At the beginning of January, the German Federal Government published the "Guideline for sustainable textile procurement“. The guideline is aimed at federal authorities, federal states and municipalities and is one of the measures of the step-by-step plan for sustainable textile procurement of the federal administration.
Public procurement agencies have a high demand for textile products of all kinds. Their procurement volume and buying power are correspondingly high, especially in the three product categories of apparel textiles and linen, bedding and mattresses. The new guideline focuses on these categories and provides support for sustainable procurement.
The guideline defines sustainable textile procurement as the procurement of textiles "that deliver long-term social, economic and environmental benefits along their entire value chain and life cycle compared to an alternative product." To this end, the guideline draws on clear social and environmental sustainability criteria that are also recognised and recommended by the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Partnership members already had the opportunity to comment on the draft guideline in 2016.
In a press release, German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller said the German government was sending a clear signal:
"From now on, clear sustainability criteria will apply to public textile procurement - whether it's police uniforms or doctors' gowns. The new guideline also sends a signal to companies: Sustainability is a competitive advantage! The procurement volume of the federal, state and local governments in Germany amounts to 500 billion euros per year. That's a huge lever that we need to use of in order to make supply chains sustainable."