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Time to progress to Sustainable Public Procurement?

15 March 2012

A briefing produced by Client Earth argues that an opportunity is being missed by limiting the remit of strategic procurement to the environmental dimensions of sustainability. Both green public procurement (GPP) and sustainable public procurement (SPP) require procurers to look beyond the function of the goods or services that are being procured to consider their impact, at all stages of the life-cycle, on the world around.

While GPP focuses on reducing the environmental impact of the goods and services, the current revision of the EU procurement legislation widens the focus to three interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development - economic development, social development and environmental protection. The implementation of SPP will ensure there is a balance between these three strands.

The EU’s shift will also raise awareness about the impact on biodiversity and sustainable resource management within the procurement perspective. To ensure decisions enable public procurement to contribute to sustainable development, decision-makers need to widen their focus from GPP to SPP and adhere to the social criteria in procurement policies.

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