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FORKOMMUNE-Forskning og innovasjon i kommunesektoren

Innovative sustainable public procurement of food and catering services

Alternative title: Innovative og bærekraftige innkjøp av mat og cateringtjenester

Awarded: NOK 6.9 mill.

"Purchase sustainably" is a project where researchers from OsloMet and UiO, together with the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency and The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), will help public organizations to buy food and catering services more sustainably. Public organizations find it hard to use procurement regulations to stimulate sustainability. For small businesses and social entrepreneurs, it is difficult to compete in public tenders. The Norwegian government recognizes this problem and wants to make it easier for smaller companies to win public tenders, as recently stated by the minister of industry, Iselin Nybø. Why do we see this problem? Public organizations often put unnecessary requirements in tenders, e.g. demands for suppliers to be able to deliver in the whole country. Procurement departments lack sustainability strategies and do not set up adequate requirements for sustainability. They recycle old contracts, use too large or framework contracts. They do not sufficiently investigate the needs in their own organization and may be afraid to break rules. They may lack resources for administration and management of contracts and may not have a good overview of local suppliers. The solution to this problem is the ECOPROC project. The project will measure maturity of organizations regarding innovative sustainable development. It will analyse the way procurement departments in municipalities (and in one state organization, OsloMet) use procurement regulations. It will help public organizations to buy more sustainably, preferably from local providers. It will also develop a training program to help organizations do this. The project will develop a digital platform that will gather smaller local businesses and social entrepreneurs and make it easier for procurement departments to find them. The projects? ambition is the spread this evidence-based model for more sustainable procurement to all municipalities and public organizations.

This project deals with innovative public procurement for sustainable food. It enables the participating public organizations, mostly municipalities, to try out new and innovative public procurement strategies and practices, aimed at supporting their sustainability agenda, in the area of procurement of food and catering services. Fundamental changes are needed in core societal systems, in particular those related to food, mobility, and energy. In the Norwegian public sector, most organizations have already declared sustainability as a core issue, but now need to translate this into relevant practices. The Norwegian central government expects regions and local communities (as key actors in the transition towards greater sustainability), to implement concrete plans resulting in a more sustainable environment and society , building on the 2015 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) for 2030. In that context, public procurement is an important instrument. The project aims to innovate the way public organizations procure food and catering services, and show how they can prioritize sustainability goals, linked to customers´ needs, and involving a variety of suppliers including small and medium enterprises. There are 14 partners involved in the project: two universities (OsloMet-AFI and UiO), Difi (the national expertise centre on procurement), and 12 public organizations involved in public procurement (11 municipalities and one university: OsloMet). These organizations have all expressed the ambition to procure more sustainable food and catering services through experimenting with new and innovative ways of sustainable public procurement in the food and catering sector. In this project, innovation is seen as a continuous process of learning by failing, rather than innovation as a newly-to-be-introduced product or process. The partners involved innovate with support of experts and peers.

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FORKOMMUNE-Forskning og innovasjon i kommunesektoren