Sustainable public procurement: a global review

Around the world, interest in Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) / Green Public Procurement (GPP) is growing. Sustainable Public Procurement is at the core of international cooperation processes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). SPP features indeed as one of the five initial programmes of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP), a global framework of action adopted by the Rio+20 Conference to accelerate the shift towards SCP in both developed and developing countries.

SPP/GPP is now at a critical juncture. While a great deal of work has been done in the last five years and at least 43 countries now have public institutions that have adopted an SPP/GPP policy or policy measures, difficult economic conditions may counter this trend. Barriers such as the persistent idea that these products are more expensive may also hinder further progress. Moreover, the multitude of different systems, criteria and approaches to SPP/GPP risks confusing suppliers and purchasers, further slowing progress. It is therefore timely that a review of the current state of SPP/GPP is undertaken worldwide and critical to better understanding how SPP/GPP is contributing to the creation of a robust “Green Economy”.2

This report contains the findings of an investigation into the national government SPP/GPP policies and practices around the world. The policies, programmes, drivers, barriers, needs and opportunities in SPP/GPP are examined, based on an analysis of recent literature and online resources, and interviews with 20 leading experts on SPP/GPP. Six case studies that delve deeper into particular countries’ recent experiences with SPP/GPP accompany the report. The result is a global view that considers the challenges and opportunities for SPP/GPP in different governmental, regulatory and socio-economic contexts, and highlights the evolution of SPP/GPP in recent years.

The report has two objectives — to provide a qualitative overview of the drivers, challenges and trends in SPP/GPP, and to articulate a framework for subsequent quantitative data gathering.  The research was commissioned by UNEP, having identified the need for up-to-date and reliable information on activities and organizations involved in SPP/GPP. 

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