Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
Umweltsenator_Kerstan_Elektromobil © Behörde für Umwelt und Energie Hamburg

Hamburg to boost green products on market

Senate sets up environmental directive. Ban on coffee caps in authorities. Disposable food packaging, some cleaning materials are off-limits

Environmental criteria will soon take higher priority in Hamburg’s annual expenditure of around EUR 250 million on goods, cargo and services. A senate resolution has established a 150-page catalogue of criteria with environmental standards for purchasing and contracting – from printer paper, light bulbs, cleaning agents and wall paint – right up to company cars. The directive also contains a list of products, for instance coffee machines with aluminium caps, mineral water in disposable bottles, disposable dishes or chlorinated cleaning agents that the administration cannot purchase in future.

Signal to economy

Environmental criteria such as life cycle costs, repair and recycling capability, packaging, climate impact and use of resources are set to play a more important role in the city’s selection. Together with the price, they will soon be binding in any award decision. Environment senator Jens Kerstan said: “Hamburg’s administration will soon play a leading role in Germany in terms of procurement and contracting.” This sends an important signal to commerce and citizens to be more aware of their purchasing decisions and the story behind a product. The city’s purchasing power of several hundred million euros annually could lead to a reduction in the sale of environmentally harmful products and boost the acceptance of sustainable products on the market.

Promoting climate protection

Under the new criteria for procurement, 50 per cent of cars in the vehicle fleet used by Hamburg’s core administration must be electric-run by 2020. The share of recycling paper used in Hamburg’s authorities is to increase as well. So far, the use of recycling paper has meant that 285 tonnes of CO2 were avoided. Some 51.9 million litres of water and 10.65 million kWh of power have been saved by choosing recycling paper instead of fresh fibre paper.

Kerstan added: “The environment friendly procurement will also help in terms of climate protection. It promotes energy saving, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy and helps reduce climate harming CO2 greenhouse gases. Environment friendly products are usually durable and less energy is required in their production and consumption.”

Aources and further information:


Article 3 b of the Hamburg Procurement Act (HmbVgG) sets out norms for environmentally compatible procurement. The “Directive for Environmentally Compatible Procurement in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg” (Environmental Directive) offers further assistance and ascertainment. The senate’s new resolution makes the directive binding and it is recommended to public companies when awarding contracts. Strategic purchases by the city of Hamburg are settled in the fiscal authority. There are four other main contracting authorities. Plans to establish extensive controlling of this sector are underway. The city has an annual procurement volume of EUR 250 million for the application area outlined in the Environmental Directive. The Federal Republic of Germany must make new EU public procurement directives on strengthening sustainable procurement national law by April 2016.

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