started with a three day workshop and is now continued with conference call sessions. The main purpose is joint learning. By building country teams, suppliers are more willing to share experiences and learn from each other. We included environmental criteria in our bidding process and our Long Term Agreements with suppliers: The factory should be ISO 14001 certified, (Environmental management systems). In our bid 2013, it was stated that if the factory does not have ISO14001 certification, they had to agree to work on obtaining ISO14001 within the next 36 months. We just had a new bidding round and 90% of manufacturers who participated in the bid are ISO14001 certified. This means it is certified that they have an environmental policy, that they comply with local laws and that they are working on reducing their environmental impact.   Other requirements which we included: The factory should analyze its waste water handling system and prepare a plan for improving the treatment of waste water where practicable.   The factory should analyze its discharges to atmosphere, and prioritize any possible improvements, and prepare a plan for reducing emissions where practicable.   The factory must document a long-term plan for saving energy and using renewable energy, and demonstrate any recent energy saving developments. Some bonus points will be awarded to factories using renewable energy.   All cardboard and outer boxes must be FSC or equivalent marked/certified. Eliminated plastic foil on the inner packs: Initially manufacturers were against eliminating plastic foil on the inner packs (so-called gross pack of condoms). We discussed it and introduced it in 2014 as a pilot. UNFPA got mixed results, but generally good reviews from testing labs and end-consumers. We discussed going back to the old packs, but manufacturers had really adapted well to the new packs and were certainly not interested in returning. This is a good example of a real win-win: manufacturers’ save lots of money and time, the environment save plastic garbage, the cardboard boxes can be recycled, less plastic to be transported around the world on container ships, etc.  
  4. Current shelf-life for condoms is 5 years. Unfortunately, the distribution pipeline can be longer than we would like. Some products are discarded as they approach their expiry date. A modest increase in shelf life SHOULD reduce the wastage of products in this way Our study wanted to find you if the current products actually last longer than 5 years? – Products that were between 6.6 and 9.1 years and stored in warm temperate conditions were tested. All condom tested continued to pass the ISO requirements by a wide margin. UNFPA specifies a square or circular pack A square Al foil pack requires a lot of energy-intensive materials, and is difficult to recycle Moving from a square to the smallest practical size of rectangular pack would save about 40% of materials, and shipping volume (?35%) BUT more pressure on condoms especially ring in rectangular packs Quality tests showed that performance can be the same for square and rectangular packs We initiated studies which were presented at ISO Standard meeting for condoms (ISO TC157) and research is going on.