The project has been started in the framework of the programme „Better Application of Environmental Management Principles in the Public Sector”. One of the aims of this project is to improve environmentally sound procurements in the public sector of Estonia.
The intention is to reach by 2014 a situation in which the share of environmentally sustainable procurements in the public sector is at least 10%. For this purpose, trainings are organised for local government and state authorities’ specialists, explaining the concept of an environmentally sound procurement, possibilities for conducting this, etc. Thereby, the instructions of the environmentally sound public procurements approved by the European Union are helped to be organised and fit into Estonian context.
Environmental management development programme for the public sector
Public sector with its orders is the largest consumer and the customer of construction works. Also, public sector influences the environment through planning activities. One possibility to take the environment into account in its activity is to use environmental management.
The use of environmental management commenced at enterprises in the last quarter of the previous century, when the importance of saving the environment was acknowledged in society. Initially, environmental management was integrated into the general quality management of enterprises; later, standards were already developed. International Organization for Standardization, ISO, has compiled environmental management standards ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
At the end of the previous century, the European Commission developed its environmental management system EMAS (Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme). While the standards of the ISO series were intended mainly for industrial undertakings, the environmental management system EMAS can be used both at state and local government institutions. The EMAS-system has been applied to use in the institutions of the public sector in many European countries.
Both activities for improving environmental management as well as direct support for using environmental management in local governments, institutions in their administrative field, or state institutions have been prescribed. In addition to environmental management, the application of environmentally sound procurements into use is being supported.
In order to develop measures for improving environmental management, an environmental management plan up to 2020 will be started to be compiled. To ensure the readiness of officials, the study of environmental management, environmentally sound procurements and energy saving will commence, lasting until the end of the programme.
Supporting the popularity of environmental management
In supporting the popularity of environmental management, the basis does not only comprise performing ISO 14001 or EMAS-systems, but support is also provided to increase the popularity of easier systems, following the principles of the systems mentioned before.
As for environmentally sound procurements, eight European Union instructions approved by now will be adjusted in 2010 to suit the Estonian context (two of them will be adjusted in the framework of the Norwegian help project); on the basis of these, procurement annexes are compiled for procurement specialists.
The better implementation of the principles of environmental monitoring in public sector is financed to 85 percent by the European Union Social Fund.