Commitments across coal phase-down, deforestation, methane, finance and other areas, countries will need to translate into real delivery.
Step forward public procurement. It is how your government goes shopping, spending your tax dollars on goods, works and services. It will determine how the trillions of dollars that are going to be invested in green projects and sustainability are spent.
So now is the perfect time to be working with governments globally to design new approaches and guidance for greener and more sustainable public procurement. This could be the hidden catalyst for global sustainability.
While COP26 focused on climate change, ‘sustainability’ in procurement can refer to a number of different policy areas and priorities. Buying green and ensuring a more sustainable and greener supply chain is key, but sustainable procurement also needs to support inclusive and equal economic growth, long-term skills and capacity building, and innovation - all of which will be crucial to ensuring a fair and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, long after the buzz around COP26 fades..
It will require governments to rethink the way that they engage the market and to take risks to promote innovation and newer technologies. This is actually pretty scary and challenging in the risk adverse, box-ticking world of procurement.
There are already lots of guides and toolkits to help public buyers.
The EU has a buying guide for taking account of social value in procurement, as well as specific guidance for green procurement; the World Bank has just launched its new guidance on green public procurement, including global case studies and best practices; and while the UNDP and UNIDO also have widely used social value frameworks. And we have explored how open data can throw light on effective sustainable procurement and government spending.
There have also been some startling headline commitments including across the entire European Union Resilience and Recovery Facility.
Yet, day-to-day practices aren’t yet changing. It’s an afterthought and not a default. So what are the institutional blocks and barriers to wider uptake. How can we move public buyers to bake sustainability and inclusion into public purchasing from the start? Also what information and data do they need to plan, tender, award and deliver truly sustainable public purchasing.
That is why we are so delighted that the Open Contracting Partnership and PUBLIC are going to team up to diagnose and explore the barriers to wider adoption. What is the information people need and when and how do they need it to buy more sustainably? Are there some easy wins or nudges that can make a big difference? We will particularly focus on developing country users and stakeholders to see what can help them. We will focus on producing guidance that goes beyond frameworks and strategies, down to the level of concrete, practical tools and steps. This includes how e-procurement systems can be used to drive more sustainable procurement behaviour, but also how we can capture, share and publish sustainability data in an open and transparent way.
This includes understanding how sustainability fits into their other considerations, priorities and processes, and identifying the existing blockers or limitations they face when implementing sustainable procurement approaches, as well as how similar initiatives have failed or succeeded in the past. We’re keen to frame sustainability benchmarks in a more meaningful and useful way at the point of planning any new purchase.
Simply put, we want to make sure that we co-design something that meets real, concrete user needs. PUBLIC's deep experience with user research and service design projects, coupled with their expertise in procurement processes, systems and technology, will help to ensure we keep this focus throughout the project.
Over the next few months, we will be engaging with a wide range of users across multiple countries to shape a new set of resources for more sustainable procurement. We’ll make sure to share updates and insights on what we create along the way.
We would love to hear from you!
In the first of our Expertise Spotlight Series, we sit down with Johnny Hugill, Deputy Director of Commercial, Spend & Impact at PUBLIC, to discuss shaping the UK’s landmark Procurement Act, insights into this transformative legislation, and the opportunities for driving innovation in procurement.
PUBLIC has partnered with Ignite Procurement to help public authorities to deliver more intelligent and sustainable procurement.
The Ministry of Defence is the single largest customer for UK industry, committed to £190bn over the next decade. Given this scale and the critical need for capabilities, its vital that MOD procurement is fit-for-purpose. In this blog we explore the current procurement system, its disconnect with SME’s, and how change is coming.
How can the UK government leverage the thriving domestic FinTech sector to improve its own financial systems?
The UK’s trading relationship with the European Union (EU) is back in the headlines with the Government seeking to resolve problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol and restore devolved government to Northern Ireland. But away from the politically-charged headlines, two other elements of the Government’s new trade policy could be particularly impactful, one operational and the other legislative.
Implementing more sustainable trading and supply chains has become a key priority for modern businesses and governments. And new policies like Germany’s Supply Chain Act have begun to formalise legal requirements for international trading actors. But little work has been done to-date to develop government customs and documentation systems that properly capture, record and monitor this data. This new trend, known as ‘green customs’, presents a major opportunity for the UK Government as it scopes out a vision for a new UK Single Trade Window. In the second article of our Single Trade Window blog series, we take a look at how the UK could make this a reality.
The transformation of supply chain data sharing across sectors is crucial for international trade that is digitised, frictionless, and secure.
In June we kicked off our brand new GovStart programme - taking on a cohort of 34 startups across a number of different sectors. In this blog post we delve into the solutions of our 7 Procurement and Business Systems startups spanning areas such as Public Procurement, financial management, Property Data and Payments.
Sustainable public procurement has never been more of a priority. In this blog, we dive into the challenges councils face in implementing it. We also outline some of the key steps councils can take to ensure sustainability is embedded in every step of the procurement process.
This article by Nicola Villa, Executive Vice President, Strategic Growth at Mastercard outlines why supporting SME procurement is so important, and highlights some key takeaways from the Global SME Procurement Benchmark report!
Procurement Bites: How can public authorities better collaborate on procurement?
While private sector companies have realised the importance of looking to their supply chain to advance sustainability efforts, global government action on procurement has been generally slower. As this can often be a daunting process - and to mark the first ever World Sustainable Procurement Day - we want to share some key insights from our work helping the public sector tackle this challenge.