Best practice reports

Market engagement report

This Collection of Good Practice Cases on Engaging the Market in Public Procurement seeks to assist public procurement professionals in conducting effective market engagement. They aim to increase confidence in conducting market engagement activities, and provide evidence in how effective these activities can be.

There is a perception among many public procurement professionals that engaging with the market endangers transparency and introduces bias into the procurement process. However, conducted appropriately, market engagement can be delivered well within the bounds of the European Union’s Directives on Public Procurement.

The case studies in this collection present a range of approaches, which can be used for engaging the market in different circumstances and for different purposes. Not every approach will be suitable for every procurement, and not every procurement will require market engagement. This collection shows what can be achieved when the right methodology is used in the right circumstances.

School catering report

Published in August 2015, the INNOCAT Good Practice Report on Sustainable Public Procurement of School Catering Services highlights the many clever and innovative approaches being used by European public authorities to procure more environmentally and socially sustainable, and innovative catering services.

The report includes a number best practice case studies from cities across Europe, including Malmö (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Torino (Italy) and East Ayrshire (Scotland), and also provides a wealth of ideas, inspiration and further resources for those who are involved in the procurement of food and catering services for schools.

Many of the examples in the report come from the INNOCAT City Interest Group, a group co-ordinated by ICLEI which includes the Procura+ Campaign participants Copenhagen, Malmö, Helsinki and Ghent and INNOCAT partner the City of Turin. In a series of webinars and face to face meetings, the group discusses their achievements, goals and the challenges they face as they strive to procure sustainable catering services.

Expert opinion

Modelling, assessing, and ranking public procurement options for a climate-friendly catering service

Several scientific papers and technical reports have discussed the role of green public procurement in the food sector. Different strategies for the restoration sector have been identified. However, there is not yet a common understanding of which policies could be the most efficient in reducing the global warming potential of the public restoration service. This paper assesses a set of procurement policies, ranking them according to their potential to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of public catering.

The Paper is open-source and is available online (at no charge) through the Springer International Publishing AG website.

To read the paper, click here.

Authors: Cerutti, A.K., Ardente, F., Contu, S. et al. Int J Life Cycle Assess (2017). doi:10.1007/s11367-017-1306-y. First online 24 March 2017.

Interview with Professor Roberta Sonnino

Roberta Sonnino is a Professor in the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff University, where she directs the Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food and the MSc course Food, Space and Society.

In this interview for the INNOCAT project, Prof. Sonnino draws on her extensive research and work with cities in Europe and the USA to provide practical advice for all local authorities grappling with sustainable food procurement.

We asked her to to share some insights on the biggest current issues facing local authorities when procuring food and catering services: in the face of ever smaller budgets and an increasing pressure to 'buy local', how can public authorities work within the EU legal framework to procure affordable, nutritious and sustainable meals?

 To read the interview in full, click here.


 Carbon footprint analysis by Dr Alessandro Cerutti


This study by Italian academic Alessandro Cerutti formed part of Turin's work within the INNOCAT project. Mr Cerutti calculated the carbon footprint of five products purchased by the city of Turin (Italy).

The products – potatoes, apples, carrots, pears and peaches - were chosen because they were the most commonly used by the city’s school catering service. Only fruit and vegetable products were used for the study, as these were the only products covered by all three of the city’s GPP policies (organic produce, short supply chains and use of CNG vehicles for delivery).

To read the article in full, click here.


Case Studies


In total, 40,000 school meals are served in Malmö each day and €15 million is spent on food from the wholesale provider each year. Levels of spend are high enough, and competition on the market strong enough, to drive the market towards offering better value, sustainable products.

By carefully recalibrating its menus, Malmö has reduced the emissions of its catering service by 5% and increase the amount of organic food purchased to 44% so far. Read more...


In 2013, the Municipality of Copenhagen published a public tender for a framework contract to procure 100% organic, seasonal fruit and vegetables. In order to manage costs, an excel tool known as the Food Basket was developed to help balance costs for the different types of food purchased.

Suppliers were obliged to help protect the environment by using raw materials and vehicles which resulted in the least possible environmental pollution and impact. Read more...


School catering represents a significant part of the procurement budget for the City of Turin. On average 8 million meals are delivered each year, with an annual cost of approximately 40 million EUR.

Turin has been monitoring the carbon emissions of its current contract in order to create a set of guildelines which will ensure future catering procurements use evidence-based criteria to ensure greater sustainability. Read more...

East Ayrshire

The county of East Ayrshire has been working on improving the sustainability of its school meals since 2004, making it perhaps the earliest sustainable school food service in the United Kingdom.

In order to encourage smaller suppliers, the county's food contract is broken down into a number of individual lots, with award criteria divided equally between cost and quality considerations. Read more...