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Advancing Sustainable Infrastructure

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Traditionally, procurement in the construction and civil works domain has been multifaceted, involving various stages from project conception to execution. In Section 1.4 of the GPP Action Plan ‘Ireland’s commitment on Green Public Procurement’, the key objectives outlined (relevant to infrastructure) are to:

  • Ensure GPP is a core and integral component of the public procurement process and associated governance structures in Ireland.
  • Set out measures to ensure that all procurement using public funds include green criteria, where possible.

The headline categories for the measures are likely to be carbon accounting, social value and value for money. As the Infrastructure Guidelines are applied, comparable and consistent measures will be key to understanding the impact of GPP over time.

The execution will rely on infrastructure owners’ capability to develop strategies in line with the pressure to quantify carbon emissions and report on a wide range of Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG) metrics to address the objectives of the GPP.

Ensuring the supply chain meets the GPP requirements will be critical and resourcing this will be a challenge. Inability to do so will result in a low/non-existent supply of services that will reduce the impact of Ireland’s sustainability agenda and potentially result in a failure to provide the necessary infrastructure to meet current and future societal needs.

To add to this challenge, the procurement and tender process needs to be mindful of the capability of the supply chain and not introduce tender award criteria too soon or without advance notice to allow the supply chain to upskill, prepare and transition more sustainable ways of working and delivering infrastructure projects. 

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