Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Sustainable procurement – Giving shape to the public sector’s exemplary role in sustainable procurement

Indicator 12.3.a, b: Sustainable procurement

SDG-12.7.1

a) Paper bearing the Blue Angel label as a proportion of the total paper consumption of the direct federal administration

b) CO2 emissions of commercially available vehicles in the public sector

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

These indicators show sustainability in procurement through the examples of paper and the CO2 emissions of motor vehicles. Each is depicted as an index using 2015 as its base year.

Indicator 12.3.a measures what proportion of total paper procured for the direct federal administration is certified with the Blue Angel ecolabel.

Indicator 12.3.b shows the CO2 emissions of publicly owned vehicles in relation to the distances they travel.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Sustainable procurement is a very complex topic. Product-specific indicators are examined here as examples. While the proportion of paper bearing the Blue Angel ecolabel is supposed to reach 95% of the direct federal administration’s total paper use by 2020, the ratio of CO2 emissions to distance travelled is supposed to continue sinking. The public sector accounts for a considerable share of demand for products and services. It is therefore aimed that establishing sustainable development as a guiding principle of public procurement and reinforcing sustainability criteria within public procurement will serve as a lever to increase provision of sustainable products. The German Government’s aim is to strengthen sustainability across public procurement generally.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

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Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-09: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

Paper with Blue Angel certification as a proportion of the direct federal administration’s total paper consumption

The data used to calculate the proportion of Blue Angel-certified paper in the direct federal administration’s total paper consumption are collated through the monitoring of the Programme of Sustainability Measures being conducted by the Federal Chancellery and supported by the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Procurement at the Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The Blue Angel is an ecolabel for environmentally friendly products and services. When awarded to paper, it means that 100% of the paper fibres were recovered from wastepaper and that no harmful chemicals or bleaching agents were used in the production process.

According to the preliminary data, the proportion of Blue Angel-certified paper rose by around 104% between 2015 and 2019. In 2015, 45% of all the paper used by the direct federal administration bore the Blue Angel label; that figure had risen to 92% by 2019. This equates to an increase of 104.1% (or an index value of 204.1). The indicator is thus in line with the target set in the Programme of Sustainability Measures to raise the use of paper with the Blue Angel label to 95% by 2020. Total paper consumption, after rising by 11.5% to 993.4 million sheets of paper in 2016, shrank again in 2019, according to the (provisional) data, resulting in a 13.6% reduction in total paper consumption between 2015 and 2019.

When comparing the data over time, it should be noted that there was a change in methodology in 2018 regarding the definition of paper. Since the 2018 reporting year, only non-coloured A4-sized printer and copier paper has been included in the data. The reduction in total paper use can in part be traced to this methodological change.

More generally, it should be noted that the use of Blue Angel-certified paper has limited relevance in terms of sustainable procurement overall, as paper accounts for a small proportion of the total financial volumes involved in procurement for the public sector.

CO2 emissions of motor vehicles Of the public sector milage

The data on publicly owned vehicles are provided by the environmental economic accounts compiled by the Federal Statistical Office using the TREMOD (Transport Emissions Estimation Model) database at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. The public sector comprises the federal government, the Länder and municipalities, the police, the Federal Border Police and the fire services.

Because of the small number of data points and a methodological change affecting the TREMOD database in 2016, it is not possible to assess the trend. The definitions of vehicles have been modified, which is reflected in the data on vehicle fleets. There have also been alterations in the outcomes for distance travelled, energy consumed and emissions in the environmental economic accounts.

If, instead of looking at publicly owned vehicles, one focuses on vehicles owned by the direct federal administration, average CO2 emissions amounted to 203.3 grams per kilometre travelled in 2019. There was a methodological change in the statistics of the Federal Environment Agency as well.

The direct federal administration encompasses federal government’s own central and subordinate authorities, which are legally dependent. The data on CO2 emissions per kilometre travelled for vehicles owned by the direct federal administration are provided by Federal Environment Agency.

As for the data on publicly owned vehicles, the direct federal administration figures count all passenger vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes but not light commercial vehicles within that class. Between 2015 and 2017, the proportion of vehicles newly acquired for the direct federal administration that produced emissions lower than 50 grams per kilometre rose from 2.6% to 4.1% of all newly purchased vehicles. That share fell back to 3.3% in 2018. The provisional data show it falling further in 2019, to 2.4%.

The indicator under consideration here relates only to the environmental aspect of sustainability. Moreover, it only covers the CO2 emissions released during the vehicles’ operation. Looking at their entire life-cycle costs, there are more greenhouse-gas emissions, occurring during the processes of manufacturing and waste disposal, which would have to be taken into account for a conclusive indicator. In addition, the sustainability of electric vehicles depends on whether the electricity powering them comes from conventional or renewable sources.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Time series 1

Indicator

12.3.a Paper bearing the Blue Angel label as a proportion of the total paper consumption of the direct federal administration

Target

Increase the proportion to 95% by 2020

Evaluation

Keine Bewertung möglich

Time series 2

Indicator

12.3.b CO2 emissions of commercially available vehicles in the public sector

Target

Significantly reduce

Evaluation

Keine Bewertung möglich

Source 1

 Center of Excellence for Sustainable Procurement

Organisation

Center of Excellence for Sustainable Procurement

Source 2

 Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Organisation

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Source 3

 German Environment Agency

Organisation

German Environment Agency

Source 4

 Federal Statistical Office

Organisation

Federal Statistical Office

Source 5

 Federal Chancellery

Organisation

Federal Chancellery