published on Blogging for Sustainability, University of Oslo Faculty of Law 06.04.2020 (Online)
Global value chains are under heavy strain right now. The current crisis is not only a health crisis, but also an economic one. Economic activities, including the production of goods, have been slowed down or came to a complete halt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has brought new attention to the fact where the goods for our daily consumption actually come from. The conditions, socially and environmental, under which those goods are being produced deserves more attention. One way to improve these conditions is to make sure that they are accounted for when buying products. Public authorities have the legal option to procure more sustainable goods and services. This can create a shift in demand through public procurement spending, which amounts to 16 per cent of the EU Member States’ GDP. The EU research project Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART) recently published reform proposals for the way forward of reaching sustainability through public procurement in the EU, as part of a broad set of reform proposals aimed to ensure the contribution of market actors to sustainability. A wide range of public procurement experts from different disciplines came together in a workshop at the University of Oslo, organised by the lead-authors of the proposal Marta Andhov and Roberto Caranta to present solutions for the current deficit in implementation in sustainable public procurement. This was necessary before the crisis to support the shift to more sustainable consumption and production. It is even more important now, to put the spotlight on the leverage of public procurement and how it can be used to making post-crisis economic recovery socially and economically sustainable.