Sustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

20.05.21 | News

Sustainable procurement is an effective way for the public sector to help achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A new report by the Nordic Council of Ministers shows the strong links between procurement and the goals and how sustainable public procurement will help achieve them.

Sustainable procurement is an effective way for the public sector to help achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A new report by the Nordic Council of Ministers shows the strong links between procurement and the goals and how sustainable public procurement will help achieve them.

The report uses real-life examples to show the clear links between procurement and the UN goals. It aims to inspire decision-makers in national and local government to invest in sustainable procurement, not just in the Nordic Region but all over the world.

“The Nordic countries have long recognised the importance of sustainable public procurement. We hope that this report will help public-sector agencies and organisations around the world to realise the enormous role that procurement can play in sustainable global development. The Nordic Region can act as a source of inspiration and support for others who want to invest in sustainable procurement,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Gender Equality in Finland and chair of the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation in 2021.

No more complicated, no more expensive

Sustainable public procurement is no more complicated than traditional procurement and does not have to cost more, according to the report Sustainable Public Procurement and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, sustainable procurement often leads to better results due to its focus on long-term benefits rather than short-term gains.

The sums involved are also huge. The OECD countries spend €6.5 trillion p.a. on public procurement.

“Investing some of that money in sustainable procurement would represent a big step toward the global sustainability goals and a better world for all. The Nordic countries already have many of the sustainable solutions needed and are happy to help promote sustainable public procurement globally as well,” Blomqvist adds.

The report illustrates the impact of sustainable procurement

The report presents 17 examples of sustainable procurement – one for each of the SDGs – and shows how they help pursue the goals.

The report is unique because it is the first time that sustainable procurement has been mapped out and analysed systematically to show the impact it has on all of the SDGs. Previous studies have mainly been into the effect of sustainable procurement on individual goals. The examples in the report may be linked to specific geographic areas, but they are applicable to other parts of the world as well.

The importance of sustainable procurement for the Nordic vision

Sustainable public procurement goes a step further than the traditional method. The conventional version also contributes to achieving the SDGs, but the sustainable version systematises the work and adds value throughout the process.

A real-life example from the report: a local school built with local materials and by local workers is not just a good thing because it has been built but also because of how it has been built.

“The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision is for the Nordic Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Sustainable public procurement will play an important role in realising the vision and paving the way for green, competitive and social solutions. It will also be an effective tool in the hands of the public sector as it pays more and more attention to achieving the global goals as well,” says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers.

The report is part of the Prime Minister’s Initiative 2015-2020, the purpose of which was to present Nordic solutions to global challenges.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are 17 ambitious and universal goals agreed upon by the member states in 2015. They include eradicating poverty, combating climate change and ensuring a peaceful and inclusive world.

Contact information