Sustainable Public Procurement

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 Agenda 2030, 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 Organisation 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 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 SDGs (See sidebar)
  • 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)