Procurement of Eco-innovative School Catering Services

The school catering service of the City of Turin (Italy) caters for the city’s 360 primary, secondary and nursery schools. It supplies approximately 50,000 meals daily, amounting to over eight million meals per year. The meals service as well as the preparation and delivery of meals is carried out by ISO 9001 certified companies.

This was achieved through a public tender published by the City in 2013 which included several environmental requirements, such as the provision of organic or fair trade fruit and vegetables, the provision of drinking water from the public water network (to avoid the use of plastic bottles), the use of reusable dishes (dishes, glasses, cutlery), the use of more environmentally friendly modes of transportation for the delivery services (such as natural gas-fuelled vehicles), the procurement of school kitchen appliances based on energy efficient and energy saving criteria, the efficient handling of waste (including the redistribution of leftover food to people in need) as well as ecological packaging (avoidance of single packaging, use of eco-labelled and biodegradable packaging materials). 

What activities did Turin undertake?

As part of the INNOCAT project, Turin committed to fostering its sustainable procurement approach and defining specific indicators to objectively measure its current environmental achievements compared to to the previous year. The Chemical Laboratory of Turin Chamber of Commerce was tasked with monitoring the current school catering sector and a carbon footprint analysis of the current contract was then carried out by the University of Turin. These monitoring results will be used to identify further areas in which sustainability can be improved. Turin will include these insights in a set of specifications and award criteria which will form Official Guidelines for the eco-innovative procurement of school catering services in Torino. These guidelines will be adopted as an official political act before the end of the project and will be used in the next school catering procurement scheduled for 2018.

In order to assess the market potential and to raise market awareness of eco-innovative demand, the City of Turin participated and organised a number of events. In October 2014 the City of Turin attended the CompraVerde BuyGreen Forum in Rome. A market engagement event was held on November 19 2014 in the City of Turin, Italy to which both public authorities interested in procuring sustainable catering services for schools and suppliers of sustainable catering services were invited. In April 2015 the City of Turin is organising a further market engagement event in Turin in order to share the results of the carbon footprint study and to discuss with suppliers and other stakeholders working in the school catering sector the available eco-innovative solutions in the area. Further information on the event and on the possibility of participation can be found here.

Engaging with suppliers

The City of Turin published a PIN and a Market Sounding Prospectus in order to provide clear information to the market on their eco-innovative requirements well in advance of the next tender.

The City of Turin also collaborated with Ecosistemi to implement a helpdesk ( which ran until March 2016. The helpdesk aims to raise awareness of businesses regarding the importance and potential of sustainability. It is open to both local governments and businesses and aims to increase cooperation between different stakeholders acting in the catering sector.

What were the results?

The results of this procurement process were published in the last INNOCAT newsletter.

> Available here