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France's sustainability rule in public tenders

French translator specialised in sustainability
French tenders must take into account sustainability criteria by august 2026

French public tenders (marchés publics) are regulated par the CCP (Code de la commande public) which, until recently, only offered guidelines and incentives on sustainability. But following an alarming IPCC report in 2021, the French governement passed, in august 2021, a Climate and Resilience law to make sustainability a non-negociable criteria in public tenders from august 2026.

Among other goals, this is designed to isolate the environmental element (which was until recently part of the so-called Environmental and Social Responsability of businesses) and to support the government's objective to only use suppliers with social and environmental engagements by 2025. As a french translator specialised in sustainability, this is obviously music to my hears, but it does add an extra layer to your tender bids.

Let's take a closer look at what is specified in the Code des Marchés Publics (public procurement law) and in the CCP, and what you'll need to look at to score big in your next french tender bid.

Sustainability criteria in French public tenders

Since the launch of the Climate and Resilience law in August 2021, public buyers looking to select new suppliers or to renew existing contracts may take into account factors such as :

  • Delivery or implementation conditions designed to protect the environment

  • The applicants' experience and know-how in terms of sustainability, such as anti-waste policies or existing carbon footprint.

  • The applicants' commitment to sustainability goals

Some exemples of specific standards and rules from the Climate and Resilience law

The CCP specifies thresholds, labels, standards and obligations such as:

  • A minimum percentage of low carbon or bio-sourced materials (no lower than 25 %)

  • The definition of official indicators and the publication online of all SPASER (the french procurement program designed to promote and publically value contracts and suppliers deemed ecologically and socially engaged)

  • The integration of all SDG in the technical brief and offer (spécifications techniques), in the selection criteria and, more ambitiously yet, in the implementation of the contract (verifiable through yearly reporting)

  • The right, for the client, to reject an applicant purely on environmental grounds

The new law also plans to equip french authorities with the tools to define and analyse the life cycle of products and materials in order to support buying entities in the definition of their criteria and the selection of their suppliers.

How to score well in your french tender bids

The cahier des clauses techniques will normally include the detailed criteria, but it helps to volunteer as much information as you can on your sustainability engagements, such as membership to any carbon compensation or SDG programs, recent reporting on indicators such as CO2 emissions or waste management, selection of shipping methods prioritising EV or your current sustainable sourcing policies.


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