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New UN document examines the market’s ability to embrace sustainability

10 September 2014

UNEP, as part of the 10YFP on Sustainable Public Procurement (an initiative which ICLEI co-leads), has launched a pre-study to determine whether the private sector is ready to meet the ambitious sustainability requirements of procurers in the public sector. The study also explores to what extent sustainable public procurement (SPP) can be a tool to promote sustainability in supply chains, outlining the present potential and limitations.

Globalisation, the study finds, has made supply chains more complex, and so has hampered efforts to assess the sustainability of final products and services. As a good may be assembled in several countries, it is difficult to clearly ascertain whether each step of the process has met sustainability criteria. The need for greater transparency and a method to tackle this complexity is highlighted as a necessary step in greening supply chains.

The study also found that while large companies are embracing sustainability as a part of their business model, many small and medium sized enterprises are lagging behind. As well as raising awareness, the document aims to build up interest among stakeholders to finance a project to act on the study's recommendations.

The document is available to download online.