Public Procurement for Sustainable Development

A framework for the public sector
Research paper Updated 26 April 2021 Published 19 November 2020 ISBN: 978 1 78413 426 6
At a street art event in New Delhi, the phrase Let's Build Tomorrow is painted on a wall

Dr Thiago Kanashiro Uehara

Former Research Fellow, Environment and Society Programme

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.

A Spanish translation of the paper is also available as a PDF via this link.