Minimum Environmental Criteria (MEC): green criteria designed to prompt public bodies to purchase green goods and services, with the lowest possible environmental impact throughout their life-cycle

Minimum Environmental Criteria (MEC) are environmental requirements established for the various phases of the purchasing process, aimed at identifying the best product, service or design solution in environmental terms, throughout its life-cycle, taking account of availability on the market. These criteria are defined within the framework of the plan for environmental sustainability of consumption in the public administration sector (Green Public Procurement - GPP).

Their uniform and systematic application helps spread environmental technologies and the most environmentally favourable products, and by exerting leverage on the market, prompts the less virtuous economic operators to adapt to the new requirements of the public administration.

MEC were introduced by art. 18 of Law 221/2015 and subsequently art. 34 of the tendering code - Legislative Decree 50/2016 (as amended by Legislative Decree 56/2017) - which set down environmental and energy sustainability criteria and made their application compulsory for contracting authorities.

As well as adding value to environmental quality and compliance with social criteria, the application of the Minimum Environmental Criteria also meets the public administration’s need to streamline its consumption and reduce its expenditure where possible.

For example, estimates show that replacing all old public lighting installations with new installations in line with the new MEC would save local authorities about 500 million euros per year, while also significantly reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. But that’s not all. Because the new MEC laid down in the Decree of 27 September 2017 also tackle the social aspects of green procurement - by ensuring that candidates adopt organisational and managerial models that prevent unlawful conduct towards workers and ensure compliance with international conventions - and tackle light pollution by means of detailed zoning plans.

What the law says

Green Public Procurement is mandatory under art. 34 of Legislative Decree 50/2016 - the tendering code - which requires the adoption of the “Minimum Environmental Criteria” or “MEC” contained in current and future documents approved by Ministerial Decree for each category of product or service. More specifically, tender notices published by contracting authorities are required to include at least the technical specifications and contractual clauses set down in MEC documents. Paragraph 2 of the same article stipulates that MEC must also be taken into consideration for the purposes of drawing up tender documents that apply the criterion of the most economically advantageous bid, thus acting on the recommendation, already set down in the foreword to the MEC, that tender notices should include the scoring criteria defined in the MEC.


The services provided by IMQ

IMQ can support its customers by providing verification, inspection and certification services relating to the main technical requirements and specifications laid down in the MEC.

Our services cover both product and system verification and certification:

  • Issuance of the IMQ-ECO mark testifying that the performance and environmental characteristics declared by the manufacturer in relation to a given product are true, measurable and maintained over time.
  • Testing of safety, efficiency, durability, performance and sustainability 
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) services
  • Carbon and water footprint measurement
  • Corporate social responsibility certification
  • Environmental management system certification

In this area, IMQ can also issue CERTICAM certification, the scheme that governs product certification in relation to recycled and/or recovered and/or by-product content on the basis of the values declared by the organisation that puts the products on the market.

Management system certification is the endorsement enjoyed by organisations that have chosen to equip themselves with efficient management systems and suitable skills and structures, aimed at continuous improvement. And the higher the prestige of the awarding body, the higher the value of the guarantee. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, our laboratories have full capability to put products through all the checks required by the major European directives and international standards. The certifications issued by IMQ are synonymous with trust. They guarantee safety, performance, efficiency and quality standards. More than 10,000 companies have turned to IMQ to certify their products and stand out on the market. Notified body for the main EU directives, IMQ offers tests and CE certifications to assess the conformity of the products to the requirements required to be marketed on the European market. Inspections and audits validate the conformity of electrical installations, equipment, supplies and services with the applicable technical and legislative specifications. IMQ services add value and enhance brand image by distinguishing organisations that have invested properly in safety and quality. They are internationally recognised, managed by expert personnel and constantly updated, on the strength of IMQ’s membership of the main working groups on international standards. From the market’s point of view, IMQ services testify to the transparency and reliability of the organisations that choose them. And they cut time to market.