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New Initiatives by GeM to promote sustainable public procurement of products and services

04-06-2022 : Government eMarketplace [GeM] is promoting sustainable public procurement [SPP] of products and services in association with the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP]. Since the launch of Green Room Air Conditioners [RAC] in June 2021, GeM has taken a series of path-breaking steps to roll out new features and functionalities on the portal to promote the adoption of environmentally sustainable products and services.

Speaking on World Environment Day, Shri PK Singh, CEO GeM said that GeM is prioritizing the listing and availability of environmentally sustainable products and services by targeting the largest selling products and services on the portal, and products and services based on their potential for impact on the environment. Further, GeM has proactively created and listed new product and service categories, and implemented new functionalities, namely; forward auction for safe disposal of obsolete machinery, and buyback option for disposal of obsolete assets and procurement of new products.

Shri Atul Bagai, UNEP Country Head, highlighted that public procurement represents a sizable proportion of Government’s spending. By promoting SPP practices, governments have the opportunity to create high-volume and long-term demand of sustainable products and services. Shri Bagai reinforced UNEP’s support and commitment for achieving this objective.

SPP of Products on GeM

On 05th June 2021, Green RACs were launched on GeM. The purchase of Green RACs is  on a voluntary basis. and the faster adoption of such products by government buyers will pave the way for realizing India’s Nationally Determined Contributions [NDC] and its commitment towards Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] # 12 “Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns” with special emphasis on target 12.7 – aims to “Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.” In 2021-22, government buyers procured 176 green RACs worth INR 3.65 Crore.

Writing and printing paper [Maplitho], an uncoated paper used to make textbooks, notebooks, from hardwood pulp) is a popular product category on GeM. Approx. 90% of the total procurement of writing and printing paper is for Eco-mark paper which is a standard applicable for manufacturer producing paper from agro-based and recycled fibre-based raw material.

GeM has created marketplace filters to help government buyers identify solar-powered renewable products such as inverters, streetlights, torch lights, study lamps, water heating systems, and battery-powered e-rickshaws for passengers.

Daily use products for pollution tracking, monitoring and rehabilitation, refuse disposal and treatment of hazardous and non-hazardous waste including sewage treatment are already listed and available for procurement on the portal.

GeM has introduced “The Green Gold Collection”, a dedicated online market store to showcase a range of bamboo accessories for potential use in the construction sector and exquisitely handcrafted bamboo handicrafts, daily-utility products/ disposals for government buyers. Bamboo producers will be able to list their products under different product categories.

SPP of Services on GeM

Presently, 250+service categories are live on GeM.. Notable services with a sustainable procurement component include:

    • Lease hiring of electric vehicles [short and long-term] for senior officers including operations and maintenance,
    • Event and monthly-based hiring of air conditioners and desert coolers including supply, installation and maintenance for required number of days or contract period,
    • Energy efficiency services namely, energy conservation and energy audit services and hiring of consultant for energy efficiency services/ projects,
    • Waste Management services, namely; biomedical waste management services, collection and disposal of waste management services, e-waste management, garbage collection and disposal, and municipal sewage waste,
    • Water Conservation, including rejuvenation of water bodies, and testing of water quality,
    • Annual maintenance contracts [AMC] for solar plant, wind, hydro and bio plants, and
    • Water audit and afforestation services, namely; plantation and tree translocation services, to name a few.
    • Housekeeping service with eco-friendly chemical cleanliness and conservancy of office premises, hospitals and guest houses etc.
    • Operation and Management of Electric Buses is available on GeM where buyers can hire electric buses with its operation and maintenance.
    • GeM is working towards the launch of a new service “Green Transition Service” on the GeM portal for buyers who seek a structured framework to achieve carbon neutrality and aim for being net zero Carbon emissions in their operations. Service components will include; estimation and preparation of GHG emissions inventory, developing methodology for accounting of GHG emissions, preparation of detailed project reports on calculation of carbon footprint, milestones, implementation and monitoring plan for the assessment year, leading to a comprehensive roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions.

New Functionalities to promote SPP

New features/ functionalities like “forward auction” provides opportunities for government buyers/ auctioneers to auction on the GeM portal and potential bidders can participate in these bids to purchase the fully-depreciated and or obsolete assets using the auction mode. The forward auction facility is available for a wide range of product categories including e-waste of electronic and electrical equipment, land and buildings (industrial, commercial and residential), machinery (electric, industrial and non-electrical), scrap/ disposal of lube/ waste oil, metallic, non-metallic, usable and scrap vehicles and other items of monetary value for reuse.

The “buyback option” presently available in 37+ product categories permits sellers to quote the price of new goods along with the price offered for old goods as buy back. Government buyers can now exercise this option at the time of creating bids on GeM to dispose their obsolete assets and procure new products.

Several PSUs, government ministries, state departments and municipal corporations have started considering environmental and energy efficiency criteria in their procurement decisions. Procurement of environmentally friendly products and services has a cascading effect through reduction in waste-generation, lower water consumption, efficient energy consumption and reduced carbon emissions, thereby ensuring fair and sustainable economic growth and delivery of social benefits. GeM will collaborate with UNEP and fellow partners in supporting, promoting and synergizing the Sustainable Public Procurement [SPP] initiative of the Government of India.