Public authorities are major consumers, and by using their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works, they can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Sustainable Procurement (including Green Public Procurement (GPP) and Innovative Public Procurement (IPP)) is concerned with how, as part of overall value for money and affordability considerations, contracting authorities incorporate economic, social, environmental and equality impacts of their purchasing activity to maximize positive outcomes and minimize the negative.
A lot of improvements can be made in the construction sector, characterized by the temporal nature of a construction site, strong price competition, high labour intensity, with often short-term labour contracts, seasonal work, and wage dumping. Additionally, building have a long lifetime with respective effects on energy consumption, health of residents, etc.
CSR activities in the construction sector focus on occupational health, security, and safety on the one hand for workers, and on sustainable construction on the other. Municipalities CSR policies should set a good example in public procurement processes by establishing for example standards for low emission construction machinery and enforcing existing regulations for occupational health and safety.
Significant contributions towards meeting wider CSR objectives can occur by inclusion of environmental criteria in procurement. In the construction industry, initiatives are taking place city-wide, nationally, pan-European and globally showcasing best practices through pilot projects, incorporating sharing and learning platforms. One such project is the Big Buyers Initiative bigbuyers.eu. The project seeks to implement CSR via circular construction, zero emission construction sites, electric heavy-duty vehicles, and digital solutions in health care. Citizen focus is at the heart of such initiatives, with increased health improvements and livability in cities (Big-Buyers-factsheet-citizens.pdf (bigbuyers.eu)
Buying green handbook Buying green handbook The handbook is the European Commission's main guidance document to help public authorities buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. It is also a useful reference for policy makers and companies responding to green tenders.
Case Studies on sustainable procurement: SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT PLATFORM | CASE STUDIES (sustainable-procurement.org) Selection of representative case studies that contain inspiration and guidance on how to implement sustainable, circular, and innovation procurement in relevant sectors.
European Sustainable Procurement Network Procura+ | Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network (procuraplus.org) Initiated and coordinated by ICLEI, Procura+ is a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement. guidelines and case work.
EU joint public procurement initiatives BigBuyers | Home Big Buyers for Climate and Environment is a European Commission Initiative for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement for sustainable solutions.
Stokke, Raymond Andreas; Qiu, Xinlu; Sparrevik, Magnus; Truloff, Shannon; Borge, Iselin; De Boer, Luitzen. (2022) Procurement for zero-emission construction sites: a comparative study of four European cities. Environment Systems and Decisions. (17) (PDF) Procurement for zero-emission construction sites: a comparative study of four European cities (researchgate.net)
Sparrevik, Magnus; Wangen, Helene Førsund; Fet, Annik Magerholm; De Boer, Luitzen. (2018) Green public procurement - A case study of an innovative building project in Norway. Journal of Cleaner Production. vol. 188. Green public procurement – A case study of an innovative building project in Norway - ScienceDirect
Cheng W, Appolloni A, D'Amato A, Zhu Q (2018) Green public procurement, missing concepts and future trends—a critical review. J Cleaner Production 176:770-784. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.12.027
Lember V, Kattel R, Kalvet T (2014) Public procurement and innovation: Theory and practice. In: Lember V, Kattel R, Kalvet T (eds) Public procurement, innovation and policy (pp. 13-34). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-40258-6_2