Public procurement
Sustainable public procurement: Introduction

Public procurement policies guide the way governments spend taxpayers’ money on goods and services. Their purchasing decisions can be used to promote social and environmental objectives. Public procurement in the European Union has impacts on people and the environment around the globe; ClientEarth is working to ensure those impacts are sustainable.

Sustainable public procurement policies can complement other policies as well: for example, good decisions can help mitigate climate change, protect biodiversity and advance ethical trade and social inclusion. With public procurement accounting for 19% of the EU´S gross domestic product (GDP), it is a powerful tool for change.

Integrating sustainability objectives into public procurement is consistent with the EU’s commitment to the sustainable development of Europe and the wider world. 

The EU is currently in the process of revising its public procurement legislation. In the revised legislation, it will be important to clarify the current legal uncertainties which have meant the authorities undertaking public procurement have so far been restricted in pursuing sustainable procurement criteria. Resolving these uncertainties will underpin public procurement’s potential to play an instrumental role in the promotion of more sustainable EU production and consumption over upcoming decades.

ClientEarth’s objective is to work in collaboration with NGO stakeholders and key lawmakers to secure an EU legal framework that supports the development and implementation of ambitious sustainable public procurement policies.

Related Publications

Briefing series: Identifying Opportunities for Sustainable Public Procurement
Legal briefing: The place of “Social Criteria” in Public Procurement Policies for Legal and Sustainable Timber
Legal briefing: Transparency Requirements for Public Procurement in the European Union