Skip to main content

Policy Brief: Driving Sustainability Through Public Procurement of Infrastructure

  • Published on January 7, 2022

This policy brief highlights the critical role of integrating sustainability considerations in infrastructure procurement and focuses on nine key messages policy makers and procurement management should focus on.

The world needs approximately $94 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2040 to meet sustainable development needs, but if this investment follows a “business-as-usual” approach, we risk locking in damaging patterns of economic activity that will last for decades. It is therefore imperative that sustainability considerations are embedded across the entire infrastructure life cycle to minimize negative impacts on people and the planet. The procurement phase influences the infrastructure life cycle throughout and presents a critical opportunity to embed sustainability considerations into—and throughout—infrastructure development. Despite being essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, infrastructure development can often undermine them if not implemented correctly.

The public sector is the primary sponsor of most infrastructure projects and it accounts for the majority of global infrastructure investment. Sustainable public procurement (SPP) therefore plays a significant role in improving the sustainability of infrastructure investment.

At the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2019, Member States called upon UNEP to help facilitate coordinated efforts in all regions to promote the development of sustainable infrastructure as a means of ensuring sustainable consumption and production. Member States were invited to develop and implement sustainable development policies that promote resource efficiency and resilience and were encouraged to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.

In the policy brief “Driving sustainability through public procurement of infrastructure” policy makers, procurement managers and stakeholders find an introduction to the importance of sustainable public infrastructure procurement, as well as nine key messages that summarise the most important tasks to focus on to realize the full potential of sustainable infrastructure developments.

The policy brief was developed by the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) and the Interest Group on SPP in Construction/Infrastructure of the UNEP One Planet Network as part of shared efforts to scale up the transition towards sustainable procurement of infrastructure.

You might also be Interested in