On 6 February 2023 the Public Procurement Office (“PPO”) published three documents comprising a package of good practices for environmental and social criteria for bid evaluation. The publication contains sample solutions that should help contracting authorities to achieve social and environmental objectives in public procurement, as well as a discussion of the legal basis and current case law in this area. For businesses participating in tenders, the publication can provide guidance on what criteria to expect and how to prepare to meet them.
The PPO explains that social and environmental aspects of public procurement may be defined within: (1) the requirements for the performance of the contract, (2) the description of the subject matter of the contract, (3) the conditions for participating in the procedure, (4) the optional grounds for exclusion from the contract award procedure, and (5) the bid evaluation criteria.
The solutions proposed by the PPO include draft provisions in the bid submission form, sample provisions of the public procurement contract, as well as draft acceptance and inspection protocols. The publication also lists the admissible means of proof for each criterion that contracting authorities may require in order to confirm that the contractor meets the bid requirements.
Environmental criteria for evaluating bids
In the document, the PPO includes a detailed elaboration of eleven environmental criteria that can be taken into account in public tenders. Among these are criteria concerning:
- the energy efficiency of the building,
- CO2 and pollutant emissions from motor vehicles,
- environmental technical performance of the vehicles used to carry out the contract,
- environmental education on municipal waste collection,
- the supply or use of products produced in accordance with the requirements of organic production,
- that the products offered bear the label of sustainable IT equipment.
With regard to the energy efficiency criterion of the building, the PPO pointed out that it is possible to award points in the evaluation of bids for achieving a higher level of energy performance than indicated in the contract description.
The PPO also pointed out that the criterion for evaluating bids as regards CO2 and pollutant emissions of motor vehicles may be particularly applicable to contracts for the supply of mHEV, HEV or PHEV (Plug-in) hybrid vehicles. The consideration of such factors remains purely voluntary - there is currently no obligation to take into account factors relating to energy consumption, CO2 and pollutant emissions as part of the bid evaluation criteria for the procurement of motor vehicles.
Social criteria for evaluating bids
The PPO lists a number of social criteria for the evaluation of bids, which it has classified into six main categories of criteria relating to:
- professional and social integration of socially marginalised persons,
- providing training for those involved in carrying out the contract,
- promoting equal pay,
- references to social labels and the social standards set out in social labels,
- taking into account special dietary needs,
- ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities at a level higher than the mandatory requirements defined under public procurement law.
With regard to the professional and social integration of socially marginalised persons, the PPO pointed out that the contracting authority should clarify the manner in which such persons are employed, i.e. whether “employment” is to be understood as employment on the basis of an employment relationship only or also employment on the basis of a civil law contract.
According to the publication, if the requirements related to the fulfilment of special dietary needs arise from the specific nature of the subject matter of the contract and are necessary for the proper performance of the contract - e.g. the contract will be performed for the needs of hospital patients - then specifying this issue within the contract evaluation criteria will not be sufficient. In such a situation, the special dietary requirements should be formulated as mandatory requirements as part of the description of the subject matter of the contract.
With regard to the criteria for the promotion of equal pay, the contracting authority may assess the various actions undertaken by the contractor to combat discrimination and promote equality. These measures could include, for example, management training or guaranteeing flexible working arrangements.
A special feature of so-called socially responsible public procurement is that it takes into account not only the interests of the contracting authority, but also the pursuit of desired social objectives. At the same time as meeting the needs of the contracting authority, so-called green procurement can help to achieve environmental and climate protection goals. The PPO’s publication is a helpful study for the application of social and environmental criteria in practice.
Introduction to social and environmental bid evaluation criteria - package of good practices (PL)
Good practices for social bid evaluation criteria (PL)
Good practices for environmental bid evaluation criteria (PL)