Sustainable Public Procurement

UNEP

What is Sustainable Public Procurement?
It is a "process whereby public organizations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life-cycle basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society and the economy, whilst significantly reducing negative impacts on the environment.”

Why implementing SPP can make a difference?
Public spending, which accounts for an average of 12% of GDP in OECD countries, and up to 30% in developing countries, wields enormous purchasing power. Shifting that spending towards more sustainable goods and services can help drive markets in the direction of innovation and sustainability, thereby enabling the transition to a green economy.

What are the benefits of SPP?
Through SPP, governments can lead by example and deliver key policy objectives. Sustainable procurement allows governments 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, SPP can generate income, reduce costs and support the transfer of skills and technology.

Canada’s federal government can support environmental, social, and ethical practices, and contribute to sustainable global development through the goods it purchases.

Furthermore, Canada can align its purchasing with the commitments it has made to global development, as well as the UN’s 2030 Agenda, which aims to build a future of prosperity and dignity for all. 

Public spending wields enormous power—it accounts for an average of 12% of gross domestic product in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

By shifting that spending towards more sustainable goods and services, our government can help drive markets toward innovation and sustainability, which can reduce global poverty and enable the transition to a fair, sustainable economy.

Our goal is to see the Canadian federal government take the following actions:

  • Transition its policy of green procurement to a sustainable procurement policy that accounts for the economic, environmental and social impacts of the federal government’s spending. In other words, we want the government to use its spending to address environmental, social, and economic inequality in ways that aligns with the UN’s SDGs.
  • Articulate the role of federal sustainable procurement in advancing its goals and global sustainable development within its Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS)
  • Develop a federal sustainable procurement policy that supports best value for money criteria such as those outlined in the fair trade certification standards that support the FSDS and the SDGs
  • Adopt a directive that supports best value for money principles and requires purchasing professionals to use third party fair trade certifications to achieve environmental and social outcomes for defined goods procured at the federal level
  • Follow examples of the EU’s public procurement rules influenced by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO)