Public procurement for sustainable development


This report from UK think tank Chatham House provides a framework for the public sector.

Globalized emergencies such as climate breakdown and the COVID-19 pandemic make procurement for sustainable development essential to building more resilient, sustainable and just societies. Discussion of sustainable procurement tends to emphasize ‘impact mitigation’ and ‘reduction of negative impacts’ as policy priorities, but these ideas send the wrong message. This paper shifts the narrative away from the pursuit of damage mitigation and towards the promotion of equities for sustainable development. The paper proposes a revised definition of sustainable procurement, so that goods, services, works and utilities are procured in a way that achieves value for money on a life-cycle basis, while addressing equity principles for sustainable development to the benefit of societies and the environment across time and geographies.

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