Every year, Canadian local governments and post-secondary institutions spend about $120 billion on goods, services and capital projects. These institutions wield enormous power and influence through purchasing behaviors, and have significant, direct impact on communities, economies and the environment. Consequently, they are ideally positioned to drive change.

What is Sustainable Public Procurement? 

Sustainable procurement, the use of public purchasing budgets to support social and environmental goals, is a proven approach to improve social value. It is now required by law in all EU countries; Trudeau’s government has committed to social procurement practices and they are encouraged through provincial policies in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Sustainable public procurement is progressively embraced by both national and local authorities and has reached a turning point in its relevance as a strategic tool to drive sustainability.

How can implementing Sustainable Public Procurement make a difference?

Public spending accounts for an average of 12% of GDP in OECD countries, and up to 30% in developing countries. Shifting that spending towards more sustainable goods and services can help drive markets toward environmental and social responsibility, which can reduce global poverty and enable the transition to a fair, sustainable economy. Sustainable procurement provides an opportunity for Canada to invest in its domestic economies, as well as align its purchasing with the commitments it has made to global development and the UN’s 2030 Agenda, which aims to build a future of prosperity and dignity for all.

What are the benefits of Sustainable Public Procurement?
Sustainable procurement allows public institutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve resource efficiency and support recycling. Positive social results include poverty reduction, improved equity and respect for core labor standards. From an economic perspective, Sustainable Public Procurement can generate income, reduce costs and support the transfer of skills and technology.

What is Green Public Procurement?
While Sustainable Public Procurement is a process by which public authorities seek to balance the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - when procuring goods and services, Green Public Procurement is more narrowly focused on reduced environmental impact throughout the product life-cycle compared to those with the same primary function which would otherwise be procured.