The City of Cape Town will be undertaking a review of its big spend areas to assess where the greatest environmental impact can be achieved.

The review will form part of the City’s commitment to increasingly include green procurement criteria into its bid specifications and evaluation, for key products and services, in an effort to drive improved resource efficiency and environmental sustainability.

“Given its significant purchasing power, the public sector has a key role to play in driving the market for environmentally sustainable products and, consequently, promoting more sustainable consumption and production for a better future,” says Johan van der Merwe, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning.

During the Local Governments for Sustainability World Congress (ICLEI) held in Seoul, Korea in April, a Global Lead Cities Network on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) was established. The City will be taking an active international leadership role in this important field.

“Green procurement means amending our procurement system with the intent to optimise the City’s resource efficiency and to promote environmental sustainability while using our public market power to bring about environmental and social benefits locally. It focuses on achieving value for money across the entire value chain and promotes growth in the green economy in Cape Town.

“It is therefore not only about what the City buys, but also includes aspects such as assessing demand for the product or service, considering the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, and ensuring responsible disposal when the life of the product is over,’ said Councillor Van der Merwe.

As a result of the City’s green procurement efforts, a total saving of approximately R120 million is expected by 2018 through the current internal energy efficiency programme.

Since 2013, energy efficiency projects have included upgrading City buildings and replacing traffic and street lights with low-energy light emitting diode (LED) lights.