Public procurement can be used as a tool to achieve strategic sustainability goals such as promoting innovation, social inclusion or environmental sustainability. The amendment to the Public Procurement Act, which will come into force on 31 March 2022, will strengthen the influence of environmental aspects in public procurement.
Social or environmental considerations in at least 6% of public contracts
The obligation to take social and now also environmental considerations into account will be imposed on contracting authorities that carry out ten or more public procurement procedures in a calendar year. In simple terms, the contracting authority will be obliged to make social or environmental considerations a specific condition for the performance of the contract or a criterion for the evaluation of tenders in at least 6% of contracts.
What are the environmental aspects?
The legislator inserted a new definition in the law to facilitate the practical application of environmental aspects in public procurement.
An environmental aspect reduces or prevents the negative environmental impacts of the object of procurement, contributes to the protection of the environment, promotes adaptation to climate change or supports sustainable development, in particular by:
reducing pollution of the air, water and soil,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
preventing or reducing the generation of waste,
recovering or recycling the materials used,
using renewable energy sources, or
using of natural resources more efficiently.
Strategy for a greener Slovakia
In the materials accompanying the amendment, the legislator points out that the main strategic document regulating green public procurement objectives is the Strategy for a Greener Slovakia (Strategy of Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic until 2030). The amendment is not intended to replace this document. Its declared aim is rather to encourage contractors and contracting authorities to take account of the environmental aspects and to get used to mandatory application of environmental criteria in public procurement process.