Big Buyers share key insights on successful collaboration for sustainable procurement

5 November 2020

After one year of collaboration, the public procurers who participated in the three working groups of the Big Buyers Initiative (BBI) presented key takeaways and results at a final event on 23 October. The initiative - consisting of working groups on circular construction materials, zero-emission construction sites and heavy-duty electric vehicles - recently published lessons learned reports on each topic. The reports summarise the main challenges, approaches and outlook for procurement of sustainable solutions in each focus area - including practical case studies and example award criteria.


The zero-emission construction sites and heavy-duty electric vehicles groups also announced upcoming procurement plans and relevant climate targets to signal growing demand for these solutions to the market. Finally, factsheets targeting key stakeholder groups of policymakers, businesses and citizens highlight the principal arguments on lifetime cost savings, CO2 reduction, and local air quality and livability improvement in favour of zero-emission construction machinery.

BBI members from cities and central purchasing bodies across Europe (see the full list of participants below), have participated in joint market dialogues, innovation procurement capacity building workshops, and technical visits to pilot sites and manufacturing centres. The participants have also exchanged feedback on pilot procurement procedures. Through the BBI Observer Group, further procurers have been able to follow the groups’ progress and exchange best practices.

In the final event, Ivo Locatelli of the European Commission’s DG Grow also announced the follow-up, the Big Buyers for Climate & Environment. The second phase will build upon the success of the Big Buyers Initiative and use a similar format, with four working groups of public entities focused on procurement of a specific sustainable product or service in which aggregated demand of big buyers can push for market innovation. The BBCE will begin with a bottom-up needs assessment in winter 2020, and the established working groups will collaborate over the next two years.

The Big Buyers Initiative is a European Commission Initiative for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement of sustainable goods and services. Public procurement can be a key tool in driving innovation on the European market. By working together and pooling their resources, cities, central purchasing bodies, and other major public procurers can maximise their market power and impact.

ICLEI and EUROCITIES manage the initiative on behalf of the European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).


Zero-emission construction sites members: Amsterdam, Brussels Mobility, Budapest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, Oslo, Trondheim and Vienna

Circular construction materials members: Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels Region, Budapest, Haarlem, Helsinki, Lisbon, Oslo, Paris, Porto, Rotterdam, Stavanger and Vantaa

Heavy-duty electric vehicles members: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Belgian Post, Budapest, Helsinki, Lisbon, Malmö, Oslo, Porto, Stavanger and SKL Kommentus