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24.03.2017 | POLICIES AND SUPPORT IN RELATION TO LCA | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 1/2018

Modelling, assessing, and ranking public procurement options for a climate-friendly catering service

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment > Ausgabe 1/2018
Alessandro K. Cerutti, Fulvio Ardente, Simone Contu, Dario Donno, Gabriele L. Beccaro
Wichtige Hinweise
Responsible editor: Matthias Finkbeiner

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11367-017-1306-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Several scientific papers and technical reports have discussed the role of green public procurement in the food sector. Different strategies for the restoration sector have been identified. However, there is not yet a common understanding of which policies could be the most efficient in reducing the global warming potential of the public restoration service. This paper assesses a set of procurement policies, ranking them according to their potential to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of public catering.


Eleven relevant green public procurement policies were identified from the literature. These are discussed in the context of a case study of the school catering service in the city of Turin (Italy). Initially, a life cycle approach is applied to a baseline scenario of the collective restoration system of the city, to quantify the quantity of greenhouse gases produced by the entire catering service (including all stages from the production of food to the management of waste from kitchens and canteens). Afterwards, the 11 policies were applied to the baseline scenario so that the potential improvement achieved by each policy could be quantified.

Results and discussion

The baseline scenario resulted in 1.67 kgCO2eq per average meal. The production of food dominates the global warming potential of the full service, being responsible for about 78% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Among the selected policies, a change in diet was the most effective (leading to a 32% reduction of the CO2eq emissions), followed by the adoption of improved food production practices (11% reduction) and the purchasing of certified green electricity (6% reduction).


The proposed method allows the assessment of procurement policies in the catering service by applying a simplified life cycle approach that considers all the stages of the process. Public authorities and other stakeholders could benefit from basing their decisions upon scientific evidence and avoiding the prioritisation of policies based on personal opinions or weak evidence. Uncertainties and areas for improvement in the method have been also identified for future investigation.

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