Government spending power can trigger a green revolution

Each year, European governments spend €1.8 trillion buying goods and services. Imagine what the world would look like if all these goods and services were produced and used, at low—or zero—greenhouse gas emission levels?

Governments can play a decisive role in this through their spending. They can influence companies’ supply chains, set sustainability standards and encourage heavy industry to cut emissions.

But although green public procurement is an effective way to fight climate change and is often talked about as a key solution, it is not standard practice in many EU countries. Our new partner The Dutch Foundation for Climate-friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO) can change this.

CO2 Performance Ladder
SKAO has created the CO2 Performance Ladder to help governments reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and those of companies and their supply chains, when they buy goods and services.

The CO2 Performance Ladder is a practical and powerful tool. It uses the power of green procurement to change carbon emissions of governments, companies, supply chains and heavy industries. It does this by giving companies a financial advantage in tendering processes if they commit to reducing emissions.

The greater the company’s level of green ambition, the greater the advantage they receive.

Best practice

For the last 10 years, the CO2 Performance Ladder has been responsible for a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by companies and governments in the Netherlands and a promising pilot in Belgium is running. SKAO and partner International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will now perform a feasibility study to identify other European countries where the likelihood of successfully rolling out this Dutch best practice is highest. You can find more in this helpful video [link].

“We’re happy support SKAO’s CO2 Performance Ladder,” says Edgar van de Brug, Programme Manager Climate Action, from the IKEA Foundation. “Buying goods and services from companies that meet strict emissions standards will help governments move closer to their Paris Agreement targets.

“It’s a way for governments to use their spending power to bring about a green revolution in companies and their supply chains and the products they produce.”