Sustainability through public procurement: the way forward - reform proposals

Andhov, Marta / Roberto Caranta (eds.), with contributions from Marta Andhov, Roberto Caranta, Tim Stoffel, Jolien Grandia, Willem A. Janssen, Roxana Vornicu, Jason J. Czarnezki, Adam Gromnica, Kristin Tallbo, Olga Martin-Ortega, Lela Melon, Åsa Edman, Pauline Göthberg, Peter Nohrstedt, Anja Wiesbrock
External Publications (2020)

Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen

ISBN: 978-82-691886-0-8

Public procurement amounts to about 16 percent of the EU Member States’ GDP. A major contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is possible by enhancing sustainable procurement practices. The 2014 EU Public Procurement Directives (Directives 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU) have largely clarified the scope for permissible sustainable procurement decisions, but the adoption of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is still limited. The rules could be more permissive and thoroughly take into account all the different aspects of sustainability. Even more urgent and essential is to push for behavioural and organisational changes in the ways contracting authorities perform their buying functions to maximise positive, sustainable impacts. It is critical to change procurement management practices so that the sustainability demanded in contracts is properly verified along the entire supply chain and remedial actions are taken where non-compliance is detected.

We make three main proposals:

1. That the EU invests significantly in the professionalisation of contracting officials, procurement strategists and financial auditors.

2. That the EU makes it mandatory for contracting authorities to map and monitor their supply chains for risks of breaches of environmental and social rules, including those protecting human rights.

3. That the EU makes the legislative environment more ‘SPP friendly’.

About the author

Stoffel, Tim

Political Scientist


Further experts

Altenburg, Tilman

Economic Geography 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Droste, Leonie Marie

Political Science 

Gronen, Maria Elisabeth

Social Science 

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Environmental Researcher 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science 

Kloke-Lesch, Adolf

Urban and regional planning 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Laudage, Sabine


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Scholz, Imme


Schulz, Sabrina

Political Science 

Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

To, Jenny


Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

Wehrmann, Dorothea


Weinlich, Silke

Political Science