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).
Toward Strategic Public Procurement in Latin America and the Caribbean
This paper presents four best practice case studies and key ingredients of procurement reform to enable the shift toward strategic public procurement for sustainable development.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Senegal’s Saloum Delta
The assessment provides an economic valuation of the contribution of the Saloum Delta to local livelihoods and regional development.Read More
An Application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) Methodology: Assessing the economic value of restoring the wetlands of S'Ena Arrubia and Corru S'Ittiri-Marceddì-San Giovanni in the Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy
This assessment uses the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) to calculate the economic and societal value generated by the S’Ena Arrubia and Corru S’Ittiri-Marceddì-San Giovanni wetlands in the Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy.Read More
Sustainable Investing: Shaping the future of finance
A report on how sustainable investing will become mainstream in the financial industry.Read More
SAVi Database: A primer
IISD has developed a database of available knowledge on the valuation of infrastructure project externalities, costs and climate risks. This publication demonstrates how we use the database for the assessments of infrastructure projects with the SAVi methodology.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of a Public Bicycle Sharing System in Dwarka, New Delhi, India: A focus on the environmental, social and economic impacts of non-motorized transport infrastructure
This SAVi assessment values the environmental, social and economic benefits generated by a public bicycle sharing system. Its results demonstrate how the transport system delivers to sustainable mobility targets in Delhi.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation Tool: Materials Management Infrastructure
This publication serves as a technical document for the development of IISD's SAVi for materials management infrastructure.Read More
An Application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) Methodology in Sri Lanka: Assessing the economic value of restoring the ecological health of Beira Lake in Colombo
The SAVi assessment quantifies the economic value of investing into different ecological restoration options for South-West Beira Lake in Colombo and makes a strong case for such investments given the positive effects on property values and recreational value of the lake.Read More
Plastic Waste in Canada: A daunting economic and environmental threat or an opportunity for sustainable public procurement?
This commentary explores how sustainable public procurement can play a crucial role in advancing environmental and economic sustainable development in Canada's waste sector.Read More
Modelling for Sustainable Development: New decisions for a new age
This book provides a detailed overview of models used in designing projects and policies that integrate sustainable development considerations and objectives.Read More