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Introducing the Green Public Criteria to Extend Lifetime of ICT  

Brought to you by Katja Zajko from RECOSI Refresh IT 

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and an increasing focus on sustainability, refurbished Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment has emerged as a compelling alternative to new devices. These repurposed devices provide substantial advantages, ranging from cost reductions and environmental preservation to promoting a more inclusive digital environment. The future of the refurbished ICT market looks promising, and one of the key factors likely to drive its growth is government regulations and policies, which are expected to support the market’s expansion. A notable initiative in this context is the European Union Green Public Procurement (EU GPP) criteria, which aims to extend the lifetime of ICT equipment through sustainable procurement practices. 

In March 2021, the EU has introduced new EU GPP criteria for computers, monitors, tablets and smartphones to encourage sustainable purchasing practices among public organisations. These criteria aim to extend the lifespan of ICT devices in the public sector, reduce e-waste, and promote the circular economy. This approach not only supports environmental sustainability but also encourages market transformation toward greener products. The GPP Criteria suggest that this should be requested by a separate procurement route from the one used for brand new products. Quality control procedures and a minimum warranty or service requirement can ensure the minimum quality of the equipment delivered as part of the contract . 

The EU Green Public Criteria for ICT equipment focus on several key areas: 

  • a more reliable design, including resistance to damage and wear, and a longer battery endurance (in cycles); 
  • repair and upgrade features (e.g. key components are easy to be replaced); 
  • long term support (warranty and service agreement, availability of spare parts, software updates and information); 
  • sufficient adaptability to future conditions of use (e.g. standardised components and ports, upgradable components as storage drives and RAM); 
  • reusability at the end of the first useful life (e.g. software to ensure a secure data deletion); 
  • refurbished / remanufactured devices that have been fully checked, serviced and upgraded devices that have been fully checked, serviced and upgraded. 

The increasing popularity of refurbished ICT equipment highlights the advantages of sustainable technology practices. The EU Green Public Procurement criteria are crucial in promoting these practices by establishing standards that extend the lifespan of ICT equipment, reduce e-waste, and support the circular economy. The use of the EU GPP Criteria is currently voluntary: they can be, if deemed appropriate by the individual authority, integrated into their tender documents. By adopting these criteria, public organisations not only contribute to protect environment but also set a positive example for other sectors to follow.