EPA reports low level of green criteria used in public procurement by Government Departments

  • Government Department reporting on 2020 procurement shows that there was a low level of inclusion of green criteria in Public Procurement.
  • This represents an opportunity to significantly increase the public spend on goods and services that include green criteria. The EPA will work with Government Departments to progress this work in 2022 and beyond.
  • Many Government Departments are currently working to address this by including green criteria in their procurement processes.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its first report on the use of Green Public Procurement by Government Departments. Under the Climate Action Plan, lead responsibility was assigned to the EPA to report on Government Department Green Public Procurement (GPP) activity annually, starting in 2020. In response, the EPA has compiled the first report on GPP activity by Government Departments.

The report – which is for 2020 – shows that, of the total reported spend of over €322 million on contracts over €25,000, only 17 per cent (approximately €53 million) included green criteria.

The reported spend is for Government Department contracts only, and excludes agencies affiliated to those Government Departments. The priority sectors for reporting by Government Departments were: Transport, Construction, Energy, Food and Catering Services, Cleaning Products and Services, Textiles IT Equipment and Paper.

Launching the report Laura Burke, EPA Director General, said:

“The purchasing power of Ireland’s government sector has significant potential to reduce emissions and protect our environment while saving money over the full lifecycle of goods and services.

Government commitment to green purchasing sends a powerful signal to the market that the Government requires goods, services and works that make the most positive contribution to our environment and can save money over their full lifecycle. It promotes innovation in the marketplace for goods and services with a reduced environmental impact.

The low level of implementation of Green Public Procurement reported by Government Departments is a missed opportunity to purchase more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace.”

The report sets out recommendations for Government Departments to ensure that they will be able to meet the 2023 requirement in the Programme for Government Our Shared Future that all procurement using public funds will need to include green criteria.

The report ‘Green Public Procurement: Monitoring and Reporting by Government Departments, 2020 Reference Year’ is now available on the EPA website and presents an overview of the monitoring and reporting requirements of GPP in Government Departments, the process used to collate data, a summary of the findings and recommendations.

The report shows some progress by Departments in actively working to include Green Public Procurement in their processes, as reported in their 2020 Annual Reports. However, further work is needed to improve the use of and reporting of Green Public Procurement in 2022 and beyond. The EPA will work directly with Government Departments and other stakeholders, including the Office of Government Procurement, to share learnings and recommendations and to support training requirements to ensure the progression of this work. Both guidance and training for the public sector on Green Public Procurement are available from the EPA.

Department nameNo. of contracts over €25,000 incorporating GPPPercentage of total spend reported on contracts over €25,000 in 2020
Agriculture, Food & the Marine7420%
Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youthn/a1n/a1
Enterprise, Trade & Employment426%
Environment, Climate & Communications485%
Foreign Affairsn/a1n/a1
Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Sciencen/a2n/a2
Housing, Local Government & Heritage384%
Public Expenditure & Reformn/a1n/a1
Rural & Community Developmentn/a1n/a1
Social Protection2911%
The Taoiseachn/a1n/a1
Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media558%


  1. No contracts above €25,000 were signed in 2020 for the priority sectors
  2. This Department was formed in August 2020, the data is included with the Department of Education’s data

The figures returned to the EPA are not sufficiently complete to draw concrete conclusions about the use of green criteria in Government procurement and these limitations are identified in the report. However, there is no doubt that there is a low level of implementation of Green Public Procurement across Government that needs to be urgently addressed.