The year 2015 represents the start of a new cycle for the Portuguese economy, after an adjustment period that ran from 2011 to 2014, which required external assistance and a rigid financial policy. The economic deceleration of previous years is still felt in important sectors of the economy – construction and transport – and continues to influence the country’s performance in terms of resource efficiency and climate change. Still, there are some positive signs: improvements in foreign energy dependence and environmental certifications, for instance, as well as emerging eco-innovative sectors which came to fruition – in water efficiency and agriculture, for example. A combination of effects – e.g. a decrease in resource consumption and an improvement in “green” R&D spending, both public and private – has placed the country’s performance in the Eco-innovation Scoreboard slightly above EU average for the 2014-2015 period.

However, the results shown by EIO indicators do not translate into a solid policy framework for eco-innovation, and therefore there is still much to accomplish. Despite significant advances in resource efficiency policies – e.g. Green Growth Commitment, Green Fiscal Reform and PERSU 2020 – eco-innovation is still very much approached as a means to achieve improvements in environmental performance, and not as a means to achieve sustainable growth by all stakeholders in the economy.

Initiatives such as the Ecopol project, or the Ecoprodutin project were fundamental to kick start the necessary network and interaction among different stakeholders to identify the eco-innovation champions, initiatives, products and services, and to demonstrate the benefits for business and the society .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Portugal





portugal_SmartSPP_resizedApplication of the SMART SPP methodology into practice in purchasing energy-efficient public lighting, focusing on techniques to involve the market prior to the call for tenders (in the pre-procurement phase).

Many companies are reluctant to invest in the development of innovative technologies when there is uncertainty about the size of the market for these products.

Public authorities purchase large volumes of these products and they have a responsibility to their communities to reduce the carbon emissions of the products and services they buy. Demand from public authorities for innovative technologies can therefore play an important role in the development and mainstreaming of these technologies.

Public authorities can meet their procurement needs in innovative ways by taking a flexible outcome-based approach and accessing the innovating potential of the market. For example, a public authority may need to purchase a new lighting system for its office buildings with substantially reduced energy consumption, due to political targets on CO2 reduction. Pre-procurement dialogues with technology suppliers and developers will help determine if the market is able to offer more innovative solutions to achieve this outcome than those currently available.

SMART SPP – innovation through sustainable procurement was a European project which promoted the introduction of new, innovative low carbon emission technologies and integrated solutions onto the European market. This was done by encouraging early market engagement between public authority procurers and suppliers and developers of new innovative products and services in the pre-procurement phase of public tenders.

The project was supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe funding programme. It was a multi-partner initiative which involved experts from organisations across Europe.

The Municipal Council of Cascais, the Cascais Energy Agency and the National Laboratory for Energy and Geology (LNEG) have put the SMART SPP methodology into practice in purchasing energy-efficient public lighting, focusing on techniques to involve the market prior to the call for tenders (in the pre-procurement phase).

This approach allowed market-tailored technical specifications to be developed, which avoided complicated tendering procedures and therefore saved time and resources.

Barriers and Drivers

Cascais Municipality is located in the district of Lisbon, on the eastern estuary of the river Tagus with around 190,000 inhabitants. Since 2007, the authority has had a municipal energy agency – Cascais Energia – and has signed the Covenant of Mayors. Within this framework, various initiatives and projects are taking place with the aim of boosting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, while reducing CO2 emissions within the municipality, which includes the SMART SPP project. Furthermore, public procurement has been identified, by  European strategies and directives, one of the main drivers to increase awareness towards sustainability.

The data gathered in this case study was used to test the LCC-CO2 tool included in the SMART SPP project and three of the LED lamp solutions available on the market for lighting streets were compared. Since this involves new technology not all of the data needed for the assessment is available, particularly in relation to use and end-of-life. This test only allowed an understanding on how the tools works, as well as how to identify their main limitations. In summary there is not enough experience in the implementation of this technology, hence little transfer from good practice is possible. Obtaining reliable data from suppliers, and especially data regarding embedded emissions, can be difficult. However, the pre-procurement process is highly valuable for developing appropriate sustainability criteria for use in purchasing innovative products. Training on how to use a life-cycle costing (LCC) approach, in practice, must be given to both procurers and suppliers. More time will be allocated to training for future actions of this nature. Finally, public services are limited in the support of measures such as this due to financial constraints.

Economic Performance

Involving the market allowed the development of more rigorous criteria due to the suppliers’ comments, as well as saving resources by avoiding more complex tender processes.

This experience allows the development of performance specifications applicable to lighting technology in general.

The SMART SPP methodology for innovation in public procurements could be replicated in other procurement processes.

Social Performance

Having a multidisciplinary team was fundamental in involving the market and in developing procurement criteria, leading to a deeper knowledge of the issues studied.

Suppliers were made aware of the opportunities for innovation in the public procurement processes and of the need to communicate the performance of their products by means of environmental labelling.

Environmental Impact

LED public lighting is still a recent application on site, meaning there has not yet been enough experience to gather data in relation to life-cycle costs but the pilot installation demonstrated that energy saving of around 30% could be achieved by simply replacing conventional lighting with LED.

Further Information



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Eco Innovation in Practice in Portugal

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