Following on from the Berlin Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (1999) and Berlin Waste Management Strategy (2011), whose main objective is to develop a modern, closed-loop waste management system, the City of Berlin has implemented measures and initiatives to help increase the recycled waste quantity from 445,000 tonnes in 1996 (20.9% of total waste) to 624,000 tonnes in 2012 (42.2%).xxvii The Strategy further sets ambitious climate protection targets, including that of additional annual reduction of 1.1 million tonnes of CO2e by 2020 (about 25% of the reduction in total Berlin’s GHG emissions over 2010-2020). This is to be achieved not only through high-quality recycling and cleaner recovery of waste, but also through an improved, environmentally responsible public procurement system, valued at EUR 4-5 billion annually across the city government agencies.

In 2010 the Berlin House of Representatives passed the Berlin Public Procurement Act (BerlAVG). This obliges all public purchasing offices in Berlin to take environmental criteria into consideration for their procurement, including lifecycle costs. In 2013, the “Decree on the application of regulations for environmentally-friendly purchases and order placements for deliveries, construction work and services” (VwVBU)xxviii came into force. It establishes minimum environmental criteria for the acquisition of relevant products, construction work and services in the form of datasheets, constraints on purchases, and specifications for the evaluation of tenders by calculating lifecycle costs for electric appliances, vehicles, and buildings.



With this administrative regulation in place, municipal bodies have become a driving force for innovation in numerous sectors by promoting the use of sustainable, energy-efficient products which have a limited lifecycle impact on the climate, the environment and public health, and which are produced under fair labour conditions. The regulation contains stringent environmental criteria, such as minimum standards taking into account lifecycle costs or direct restrictions on certain types of products procurement for office materials, office equipment, cleaning agents and cleaning services, road vehicles, large-scale events, tenders for power supplies, the planning of office buildings, and for the recycling of commercial waste.


Reasons for success

Berlin is taking an active role to contribute towards more efficient manufacturing and product design by including sustainability requirements in all government procurements. The size of the Government as the largest purchasing entity makes it a formidable agent of change, which spreads the benefits to all stakeholders in the production chain.xxix 


C40 Good Practice Guides

C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from. 

The Waste to Resources Good Practice Guide is available for download here.  The full collection of C40 Good Practice Guides is available for download here.  

All references can be found in the full guide.