Field: Low carbon, Waste monitoring, Waste reduction
Global Technical function: Promoting sustainable practices, Providing incentives, Responsible purchasing
Technical Function Unit: Disseminating, Procurement of eco-innovation, Sustainability criteria, Sustainable procurement, Sustainable transport
Geographic Area: Europe

Procurement of Eco-Innovative Catering – INNOCAT

INNOCAT – Procurement of Eco-Innovative Catering, aims to encourage responsible purchasing by bringing together a group of public and private buyers to publish a series of tenders for eco-innovative catering products and services. The aim of this project, supported by the EC Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), is to help encourage eco-innovation in the catering sector by providing a sizeable launch market for new solutions.

The challenge

The primary goal of the INNOCAT project is to address catering sector challenges including waste generation, energy use and air pollution associated with transport, through the procurement of eco-innovation. Therefore, INNOCAT particularly seeks to promote reuse and recycling, i.e. sustainable packaging; efficient and low carbon transportation; the use of bio-based products; and achieve energy efficiency and waste reduction.

The INNOCAT Project aims to achieve this by recruiting public and private buyers who will co-operate, and ideally participate, in the development of tenders for a range of products and services; school catering services, vending machines, bio-waste disposal systems and health and welfare catering services.

The measure

The INNOCAT project began in March 2013 and will run for three years. It consists of a team of seven partners, four of which make up the core project buyers group. The project aims to attract further buyers who are interested in joining “Buyers Groups” and in conducting sustainable procurement procedures together. Those who join the Buyers Group for a specific procurement can then choose to enter into a joint procurement with the leading buyer, or can choose to simply follow the procurement process. The Buyers Group may, for example, choose to establish the procurement documentation together, including the sustainability criteria, or they may decide that the lead buyer will prepare and conduct the procurement process on behalf of the Group.

Additionally, the INNOCAT project focuses on disseminating project results as broadly as possible and promoting an active experience exchange between buyers interested in eco-innovative catering. This discussion is facilitated by an online discussion forum.

Lessons learnt

In order to ensure that the INNOCAT project is successful, and that the project is promoting sustainable practices, it is essential that the partners work together and include one another from the very beginning of the procurement process.

Further deployment

The INNOCAT project aims to procure eco-innovative catering solutions, which will be of interest to other public and private buyers who are procuring food and drink, as well as services such as waste disposal, waste monitoringsustainable transport and energy costs, which are linked to the field of catering. Ideally, other organisations will be able to use the experience gained, and sustainability criteria used by the various buyers group, to procure their own eco-innovative solutions. This procurement is a level 3 on the GML scale.