Key goals, barriers and priority sectors
29 June 2020
  • Sustainable Public Procurement
Micheile Henderson

In the face of deep economic and social crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries and business groups have been calling for a temporary easing of environmental rules. In fact, many stimulus measures recently announced by major economies show a significant lack of consideration when it comes to addressing environmental sustainability. While it may be tempting to give up on some environmental commitments to address short-term social and economic priorities, this would be a mistake. Instead, the global health crisis should be seen as an opportunity to build more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies, and one way to achieve this is through sustainable public procurement.  

Sustainable public procurement (SPP) can harness existing expenditures towards green growth and the attainment of sustainability objectives by leveraging public procurement, which represents an average of 12% of GDP in OECD countries and 30% of GDP in developing countries. In fact, SPP is so important there is a specific UN Sustainable Development Goal target, SDG 12.7.1, which calls for the promotion of public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities by 2030.

At a time when governments need to conduct expansionary fiscal policies to limit or avoid economic recessions, SPP must take its place in the range of fiscal instruments considered in the green recovery packages. In this recent post on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, UNEP outlines key goals and barriers for implementation as well as priority sectors. 

  • Sustainable Public Procurement