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Promoting life cycle thinking: a training of public officers for green public procurement

Scalabrino, Chiara; Navarrete Salvador, Antonio; Oliva Martinez, Jose M.

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

Several European Union (EU) policy tools, like Green Public Procurement (GPP) or the EU Ecolabel, aim to reduce the impacts of products along the whole life cycle. Nevertheless, despite having existed for decades, we observed that their use is not yet widespread, also in institutions that have environmental protection as a mission. This study aims at exploring the impact of an experimental training course (“Introduction to the Circular Economy and Life Cycle Thinking”) delivered to a group of public servants by looking at the group’s comprehension and value given to the importance and feasibility of activating more Sustainable Consumption and Production patterns, such as GPP. The course design was based on the research and practice framework provided by Education for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ESCP). This was drawn from an idea of transformative Education for Sustainability (ES), seen from a constructivist, critical and complex perspective. Particular attention was given both to the cognitive and emotional aspects of the learning process. Thus, the course was specifically tailored to the participants. The different training sessions were carried out in 2018 and involved a total of 95 public servants. Mainly qualitative methods (document analysis, observation, quantitative and qualitative questionnaires) were used for the research. The findings show that the learning activities, which designed, performed and evaluated in this study using ESCP principles, are valuable to draw the participants’ attention to many sustainability topics that they are rarely exposed to. Moreover, they demonstrate to contribute to inspire sustainable actions. Overall, further research and implementation of extended processes of this kind should benefit the innovation of professional training and accelerate the transition from a linear to a Circular Economy (CE).