27 June 2012

Sustainable procurement initiative aims to increase public spending on sustainable goods and services

A new international initiative to fast track a global transition to a green economy by harnessing the power of government and local authority spending was announced at Rio+20 last week by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners. Supported by over 30 governments and institutions, the International Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative aims to scale-up the level of public spending on goods and services that provide environmental and social benefits. Across the OECD countries, public procurement represents close to 20 percent of GDP (over 4,733 USD billion annually), while in developing countries the proportion is slightly higher.

Studies indicate that sustainable public procurement, which represents between 15 and 25 percent of GDP, offers a tremendous opportunity for green innovation and sustainability. Examples from around the world show that sustainable public procurement has the potential to transform markets, boost the competitiveness of Eco-industries, save money, conserve natural resources and foster job creation. The new SPP initiative seeks to back the worldwide implementation of sustainable public procurement by promoting a better understanding of its potential benefits and impacts and facilitating increased cooperation between key stakeholders.

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said: “Sustainable public procurement is a key enabling instrument for countries that want to make the transition towards a green economy. The SPP initiative offers governments the opportunity to lead by example by harnessing their purchasing power to drive markets towards a greener, more innovative and more sustainable path. The SPP initiative will push the process forward towards the creation of robust regulatory frameworks and collaboration between North and South; public institutions and the businesses sector.”

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