bluesign recognized for public procurement
July 3, 2023
Now that the impact of past and present business and manufacturing practices on the local and global environment is becoming more and more apparent, governments and public authorities are trying to lead by example and change to green public procurement (GPP) practices for large volumes of goods (and services) they purchase. The EU Green Deal will further drive this trend in the EU.
The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles emphasizes that public authorities should drive the development of more sustainable textiles and circular business models and should aim to reduce the environmental impact of textiles when making public purchases. It is necessary to expand and enhance the implementation of socially responsible and sustainable criteria in public textile procurement to prevent market fragmentation. Moreover, there is a call to include social enterprises in public tenders to promote their participation and contribution (1).
The EU's rules and requirements for public procurement are defined in Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014. Label requirements specified in Article 43 stipulate open, transparent and comprehensible processes for creating, revising and applying label criteria. The EU directives and laws are implemented by the member countries in national law, in Germany for example by the German Federal Regulation on the Award of Public Contracts (VgV).
In Germany, the "Step-by-Step Plan to increase sustainable procurement” for textiles by authorities and governmental institutions came into force on March 15, 2023. With a high procurement volume, the public sector is a big lever for textile procurement in Germany. With the step-by-step plan, the German government sets for the first-time annual targets for sustainable textile procurement. In doing so, the German government sends a strong signal for sustainable procurement in the textile sector and is helping to ensure that sustainability becomes the standard in the awarding of contracts. The share of sustainably sourced textiles is to be successively increased to at least 50 percent by 2026 (2) (3).
For the latest revision of the bluesign® CRITERIA, bluesign applied a stakeholder engagement process and invited more than 500 stakeholders to participate in the consultation process. This stakeholder involvement provided valuable feedback for criteria revision and insights into the needs of different stakeholder groups, thereby contributing to the continual improvement of the bluesign® SYSTEM.
Due to our work with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) bluesign is recognized since 2022 for public procurement on EU level as well as on national level by member countries such as Germany or Sweden. Since December 2022 bluesign is furthermore recognized under the Green Button 2.0. The Green Button is a German governmental meta-label owned by BMZ/GIZ for sustainable textiles and holds significant importance for public procurement.
Siegelklarheit rates bluesign® PRODUCT as “very good choice” to meet particularly high requirements in the areas of credibility and sustainability. Siegelklarheit is an initiative of the German Federal Government to help consumers find their way through the multitude of labels they encounter every day, to find credible labels for sustainable purchasing decisions (5).
“We are pleased to learn that the German authorities now recognize the bluesign® SYSTEM as a qualifier for Green Public Procurement. For Gore, this milestone is further proof for the science based, profound and pragmatic approach of the bluesign® SYSTEM, which will help transform and strengthen the segment of consumer and technical protective apparel in the textile industry. This is strong support for Gore´s efforts to provide high performance protective fabrics to professionals in public safety, security, and workwear with the least environmental footprint. We are confident that the German example will be acknowledged in textile procurement throughout the EU,“ says Kilian Hochrein, W.L. Gore & Associates.
“Public procurement of textile articles is a large market (workwear for fire fighters, police forces, the military, bed linens for hospitals, etc.) and governments will increasingly focus on the procurement of sustainable textiles. Governmental bodies should be a forerunner, and in some countries, there are already commitments to achieve a certain level of sustainable textiles in procurement decisions. We are proud that the bluesign system is now accepted as a qualifier. That´s important for public sector bodies because with our label a wide range of textile articles with high technical performance will now be accepted,” says Fabian Walda, Head of Sustainability Services at bluesign® ACADEMY.
bluesign is proud to further contribute to the sustainable production of textiles in manufacturing countries and improve consumer safety for public servants and other people using publicly procured textiles.