Big Buyers Working Together for greater impact
What is Big Buyers Working Together?
Public procurement can be a key tool in driving the development of innovative goods and services on the European market. The European Commission has decided to launch the “Big Buyers Working Together” project to support collaboration between public buyers with strong purchasing power and promote the wider use of strategic public procurement for innovative and sustainable solutions. By working together and pooling their resources, cities, central purchasing bodies, and other major public buyers can maximise their market power and impact.
Under the Big Buyers Working Together project ten communities of practice will be created on this platform. Each community of practice will be devoted to the purchase of a specific product, work or service where European collaboration is needed. To support the process of developing more strategic procurement approaches, public buyers will meet regularly online and in person. Additionally, the Big Buyers Working Together Secretariat will facilitate the organising of study visits, market dialogue, producers’ pitching sessions, meetings with industry associations and other events that will respond to identified capacity gaps and community members’ needs.
Members of each Community of Practice will have access to members-only collaboration areas on the Public Buyers Community platform and they will be able to share their experience, jointly address procurement-related challenges their organisations face and contribute to improving market engagement.
Why get involved?
Big Buyers Working Together helps drive market demand for innovative and sustainable products and services in Europe. Each Community of Practice will define its own objectives to effectively address sector-specific opportunities and challenges. For example, members can exchange best practices with peers from across the EU, carry out joint market engagement and share market intelligence, identify and discuss the latest guidance and technical developments and develop joint procurement criteria and strategies.
Who can join?
Big Buyers Working Together gathers public purchasing organisations such as local and regional governments, central purchasing bodies, and other public agencies. Market actors (e.g., producers and suppliers) and industry associations will be invited to join various sessions and events, depending on the focus and needs of the respective Communities of Practice.
Some of the previous Working Groups from Big Buyers for Climate and Environment may see value in continuing their cooperation to work on specific topics more in-depth. Moreover, Communities of Practice that have been already established outside of the Big Buyers umbrella and support, such as the Community of Public Buyers for Solar PV, may wish to continue their work under the Big Buyers Working Together project. Additional Communities may be set up on the basis of needs shared by numerous public buyers as identified through the Needs Assessment. Regardless of its origins, each Community of Practice will define its own collaboration activities aimed at shaping the market to meet their ambitious needs and they will be supported by the Big Buyers Working Together Secretariat throughout the process.
How to join
During spring and summer 2023, public buyers across Europe will have an opportunity to contribute to shaping the main topics that the Communities of Practice will address in detail.
The Needs Assessment identifies whether the groups established under Big Buyers for Climate and Environment will continue to collaborate, whether there are new needs (e.g. the sectors or the main focus areas) which require establishing new groups and choosing new approaches, or whether other existing public buyers’ initiatives can benefit from the support available under Big Buyers Working Together in order to accelerate development of new procurement strategies in their respective areas of focus.
What topics have been addressed so far?
During the previous round of the collaboration, public buyers worked on the following topics:
- electric heavy-duty vehicles for waste collection, street cleaning and maintenance;
- zero-emission construction sites (“Zemcons”);
- digital solutions in the healthcare sector;
- circular construction – roads, infrastructure, public space (with focus on circular asphalt).
The new edition of the collaboration will address even more thematic areas and support buyers over the period of approximately 4 years.
Big Buyers Working Together: successes
Until November 2022, when the previous round of the collaboration was completed, four Working Groups directly engaged with 61 companies and multiple business associations, across 16 market engagement sessions. Members participated in 46 online Working Group meetings, 4 site visits and 3 factory visits. The Groups allowed in-depth exchange of experiences between 60 purchasing entities, with a total procurement budget exceeding €40bn. The new edition of the collaboration will address even more thematic areas and support buyers over the period of approximately 5 years.