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Examples of criteria used in tender documents

All production process related criteria of eco-labelling schemes can be considered as appropriate for defining a product in a tendering procedure, provided that

(1) the criteria, as well as the way in which they are being applied, are compliant with community law, in particular with the principles regarding non-discrimination and equal treatment; this implies, amongst other things, that the criteria have to be measurable/verifiable so as to treat bidders (economic operators) in the same way and allow effective verification of bids against tender documents;

(2) the criteria concern the production of the products which are to be supplied to the purchasing authority (and hence they cannot concern the overall environmental management measures of the company producing or supplying the products).

For printers and copiers these concern criteria which prescribe for instance:

- The energy consumption of the products
- The potential longevity of the systems, expandability and a recyclable design as well as the possibilities of reuse and recycling of used products or product components.
- The use of environmentally burdening substances (such as (halogenated) flame proofing agents)
- The noise emission during operation
- The ability to duplex print as a default
- The fact that the equipment accepts recycled paper without negatively affecting the warranty
- The fact that the equipment accepts re-manufactured/re-filled ink cartridges without negatively affecting the warranty

Examples of criteria used in tender documents

The examples in this section are taken from tender documents which were collected for a study to assess the level of green public procurement in the European Union. The examples have been commented on by the research group concerning the environmental focus and the correct use of criteria, in accordance with public procurement law.

Example 1, Level: solid green
Example 2, Level: light green
Example 3, Level: light green


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1.   Level: solid green  
Product  Office machines (not computers) 
Award criteria  The tender is awarded to the tender most economically advantageous using the following criteria and weights:
Economy 50%, Quality 20%, Environment 20%, Service 10%

It is considered positively if the tender fulfils the following criteria:
- in addition to disposable products, also refillable toner-cartridges are offered (cassettes that after being used in organisations are collected, cleaned, controlled/repaired and refilled)
- that toner-cartridges fulfil the criteria of the Nordic eco-label Swan or equivalent given in the chapters 5-7 of the criteria document (see note 1)
- the toner powder is not classified as carcinogenic (see note 2), harmful to the reproductive system, very toxic, toxic, or harmful to the environment in accordance with the regulations about classification and marking of chemical substances and products (see note 3)
- products and spare parts do not contain chlorinated plastics (PVC)
- for each product instructions about environmentally responsible disposal are given. It should be clearly indicated, if the product can be disposed together with the ordinary waste, or if it should be taken care of as hazardous waste, or if there is a take-back and recycling/reuse system for them.
- if the product assortment includes products that are classified as hazardous waste at the end of their life-time, a take-back system is offered, which ensures that the hazardous waste is transported and taken care of in accordance with the regulations in force (see note 4).

In order to be able to assess to what degree the tender fulfils these environmental criteria, we ask the tenderer to use the attached Appendix 2 to give the environmental information of each of the offered products.

Note 1: Criteria document "Ecolabelling of Toner Cartridges", Version 3.4, can be downloaded from: www.svanen.nu/DocEng/008e.pdf
Note 2: If the cartridge and the system where the toner powder is used are closed systems that do not involve the risk of dust emissions, the criterium is fulfilled although the toner powder would contain more than 0.1% of respirable dust of Carbon Black (which the Danish authority 'Arbejdstilsynet' considers carcinogenic).
Note 3: Decree nr. 329 of 16/05/2002 of the Danish Environment and Energy Ministry
Note 4: Decree nr. 619 of 27/06/2000 of the Danish Environment and Energy Ministry and waste regulations in the municipality  
Contract clauses  A model contract was attached, including the following description of the own environmental principles of the contracting authority and the environmental aspects connected to the contract.

3.20 Environment
The contracting authority wants
by performing environmentally responsible purchasing policy to decrease the harmful environmental impacts and promote the development and use of environmentally more sound products and services, for the benefit of the outer environment (..).
Regarding the offered products, it is assumed that instructions about environmentally responsible disposal are delivered with each product. It should be clearly indicated, if the product can be disposed together with the ordinary waste, or if it should be taken care of as hazardous waste. If the product assortment includes products that are classified as hazardous waste at the end of their life-time, we expect that a take-back system is offered by the contractor.
The supplier/contractor guarantees, that all products delivered during the contract fulfil the environmental regulations, environmental law, environmental EU directives etc. in force at the moment of the delivery.
If the contacting authority requires documentation about a product, relating to the assessment of the environmental impacts of the product, the contractor must furnish the authority with the documentation free of charge.  
  Remarks by the research group about the environmental focus and purchasing criteria  
  Strong elements:
- Several environmental aspects are covered by the criteria.
- Weighting is given, and the weight of the environmental impacts is high (20%).
- The contract includes aspects (instructions for disposal, take-back system for hazardous waste, fulfilment of the environmental regulations, free of charge environmental information) that are common for many product groups, and could be used in a general 'model contract'.  


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2.   Level: light green  
Product  Computer hardware 
Technical specifications  Compliant with Energy Star or Energy2000-standard or equivalent.

The following limits have to be met by the toner cartridge for laser printing:
Contents - Limit (mg/kg)
cadmium - 5,0
cobalt - 25
nickel - 70
lead - 25
mercury - 2,0
chrome - 1,0
chromate - 1,0
tin-organic connection - 5,0  
Contract clauses  When necessary disposal of packaging. 
  Remarks by the research group about the environmental focus and purchasing criteria  
  Strong elements:
- Limits for dangerous substances as a knock-out criterion.
- Equipment should be compliant with energy standards. 


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3.   Level: light green  
Product  Copying machines 
Award criteria  - Electricity use (the smaller, the better): in electricity-saving mode and in action
- Production of heat (the smaller, the better)
- Expected life-time (number of copies) (the higher, the better) 
  Remarks by the research group about the environmental focus and purchasing criteria  
  Strong elements:
Good focus on energy use, albeit at the award stage only, therefore those are not minimum technical specifications which need to complied with in all cases. 


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