ACTIVITY 10.2: Procure goods and services


By Tom Wood / Updated: 28 Nov 2019


A crucial part of implementation is to procure the goods and services required for the measures and actions of the SUMP. Procurement is a standard process in any public administration, usually supported by specialised staff, but tendering innovative products or ‘green procurement’ requires the SUMP core team’s attention. Due to the large amounts that cities in Europe spend on this, it is a powerful lever in its own right to support the transition of urban mobilityinfo-icon. The purchasing power of cities and regions can create a critical demand for innovative and green goods, services and business models such as low emission vehicles or shared mobility solutions. If executed properly, procurement can add value both by minimising negative social and environmental impacts and by enabling innovative products and services to penetrate the market.



  • Ensure effective and timely procurement of all goods and services needed for the implementation of actions.

  • Minimise negative social and environmental impacts of purchasing decisions.

  • Facilitate the diffusion and promotion of new sustainable technologies and services.



  • Assess and define the real needs of the city, which should be the starting point of any procurement. Procurers will need to collaborate closely with the technical departments in order to define functions that can be correctly translated into an effective procurement process.

  • Ensure thorough knowledge of the national and European legal framework for sustainable public procurement, to avoid any law infringement that could complicate and delay the implementation process.

  • Determine the procurement methodinfo-icon and timeframe for each good or service, define how it should be carried out, and what kind of contract is needed. Consider joint procurements with other authorities that may result in lower prices due to economies of scale.

  • Set the technical specifications, using performance- based criteria that describe the function you need instead of specific products. Consider adding sustainabilityinfo-icon aspects, either as minimum requirements or as award criteria that help offers to score higher. Use life cycle costing, instead of only purchase price, as cost criterion. This better describes the true costs for you as a buyer and at the same time often favours sustainable choices, e.g. low-consuming (and therefore low-emission) vehicles.

  • Publish the tender and go through the process of selection and exclusion of bidders.

  • Ensure transparencyinfo-icon of the procurement process in order to increase public and political support.


Activities beyond essential requirements

  • Consider using innovative procurement methods for highly innovative products and services that are not readily available on the market. Suitable methods include:

    • Request for Information - a method to collect information on possible solutions before starting a formal procurement process.

    • Pre-Commercial Procurement - which challenges industry to develop new solutions that do not exist yet for public sector needs.

    • Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions - where the city acts as an early adopter of innovative solutions that are not yet available on a large-scale basis in order to facilitate their spread to the mass market.


Timing and coordination

  • Procurement is usually one of the earlier parts of action implementation, but relevant during the entire implementation stage depending on the timing of the different actions.



✔ Procurement needs of the city clearly defined and agreed on.
✔ List of personnel and their expertise to lead the procurement process defined.
✔  Tender specifications defined.
✔ Tenders launched, submissions evaluated and tenderers selected.


Criteria templates for Green Public Procurement

The EU GPP criteria are developed to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents. While the adopted EU GPP criteria aim to reach a good balance between environmental performance, cost considerations, market availability and ease of verification, procuring authorities may choose, according to their needs and ambition level, to include all or only certain requirements in their tender documents.

For urban mobility, criteria templates for the following areas exist. Each of them consists of several subcategories, e.g. procurement of buses, cars, other vehicles, etc. in the document on road transport. They are available in all EU languages.

  • Road Design, Construction and Maintenance

  • Road lighting and traffic signals

  • Road Transport

For more information:


Approaches to sustainable public procurement

Figure 36: Overview of approaches to sustainable public procurement (Rudolph, F., Werland, S., 2019. Public procurement of sustainable urban mobility measures.)


Further guidance and step-by-step-approaches for sustainable public procurement can be found in the Topic Guide Public procurement of sustainable urban mobility measures.








More info: 

GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: Piedmont region, Italy

Joint Procurement of 19 urban electric buses


The Piedmont Region applied a joint procurement approach to introduce electric buses into the fleets of regional transport operators. Five steps were taken:

  • Project proposals requested from public transport operators;
  • Market survey to identify suppliers;
  • Pre-qualification phase with a call for offers from suppliers;
  • Suppliers selected;
  • Proposals requested from selected suppliers.

The tender was awarded to BYD EUROPE B.V. who signed independent contracts with each of the involved public transport companies.The Region financed 90% and operators 10% of the bus purchasing cost.The expected savings of the Region are approx. € 50.000 over a period of 10 years and 769 tonnes of CO2 /year.


Author: Chiara Ferroni, Fondazione Torino Wireless, collected by ICLEI