Dublin City Council Sustainability Report

Dublin City

Dublin City Council has an ambitious vision which is set out in the Development Plan 2011-2017.
Within the next 25-30 years Dublin will have an established international reputation as one of the most sustainable, dynamic and resourceful city regions in Europe. Dublin, through the shared vision of it citizens and civic leaders, will be a beautiful, compact city, with a distinct character and a vibrant culture and a diverse, smart, green innovation based economy. It will be a socially inclusive city of urban neighbourhoods, all connected by an exemplary public transport, cycling and walking system and interwoven with a quality biodiverse green space network. In short, the vision is for a capital city where people will seek to live, work and experience as a matter of choice.

Following up on this vision, Dublin City Council launched the Dublin City Council Sustainability Report 2010 and a Green Plan for Kilbarrack Fire Station in September 2010. The Report is the first of its kind and sets out the Council’s principles, vision and actions for increasing the economic, social and environmental sustainability of Dublin City. Dublin City Council intends to further align its strategies, plans and processes with sustainability principles. The seven focus areas of the Report are: energy, water, waste, biodiversity, transport, society and procurement.

Kilbarrack Fire Station was chosen as a Flagship location for 2010. Through a programme of investments in projects within each of the seven focus areas, Kilbarrack Fire Station will become an example of how an integrated approach creates greater efficiencies.

Dublin City Council recognises that it cannot tackle all its impacts immediately. For this reason, it has focused on those that it has direct control over. The actions and goals included in this report show the practical benefits of moving towards sustainability. It is a sample of inspiring actions rather than an exhaustive list of actions. Budget is a major constraining factor in the choice of actions. However, it is the experience of the Council that many sustainability projects pay for themselves through near term efficiency gains. Where appropriate, they will re-invest savings at the same location they are generated, providing an incentive for further action.

In deciding what actions to take, Dublin City Council use the following four principles of sustainability as a guide;

• Resources like fossil fuels, metals and minerals are finite and can damage our environment if allowed to accumulate. Therefore, the council will minimise the consumption of materials extracted from the Earth’s crust.

• The accumulation of persistent chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers etc.), and unnaturally high nutrient concentrations are harmful to people and the environment. Therefore, the council will reduce their dependence on manmade chemicals.

• Ecosystems take a long time to recover from physical destruction (if they can at all). Dublin City Council will mitigate their impact through wise landuse policies, low impact maintenance practices and environmentally friendly design.

• The community will not be truly sustainable unless residents are healthy, safe and prospering. Therefore, the council will continue to pursue policies and actions that minimise the barriers that impede stakeholders ability to meet their basic needs.

To provide an example of how Dublin City Council addressed the focus areas, the section of procurement is outlined below.

Vision: Dublin City Council envisage that in the future, the public procurement function will be seen as a key resource in transforming and evolving its activities consistently towards sustainability. Much of its global impact is caused by what it buys and how it buys it. Dublin City Council will increasingly calculate the full life-cycle costs of products and services to minimize costs and maximise returns.

Context: Dublin City Council had a combined revenue and capital expenditure in excess of €1.8 billion for 2008. Purchasing in the council is largely decentralised and the Central Procurement Unit has a role in ensuring that the Council complies with the relevant EU and National regulations as well as its own internal policies and procedures.

Strategic Goals: Dublin City Council aims to provide an example to business, industry and the community in promoting the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly works, services and supplies. In doing this, the council will raise awareness of the concept of sustainable public procurement. The Central Procurement Unit will also raise awareness generally throughout Dublin City Council on how procurement can be used as a means to achieve sustainability. This will be done through the dissemination of relevant information and through the provision of an enhanced procurement advisory service. Dublin City Council will routinely incorporate environmental characteristics, such as full life-cycle costs, into the tendering process, including the qualification and selection of potential suppliers, the technical specifications of procured goods and services, and the contract award criteria, whilst maintaining focus on value for money.

Achievements: In 2008, they published the “Dublin City Council Environmental Procurement Policy & Green Procurement Guide”. This publication is one of the mechanisms used to ensure that sustainability considerations are incorporated into corporate contracts. Others include technical dialogue with the market place, selection and award criteria and robust terms and conditions. An example of this was the sustainability workshop held in June 2009 by a chemicals supplier to Dublin City Council. The workshop focused on the environmental impact of janitorial chemical products and explored ways for reducing their impact. In this way, staff were able to purchase the most appropriate and effective materials, while their supplier has enhanced their reputation and provided a sector leading service.

Future Actions: Sustainability will be placed as an item on the “Procurement Checklist” and local business units will develop tender specifications that reflect their needs as distinct from wants. They will engage with the marketplace and enter into dialogue with suppliers/service providers prior to any competitive procurement process to assess what the market can offer in terms of sustainable solutions. Local business units will incorporate environmental performance and sustainability into their purchasing decisions (such as the use of raw materials, sustainable production methods, energy efficiency, renewable energies, emissions, water usage efficiencies, waste, recyclability, dangerous chemicals). Local business units will also review delivery schedules and packaging arrangements associated with their current supplies contracts.
Flagship Project: Kilbarrack Fire Station, as part of it’s green plan, has a target of sourcing the majority of its food from local providers and local growers. This will support local enterprise and reduce food miles.
This report brings all these existing activities together and commits to new actions that will bring Dublin City Council closer to its vision for a sustainable city. It also includes a key indicator for each focus area to measure progress year on year.

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