Sustainable Public Procurement - Integrating Research for Successful Implementation

Event Type
Dialogue and Transfer Forum

Location/Date
Lund, 26.09.2018 until 28.09.2018


Sustainable public procurement (SPP) represents a central policy tool of the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for implementing sustainable consumption and production patterns. However, despite the enormous potential leverage effect of public demand for a transformation towards sustainability, there is a lack of academic studies on SPP. Against this background, from 26-28 September 2018 a group of internationally renowned scientists came together at Lund University to exchange views on current projects and research gaps as well as on a joint publication project in the field. The workshop was part of a DIE project that investigates sustainable public procurement practices at the municipal level worldwide. The project is conducted in close cooperation with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In addition, the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) acted as the local cooperation partner for the workshop.

With regard to content, the discussions in Lund were structured along three guiding questions:

  1. What are the governance conditions for SPP on the municipal level and how can they be influenced in a targeted manner?
  2. Is it feasible to combine objectives of SPP with the promotion of innovation?
  3. To what extent and how do regulatory framework conditions foster or hamper the introduction of SPP?


In the first subject area, Paula Trindade from the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology in Portugal introduced her approach of a SPP Toolbox. This instrument can also be used online to support municipal practitioners in identifying and implementing activities to foster the introduction of SPP practices. With regard to research gaps in the field of SPP governance, the experts see particular demand for further knowledge generation on change management processes within municipal administrations.

In the second subject area, Charles Edquist from Lund University recommended to adopt functional instead of product-specific guidelines for procurement. Thus, the tender documents should describe a function to be fulfilled and/or a problem to be solved instead of specific product characteristics. In the following debate, the identification of concrete governance prerequisites to link functional tendering practices with innovation and sustainability criteria was considered an open research question.

In the third subject area, Geo Quinot from Stellenbosch University proposed to analyse regulatory framework conditions for SPP under three different, but coherently fitting perspectives: Downstream  (instrumental perspective on the result of the procurement process), midstream (focusing on the procurement process as such) and upstream (focusing on the purchasing process at and with the market). The potential outcome of widely applying this approach, namely to generate a more holistic view of regulatory drivers and barriers to sustainable procurement, was identified as an important research gap in the following exchange.

The participants identified the interdisciplinary discourse on the current state of research and open questions on SPP as a fruitful element of the Lund workshop. In addition, the fact that researcher from the North and the South were brought together, went beyond common practice. The experts agreed on collective efforts for a joint publication, aiming at closing knowledge gaps and giving additional impetus to SPP as a lever for socio-ecological transformation.


Event information

Date /h
26.09.2018 until 28.09.2018 / 09:00 - 19:00

Location
Lund

-- by invitation only --

Workshop