Govt Takes The Lead On Green Procurement

The Malaysian government has taken the lead in greening their value chain by being among the first to adopt the government green procurement (GGP) action plan on July 10.

The six “big-spender” ministries in terms of procurement — namely the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Works, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs — are said to have been among the first to adopt and will be moving into implementation of the action plan, said a source close to the government.

The action plan is currently being fine-tuned for implementation. Earlier, in a separate interview with The Malaysian Reserve, Switch-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) policy support Malaysia team leader Gerhard Weihs said that it is crucial for the public sector to first adopt and implement the action plan since 20% of current gross domestic product (GDP) goes to government spending.

“Hence, GGP is the only natural way to go.” Yet, Weihs cautions that it will not reap overnight rewards as it is a complex plan since there are technical and economical aspects to take into account.

“What Malaysia has is a strong vision and commitment from the government towards this,” he said, adding that the industry will follow suit in terms of green procurement once the government has set the tone in doing so.

Taking the lead are the cochairs of the GGP steering committee — Finance Ministry, through its procurement department, Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry and Malaysian Green Technology Corp.

These will commence with sustainable initiatives and pilot projects, which are expected to be implemented within the next one and half years. Weihs said the GGP action plan will cover short-term action plans that are scheduled for completion by December 2014, and long-term action plans that are expected to stretch up to 2020.

The GGP is part of the initiatives under the SCP policy framework put into place that was put together since February last year under SCP Policy Support Malaysia’s project that ends in 2016. The overarching project that has received funding of €2 million (RM8.73 million) from Switch-Asia Programme — a network facility that connects project, policymakers and stakeholders in the world of SCP.

The Economic Planning Unit (EPU), which hosts SCP policy project team, is the national focal point for SCP. “EPU is the central agency with the capacity to coordinate, synchronise policies and instruments,” he said.

The SCP policy framework, he said, which will eventually become the national SCP blueprint and will be the basis of SCP input into the 11th Malaysia Plan aims to strengthen the existing policy framework to minimise the use of natural resources and to reduce emissions, waste and pollutants.
“Malaysia has very rich policy frameworks in place for green economy and SCP but these are very fragmented currently,” he said, adding that many agencies continue to work solo rather than coordinate and be cohesive in their efforts.

These should translate into increasing wealth and quality of life along the lifecycle of SCP — from raw materials (at source), to production/manufacturing, delivery, use, recycling, and waste management.

Under this policy framework, four key sectors of sustainability will be addressed namely on building, food, transport and tourism. The action plan provides a brief introduction of the potential scope and benefits of GGP, detailing the current situation in Malaysia illustrating existing policy context, the legal situation, developments in government procurement as well as existing GGP initiatives.

“The action plan also narrates Malaysia’s vision in regard to GGP and describes the short-term objectives,” — the list of activities, the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms as well as a synoptic overview of the responsibilities and timelines involved.

In terms of addressing the consumption and behaviourial patterns, SCP will address sustainable purchasing, sustainable use and sustainable disposal at consumer-level, while tackling issues of sustainability in sourcing, production-operation, distribution, products and services and waste management at the industrial level.

By Linda Archibald, at The Malaysian Reserve.