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How Will the Adoption of Mandatory GPP Criteria Change the Game?

Lessons from the Italian Experience


Aura Iurascu


This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Licence Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Keywords: GPP criteria, sustainable public procurement, mandatory minimum environmental criteria, Italian public procurement law, ineffectiveness of public contract

With the 2003 Communication on Integrated Product Policy, the European Commission started focusing more on ‘greening’ Member States’ public procurement law, by encouraging the adoption of National Action Plans (NAPs). Subsequently, with the 2008 Communication, green public procurement (GPP) criteria were developed. Since then, the Commission has developed more than 20 standard GPP criteria, which are currently applied voluntarily. Recently, the EU Commission indicated that they are working on mandating GPP criteria and several legislative proposals are foreseeing the setup of mandatory EU GPP criteria for all Member States. Some domestic legislations have already introduced mandatory GPP criteria. In particular, the Italian legislator followed up the Commission’s initiative on NAPs, and adopted mandatory minimum environmental criteria (MECs) for 18 purchasing categories. This article aims to describe and compare the evolution of GPP criteria in the EU and Italy to illustrate and anticipate possible outcomes for the forthcoming mandatory GPP at the EU level. By doing so, the paper emphasises the prominent role played by the Italian Council of State in ensuring the mandatory minimum for environmental criteria in Italian law. Finally, it argues that the Italian approach, which uses the ineffectiveness of the contract as a general and well-established remedy, has proven successful in ensuring the enforcement of MECs.
Keywords: GPP criteria; sustainable public procurement; mandatory minimum environmental criteria; Italian public procurement law; ineffectiveness of public contract

Aura Iurascu, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Hasselt University. This PhD is part of the SAPIENS Network project. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement, No. 956696.


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