Assessment of tools for environmentally preferable procurement with a life cycle perspective the case of acquisition in Swedish defence

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Procurement in public and non-public organisations has the potential to influence product development towards more environmentally preferable products. In 2003, public procurement in Sweden was 28% of GDP. Different types of approaches can contribute some knowledge and thereby facilitate the choice of environmentally preferable products. The thesis focuses on procurement in Swedish Defence. According to a decision by the Swedish government in 1998, the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) and Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) are required to take environmental consideration in all phases of the acquisition process. The importance of a life cycle perspective is stressed in several SAF and FMV environmental documents. The starting point of this thesis was that environmental consideration should be taken in the Swedish acquisition of defence materiel, considering the whole life cycle of products. The aim was to produce suggestions for how this can be done.In order to make this suggestion some Ecodesign tools were reviewed and evaluated and two methods for simplified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) were compared. Suggestions of tools and methodology recommendations for environmentally preferable procurement in the Swedish defence are presented. For this purpose qualitative and/or simplified LCAs were suggested. The suggestions have been evaluated through interviews with actors in the process. When a simplified LCA is needed, the MECO assessment is recommended. Methodology recommendations for use of the MECO method in the Swedish Defence are presented. LCA is an appropriate tool for taking environmental consideration into the acquisition process, since it focuses on a product and includes its life cycle. If the environmental work lacks a life cycle perspective, there is a risk that the most significant aspects will not be considered. Four areas for use of LCA in the acquisition process were identified: Learning about environmental aspects of the product; fulfilling requirements from customers; setting environmental requirements; and choosing between alternatives.The actors interviewed were interested in using LCA methods, but there is a need for an initiative by one or several actors if the method is to be used regularly in the process. It is important that the results are communicated within the organisations involved in the procurement process. Environmental consideration should preferably be taken early in the acquisition process and environmental questions should be integrated into other activities of the organisations involved in the procurement process. Such work would be facilitated if there were greater cooperation between the procuring and environmental units, in this case at FMV, SAF and the Swedish Ministry of Defence.