Sustainable Public Procurement
What is public procurement? It is the purchase by governments and state-owned enterprises of goods, services and works.
However, public procurement decisions are still dominated by lowest price at the time of purchase rather than awarding contracts based on value-for-money across the life cycle of a solution. This is a missed opportunity for creating society-wide benefits and fostering the transition to sustainable and circular economies.
Governments spend on average between 12 and 30 per cent of their GDP for procuring goods, services and infrastructure. This enormous purchasing power needs to be reformed to ensure that the state is buying the most sustainable solutions to address today’s challenges. This is also highlighted by SDG Target 12.7. Procurement is a powerful tool for developing new markets, fostering innovation and transitioning from the ownership of goods and assets to a service economy, featuring distributed models of use and ownership.
Procurers need to take on a strategic role and adopt life cycle and systemic thinking when making procurement decisions. This holds particularly true for the procurement of infrastructure assets, which have long lifespans and lock in technologies, and thus have long-lasting social, economic and environmental impacts.
IISD provides policy advice, research and training to implement sustainable public procurement. We work closely with policy-makers, international donors, multilateral development banks and NGOs to design policies, programs and technical assistance that address a wide spectrum of topics. Some of our ongoing work and implemented projects are:
Using the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) to provide quantitative evidence on the multiple financial, economic, social and environmental gains that can be realized through sustainable public procurement.
We invite you to explore our work, including:
- Handbooks on Sustainable Public Procurement and capacity building for the Inter-American Network for Government Procurement
- Advice to municipal and provincial level governments in the Western Cape, South Africa on moving toward performance-based specifications in public procurement
- A three-year program on implementing Green Public Procurement in Bhutan
- Advice to the European Climate Foundation on the role of public procurement and innovation in the European Union for low-carbon infrastructure
- Research on the Role of Public Procurement in Deploying Sustainable Infrastructure
We also serve on several working groups and are engaged in a number of associations: OECD Leading Practitioners on Public Procurement, UNEP 10YFP Sustainable Public Procurement Programme – Working Group on Sustainable Infrastructure, UNCITRAL Working Groups on Procurement and PPPs, Green Public Procurement Expert Group of the European Commission´s Directorate-General for Environment, International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN), Inter-American Network on Government Procurement (INGP), Circular Economy Leadership Coalition, Innovation Procurement Working Group of the European Commission`s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).
The Sustainable Asset Valuation of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania (SAGCOT) Initiative: A focus on irrigation
This report discusses the results of the application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) tool to irrigation infrastructure in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania.Read More
Financing Rural Infrastructure: Priorities and pathways for ending hunger
Read our report to discover how new financial instruments can support a decentralized and robust infrastructure base for farmers, food processors and rural communities.Read More
Financing Rural Infrastructure: Priorities and pathways for ending hunger: Investment in Agriculture Policy Brief #7
Read our policy brief to discover how financing infrastructure will help provide food security for the 821 million people estimated to live in hunger worldwide.Read More
Applying the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) Tool to the 9.5 GW Offshore Wind Farm, North Sea, The Netherlands
Applied to the 9.5 GW offshore wind farm in the North Sea, the SAVi tool compares the financial attractiveness of the wind farm with other energy technologies under four different scenarios.Read More
Credit Enhancement for Sustainable Infrastructure
The paper identifies the demand and supply-side barriers for upscaling credit enhancement solutions for sustainable infrastructure projects.Read More
Financing Soil Remediation: Exploring the use of financing instruments to blend public and private capital
A collection of 17 case studies on a variety of financing instruments that blend public and private capital that could be used to finance the remediation of contaminated soil.Read More
Green Finance Approaches to Soil Remediation: International examples
A collection of seven case studies on different financing instruments used to support soil remediation projects.Read More
Financing Models for Soil Remediation in China
This report examines seven different types of soil remediation projects in China and provides a "state-of-play" survey of financing models for soil rehabilitation in China.Read More
Lack of competition with new GBP 600 million public procurement deal between the U.K. and Amazon may cost taxpayers
An online one-stop shop is a great opportunity for sustainable procurement, but the Yorkshire–Amazon example holds some cautionary notes.Read More
Three Key Challenges to Innovative Public Procurement
In our work, we frequently come across three barriers for public procurers in their attempt to implement innovative public procurement. This blog discusses each and provides examples of how they are being addressed.Read More