European public procurement principles must be well defined and promote the unimpeded functioning of the single market

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These green guidelines have the intention of steering public procurements towards a more ecologically sustainable direction. It regulates for example what kinds of products state and municipal authorities are allowed to purchase for their construction sites or for use at their offices.

Public procurements account for a considerable portion of the market for forest industry products. The UK, Netherlands and Denmark – all substantial importers of forest industry goods – have been actively defining their national public procurement practices.

The Commission communication contains an implementation action plan for Member States’ national green procurement strategies. The action plan defines the concept of green public procurements, their goals and the need for steering, monitoring and the criteria to be observed in the making of procurements. The aim is to encourage Member States to increase their green public procurements both quantitatively and qualitatively.

All product groups and raw materials must be compared using the same criteria  

Wood, wood products and paper must not be made subject to stricter requirements than other raw material categories or product groups. The long-term aim should be to give recyclable and biodegradable products, which are made from renewable natural resources, a most-favoured status in public procurements.

It is important for Finland to draft national guidelines that emphasise the fair treatment of forest industry products in public procurements and set an example for other European countries to follow. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is in charge of the drafting of our national guidelines.

Legality and sustainability of wood raw material the driving principles of public procurement guidelines

The threat is that EU guidelines for public procurements will restrict the utilisation of certain products, even if they in principle meet proof-of-origin requirements. Public procurement criteria must not impose restrictions to the free movement of goods within the single market. This is why flexible procedures for demonstrating the legality and sustainability of raw materials and products, for example, are needed. Certification is one way of verifying the lawful and sustainable origins of wood raw materials, but other reliable ways should be accepted in the guidelines as well. Nor should public procurements be bound only to specific certification schemes; instead, different certification systems should be treated equally.

Less than ten percent of the world’s forests have been certified and the majority of certified woodlands are found in developed countries. At present, the amount of certified forest areas is not sufficient to satisfy the demand for certified wood products.

Further information:

Antti Otsamo,
Director of Forestry Issues,
Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
+358 (0)9 132 6679,
+358 (0)40 719 7734

Riku Eksymä,
Director for EU Affairs,

Forest Industries Federation,
+358 (0)9 132 6643,
+358 (0)40 838 6643