Just 10% of Government contracts had green criteria in 2021, says EPA

Government has said use of green public procurement criteria in all public tenders will become compulsory

Just 10 per cent of contracts handed out by Government departments in 2021 contained green criteria despite a commitment to make it mandatory, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The programme for government contains a commitment that the use of green public procurement (GPP) criteria in all public tenders will become compulsory by the end of the term of the Government.

GPP was introduced in 2019 on foot of commitments in the climate action plan, which requires every public body to have a climate mandate, including in the use of public procurement, to deliver environmental change.

The EPA published its second report on GPP activity in Government departments on Tuesday.


The report, which relates to procurement by 18 Government departments, shows that of the reported spend of over €528 million on contracts worth more than €25,000, only 10 per cent included green criteria.

EPA director general Laura Burke said it was “disappointing” that there has been a low level of implementation of GPP in 2021.

“This is a missed opportunity for Government departments to purchase more resource efficient and less polluting goods, services and works,” she said. “The public sector must play a leadership role.

“GPP sends a powerful signal to the marketplace that Ireland’s government sector is committed to reducing emissions and protecting our environment while saving money over the full lifecycle of goods and services.”

The Government agreed there would be a phased introduction of green criteria targeting priority products and services, as well as building appropriate green criteria into Office of Government Procurement procedures.

The climate plan is designed to ensure Ireland reaches it 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets and to put the country on a trajectory to have net-zero emissions by 2050.

Proactively promoting green buying is also in line with the European Commission’s priority of using procurement in a more strategic manner.

The EPA’s report called on Government departments to assign senior level resources with responsibility to ensure GPP is incorporated into procurement processes, and to update the corporate procurement plan to include GPP.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter