Requirements on products

Environmental requirements can be stipulated as technical specifications or as awarding criteria and may encompass the product’s performance and functionality, as well as the product’s environmental impact during the production process.

Environmental requirements can be stipulated as technical specifications or as awarding criteria and may encompass the product’s performance and functionality, as well as the product’s environmental impact during the production process.

Technical specifications

A technical specification can include requirements on the product’s “green qualities”, as part of the description of “performance or functionality” or in addition to a standard. Examples of green qualities may be the product’s content of certain chemicals or other substances, emissions of certain substances, energy or water consumption, content of recycled material and recyclability, etc.

The technical specification may also pertain to how a service is to be performed. Technical specifications are generally made as mandatory requirements. These requirements may, under certain circumstances, also pertain to how the product is manufactured, meaning its production method/manufacturing process.

Performance and functionality

Green qualities can be included in the technical specifications in the form of performance or functionality requirements (see chapter 6, section 3 of both LOU and LUF). In the Concordia case, the European Court of Justice established that the technical specifications must be clearly formulated and have a natural association with the goods/services that are being procured. Such a technical specification may be a requirement for conservative energy consumption (see, for example, criteria for outdoor lighting).

Requirements specified by environmental labelling

You can use specifications for different types of environmental labelling, both for goods and services (see chapter 6, section 6 of both LOU and LUF). However, this is incumbent on the specifications being appropriate to use in the procurement in question, that they are based on scientific fact and are openly available, and that no licence or certificate be required for a certain label.

Manufacturing process

For a long time, it was only deemed permissible to stipulate requirements on the manufacturing process since this influenced a good’s visible qualities. However, by way of legal precedents (see Wienstrom, C-448/01), the EU Court of Justice has established that requirements can be stipulated on the manufacturing method even if this doesn’t influence the good’s qualities (a.k.a. non-visible qualities), for example electricity that is generated using renewable energy resources.

Requirements that are stipulated on the manufacturing process are permissible under the procurement legislation, provided that they are in accord with the fundamental principles (see directive 2004/18/EG article 29, and 2004/17/EG article 42). This is important since the manufacturing method can have a major environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective.

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