Menu image/svg+xml

Biodiversity Criteria in Public Procurement IIFurther development and practical concretization of biodiversity criteria in selected public procurement product groups of the German Federal Government

There is high pressure to achieve an immediate and substantial change towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. This also applies to biological diversity: the production and consumption patterns prevailing in industrialized and emerging countries are rapidly destroying natural and semi-natural ecosystems, and biodiversity is dwindling. Therefore, the German Federal Government has adopted two important implementation processes that include the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity: the National Biodiversity Strategy and the National Sustainability Strategy. The public sector has an important role to play in implementing these strategies.

In the 2016-2017 project “Procurement Specifications Considering Biodiversity – Feasibility Study and Action Plans for German Public Procurement and the Construction Sector”, IÖW and partners examined how biodiversity as a protected good can be systematically defined in the course of revising existing standards and environmental labels – and how it can become an integral part of public procurement requirements. The project team developed governmental action plans to enforce biodiversity in federal procurement. These action plans address various product groups, including food/catering services and paper products. The plans describe activities and processes that aim to integrate biodiversity-enhancing requirements by 2020 into

  • specifications of public tenders on German federal level,
  • conditions of execution and delivery set by the German federal administration, and
  • product-related environmental labelling systems.


The current research project supports establishing the procurement of biodiversity-friendly paper products and food/catering services in federal procurement practice. Therefore, its central objective is to develop proposals for a draft general administrative regulation in the respective product group or service sector. Administrative regulations can be issued in order to ensure uniform application of the law by the authorities (in this case the federal public authorities pursuant to Article 86 sentence 1 GG). Such discretionary general administrative regulations provide for a uniform exercise of discretion by the respective procurement authorities. The provisions are addressed directly only to the responsible bodies and are only of indirect significance for the bidding companies in terms of a claim to equal treatment.