LCQ19: Promoting green procurement

     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Siu-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Environment and Ecology, Mr Tse Chin-wan, in the Legislative Council today (November 8):
     According to government information, there are already 183 items of products and services with green specifications, which are under 24 categories, on the current green procurement list of the Government. On promoting green procurement, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the Government's annual expenditure on green procurement in the past five years; whether it has plans to expand the categories of products and services covered by the green procurement list;
(2) given that the Government's long-term target is to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, of the measures the Government has put in place to facilitate the achievement of the carbon neutrality target in the aspect of the Government's procurement work, in addition to requiring various policy bureaux and government departments to include green specifications in drawing up tender specifications in the Stores and Procurement Regulations; and
(3) of the further plans to encourage public organisations to implement green procurement?
     The Government has all along led by example by adopting green procurement for implementation of the concept of environmental protection. The Government's Stores and Procurement Regulations require bureaux and departments (B/Ds) to take environmental factors into consideration in drawing up tender specifications, so as to allow for fair competition of compliant products and services on a cost-effective basis, thereby promoting green procurement while ensuring the prudent use of public funds. Having regard to the practices and standards generally adopted in the market, the Environment and Ecology Bureau (EEB) has developed a set of green specifications and guidelines for the products and services commonly used by the Government, so that B/Ds may practise green procurement in accordance with the relevant specifications. Since 2000, the Government has introduced a green procurement list, setting out products with green specifications therein. In light of market development over the years, the Government has gradually expanded the green procurement list to cover suitable new products and services, and updated relevant green specifications. In addition, the EEB has also developed easy-to-use green procurement tips for designated products and services to assist B/Ds in carrying out small amount purchases (i.e. value not exceeding $50,000 per order).
     The reply to the question raised by the Hon Chan Siu-hung is set out below.
(1) The total annual expenditure on green procurement by government B/Ds in the past five years is tabulated as follows:
Year Total Expenditure ($ billion)
2018 1.77
2019 2.02
2020 1.55
2021 2.80
2022 6.63

     In July 2021, the Government further expanded the scope of green procurement by increasing the number of products and services covered in the green procurement list from 150 items to 183 items, as well as updating the green specifications of each item and providing more green procurement tips. In 2022, government B/Ds altogether procured green products and services with a total value of $6.63 billion, which is an increase of over 1.3 times as compared to $2.80 billion in 2021. The Government will review the green procurement list from time to time to keep abreast of the latest market development and the procurement needs of B/Ds.
(2) and (3) The Government has all along encouraged all sectors of the community, including public and private organisations, to join hands in the procurement of products and services that incur minimal adverse environmental impacts (including decarbonisation, reduction in air pollutant emissions and waste reduction). As many of these products are made of recycled materials, practising green procurement can boost the demand for recycled materials and create business opportunities for the recycling industry, thereby fostering a circular economy. To promote green procurement, the Government has uploaded the latest green procurement list and the relevant specifications, green procurement tips as well as local and international best practices onto the EEB's website for reference by the public. The Government also encourages about 60 "Carbon Neutrality" partners from various sectors, including property development, public utilities, finance and professional bodies, to take the lead in supporting the implementation of green procurement. Some enterprises are also willing to make available to the public their targets and efforts in green procurement.
     The Government will continue to promote and publicise green procurement to public and private organisations. Apart from disseminating the green procurement list and other practical information through the information portal, the Government has also encouraged trade associations and organisations to formulate trade-specific green procurement guidelines based on the trades' actual situations and needs, with a view to promoting the implementation of green procurement to all sectors of the community. With concerted efforts of the Government and the community in practising green procurement, we hope to boost the market demand for green products and services, as well as to facilitate the development of a circular economy, thereby further fostering the achievement of carbon neutrality.

Ends/Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:00