City of Växjö (Sweden)
The City of Växjö is a midsized city of 93 000 inhabitants, located in the Swedish province Kronobergs län. It has strong ambitions to achieve sustainability goals in all sectors. Växjö first committed to becoming a fossil fuel free city in 1996, which it aims to achieve by 2030. It was also one of the first municipalities in Europe to sign up to the Covenant of Mayors, and in 2018 it was awarded the European Green Leaf Award in recognition of its environmental achievements.
The city is responsible for food purchases to provide schools, pre-schools and nursery homes with daily meals. One of Växjö’s environmental goals is to increase the share of organically produced food to at least 80% by 2020 while also reducing transport and packaging associated with food production and delivery.
Växjö has already invested in measures that enable procurers to choose organic options in as many product categories as possible when ordering food. For example, it introduced an electronic procurement system, which is used for all purchases regardless of product category. Suppliers can mark organic products with a green symbol to make it easy for staff to find and choose organic options. It has also set up a consolidation centre to distribute the food within the municipality, after it has been delivered by the suppliers. This approach makes the transport of food more efficient and thus less CO2 intense.
In addition, in order to encourage smaller suppliers to bid for public food contracts, Växjö has chosen to split up the supply of meat and eggs from other wholesale food products. In early 2019, the city published a call for tender specifically for the supply of eggs. The tender covered a supply of about 69,000 kg of eggs, based on past demand. The tender was divisible – bidders could choose to submit bids that only cover some of the sub-municipalities demand, and several suppliers could win the tender.
Subject matter of the contract:
The supply of eggs for the city of Växjö and its sub-municipalities.
The tender process was divided into two stages. During the qualification stage, bids were evaluated based on their eligibility to participate in the tender. Bidders had to meet the formal criteria to participate, and needed to prove their financial, technical and professional capacity.
As a proof of technical capacity, bidders needed to include a brief description of their capacity to meet the needs of the contracting authority under the conditions set out in the procurement document, and include an overview of the professional ability of the staff working on the contract.
All tenders that met the formal criteria were allowed on to the evaluation stage.
Tenderers had to meet all criteria listed in the technical specifications:
• The offered products needed to comply with all European and Swedish regulations on food packaging, labelling, safety and quality
• Products must have two thirds of their shelf life remaining upon delivery
• Bidders needed to provide proof of origin, indicating the country in which the eggs are produced
• Eggs have to meet the criteria of Regulation (EC) 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products, which could be verified with a certification system that meets this requirement, e.g. the EU Organic Production Certificate.
• The eggs have to come from laying hens that do not receive feed containing synthetic dyes
• Laying hens cannot be subject to beak trimming (this requirement also includes the parent generation)
• The use of antibiotics for purposes other than the treatment of illness is not allowed, and any use of antibiotics needs to be documented.
In addition to the requirement for organic production, bidders also needed to ensure the following:
• Chickens should be able to stay outside for most of the day for at least four consecutive months between May and September. The stall must be open at least 12 hours a day.
• Chickens should have access to overgrown pasture.
• Chickens should be able to sand (a natural behaviour for self-cleaning), for example outdoors or in a bed.
• Laying hens need to have access to outdoor play during most of the day during the summer.
“Using the consolidation centre has reduced the number of all food and other deliveries from 1900 to 350 per week.”
The tender was awarded to the lowest bidder. Bidders could choose to bid for the entire tender or several lots within the tender. The lots were divided by sub-municipalities within the Municipality of Växjö. For each sub-municipality, the contracting authority could award up to three suppliers until the target volume for the supply of eggs was met.
The City of Växjö received one bid for this tender. The low number of bids is was due to the immature supplier market, who in part lack the skills to bid in public tenders. The bidder, Växjö Partiaffär AB, was able to meet the selection criteria as well as the technical specifications and was therefore awarded the contract. The supplier committed to supplying 100% organically produced eggs and to fulfil the additional conditions as set out in the tender documents. The contract was awarded for a duration of two years. The supplier has to verify compliance with these conditions by showing that they have a quality management system that is in line with i.e. the Swedish “Svenska Egg” Animal Care Programme, as well as proof by means of certification that shows that the requirements are met. This can be certification such as the Swedish “KRAV organic” or equivalent. Contract performance will also be checked by regular visits to the egg supplier to collect samples. In addition, the supplier needs to supply monthly statistics about the purchases made by the City of Växjö. The contract value is about 7 million Swedish crowns (over €661,000) for the entire contract, for about 69,560 kg of eggs per year (or around €0.28 per egg). This number can vary based on the actual amount of food ordered.
As a result, not only of this tender but of a wider procurement approach to increase the share of organically produced food, in 2018, the City of Växjö achieved a share of 42% organically produced products offered in public school, preschool and nursing home canteens. Including other egg supply contracts, which do not yet supply 100% organically produced eggs, the total supply of eggs for the city of Växjö will be about 82% organic as of 2020. Organically produced food is associated with a range of environmental and health benefits. It promotes the responsible use of energy and natural resources, contributes to maintaining biodiversity, enhances soil fertility, and
can contribute to enhanced water quality.
The eggs, as well as other food procured by the city of Växjö and its sub-municipalities are transported to a local food consolidation centre, which the city uses to distribute food locally. Using the consolidation centre has reduced the number of all food and other deliveries from 1900 to 350 per week. The city estimates that 175 tonnes of CO2
emission savings have also resulted from this approach, in combination with using a high quality transport car fleet fuelled with Hidrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a synthetic diesel fuel which lowers CO2 emissions further.
Throughout the process of greening their food offer, the City of Växjö has learned that it is possible to use procurement to achieve sustainability goals. They realised that innovative tender procedures can be used to encourage smaller food producers to submit bids, while increasing the share of organic food offered. However, for this tender, only one bid by a major supplier was received. The city concluded that for upcoming tenders they should be more informative, write simpler tenders, and have more dialog with smaller suppliers.
The Municipality also realised that it is key to support their own procurers in making greener decisions by providing accessible information about products, which is currently achieved by marking them with a green sign in the electronic ordering system. This helps support the municipality’s goal to increase the share of organic food products to up to 80% in the coming years.
The City of Växjö is also planning to put a second consolidation centre into operation to reduce food transport related CO2 emissions as much as possible.