In the absence of any UN-wide rules for sustainable procurement, the SUN team has worked with relevant staff across different agencies to develop best practice guidelines for interested procurers and requisitioners.

It is important to remember that different UN agencies have different levels of ambition when it comes to how far and how fast they want to implement sustainable procurement. Similarly the market situation is different from one location to another, and between different product chains.

For these reasons, a requisition needs to be tailored to the specific need of each UN office and, ideally, be designed by a multidisciplinary team including environmental, social and procurement expertise.

The guidelines provided below are divided into Region 1 and Region 2 to reflect the different levels of market readiness to provide sustainable goods and services :

  • Region 1 guidelines are more suited to countries where sustainable products are easier to find
  • Region 2 guidelines are designed for countries where access to sustainable products is more limited

The guidelines are also divided between basic and advanced (or core and comprehensive) to accommodate different levels of ambition.

In some cases there is no differentiation between Region 1 and 2. This is where there is no geographical differences in the sustinability of the product or service.

Each product guideline includes background information on the main environment/social threats in the product sector, as well as information on the status of the market for more sustainable products and services. The background illustrates why and how we have developed those specific guidelines and can provide very useful information to requisitioners and procurers in adapting the guidelines to their specific needs.

Buying for a Better World - A Guide on Sustainable Procurement for the UN System

ICT guidelines





Cafeterias, Food and Kitchen Equipment

Freight Forwarding

Generators and Batteries