Tools and Resources

Public procurement is a powerful tool for public institutions, local authorities and governments of all levels to increase the demand of sustainable products and services. Purchasers can use Fair Trade as a practical way to progressively make their public purchasing in line with the SDGs.

Fair Trade offers better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Trading terms offered by Fair Trade buyers enable producers and workers to maintain a sustainable livelihood which not only meets day-to-day needs for economic, social and environmental well-being but that also enables improved conditions in the future.

What can public institutions, local authorities and governments of all levels do?

  • Introduce a Fair Trade public procurement policy, which:
    • Mandates the use of Fair Trade products in offices and all management food service outlets. Consider including public festivals, fairs, and other local initiatives
    • contains commitments for specific Fair Trade products and timescales
    • states how the commitment to Fair Trade will be enforced and how relevant staff will be given appropriate training
  • Create a local taskforce for sustainable procurement that includes experts on Fair Trade, but also international social justice, local employment, inclusion, environment and climate, local economic development, and procurement to ensure a holistic approach to sustainable development in the procurement policy.
  • Partner with local Fair Trade actors (producers and/or organizations and/or civil society) to organize awareness raising and capacity building initiatives that encourage and assist procurers to include Fair Trade criteria in procurement.
  • Join networks that promote sustainable public procurement to stay up-to-date on examples of good practice and policy initiatives that support sustainable procurement and Fair Trade

SDG 12 concerns the promotion of sustainable consumption and production. It includes target 12.7 about ‘promoting public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities’

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.