Sustainable Procurement


Sustainable public procurement is a tool which allows governments to leverage public spending (between 15 to 25 % of GDP) in order to promote the country’s social, environmental and economic policies. SPP contributes to create markets for appropriate technologies and innovative solutions.

The United Nations Environment Programme has been for a long time a supporter of Sustainable Public Procurement by:

  • Facilitating global consensus on the integration of sustainable development considerations in public procurement at the international, national and local levels; 
  • Fostering information exchange to ensure that a broad number of organizations benefit from the experience of forerunners;
  • Providing practical tools for capacity building to translate sustainable procurement policies in a reality.

In December 2008, the Swiss government and UNEP established a partnership to implement the methodology developed by the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurement to implement SPP (MTF Approach on SPP). This partnership resulted in the implementation of a project entitled “Capacity Building for Sustainable Public Procurement in Developing Countries”, whereby UNEP rolled out the MTF Approach to SPP over the 2009-2012 period in 7 pilot countries (Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mauritius, Tunisia and Uruguay), with the support of the European Commission, the Swiss Government and the Organization of Francophone Countries.

The project produced a number of key outputs: 

Building on the foundation laid by UNEP’s work in the fields of Ecolabelling and SPP, the Sustainable Public Procurement and Ecolabelling Project started in April 2013 with the support of the European Commission, China and the Republic of Korea. 

The project seeks to combine Ecolabelling and SPP to achieve maximum synergies and to better deliver the common goal of stimulating the demand and supply of sustainable products.In order to reach the above mentioned objective, the project is implemented at regional and national levels. A knowledge management, outreach and communication component supports national and regional level activities. Download our brochure here.

With a view to addressing the many barriers facing SPP implementation, UNEP has also launched, in cooperation with a number of Governments and international organizations, an International Sustainable Public Procurement initiative (SPPI) at the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012. This international collaborative effort seeks to promote worldwide implementation of SPP through increased cooperation between key stakeholders and a better understanding of its potential benefits and impacts.

The SPPI is backed by the Global Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Clearinghouse which was launched after the ‘Rio+20’ UNCSD conference.

The SCP Clearinghouse is an online platform for communication and cooperation among different actors involved in the promotion of SCP. The platform provides SPP stakeholders with the possibility to access key services such as: 

  • Evolving database of initiatives or policies related to SPP; 
  • Possibility for policymakers and SCP practitioners to create and access public and private e-Groups;
  • Possibility to access a broad variety of publications, toolkits, guidelines, legal documents, articles, etc.  
  • Access to the Directory of experts and organizations
  • Access to news and information of a wide range of workshops, side-events, seminars and trainings.


 - (20/02/2013) Launch of the Global SCP Clearinghouse - 

- (21/06/2012) New Global Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative Harnesses Power of Public Spending to Fast-track Green Economy Transition - click here to access press release

- (18/06/2012) Rio+20 Side Event: Delivering sustainable development and enabling the transition to the green economy through sustainable public procurement: Launch of the International Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative (SPPI) – click here for details

- (18/06/2012) Study on the Impacts of Sustainable Public Procurement on Sustainable Development

- (18/06/2012) Sustainable Public Procurement Implementation Guidelines: Introducing UNEP's Approach - English - Spanish - French

- (18/06/2012) To access more resources, please visit of Documents and Resources page