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Europe | 13 June 2024

Briefing: Sustainable Public Procurement in the European Union

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Briefing: Sustainable Public Procurement in the European Union

Through procurement, governments and public authorities have the potential to drive demand for and production of sustainable products.

This potential is currently far from exploited because the current EU public procurement policy fails to incentivise sustainable public procurement. This is mainly due to the fact that sustainable public procurement is largely optional.

This briefing sets out markers for the revision of EU public procurement policy. Generally, it argues in favour of mandatory sustainability requirements, while highlighting the importance of tailoring these requirements to the relevant legal context and sectoral realities.

In more detail, the briefing argues:

  • A revision of the general public procurement Directive (Directive 2014/24) is necessary and should lead to:
    • Binding sustainable procurement targets and procedural requirements
    • Increased consideration of sustainability performance of bidders
    • Monitoring the outcome of sustainable public procurement
    • Implementation of a good governance first-principle
  • Sector-specific legislation should, where relevant and appropriate, include mandatory substantive minimum requirements. The currently non-binding EU Green Public Procurement criteria provide a good blueprint of how sectoral binding criteria could look.