Why Should Public Procurement Be About Sustainability?
In Sustainable Public Procurement Under EU Law: New Perspectives on the State as Stakeholder, Beate Sjåfjell and Anja Wiesbrock (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2016
25 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2017 Last revised: 7 Dec 2018
Date Written: 2016
Public procurement law, the rules regulating purchase of goods and service by public agencies, is an area of great economic interest. While the main focus on the EU level has been on facilitating competition, transparency, non-discrimination and anti-corruption, the last decade has seen a growing recognition of the importance of employing economic drivers to promote overarching societal goals. Next to the objective of increasing the simplicity and flexibility of EU public procurement law, a major aim of the 2014 Procurement Directives of the EU is to enlarge the possibilities for using public procurement in support of broader social and environmental goals. The EU Commission has defined public procurement as a policy strategic instrument to achieve sustainability, and as an essential contribution to the achievement of EU’s goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Public procurement is seen as a driver to stimulate innovation and resource-efficiency, and as an integral part of an industrial policy for a global, low-carbon economy.
This is the introductory Chapter to the volume Sustainable Public Procurement under EU Law: New Perspectives on the State as Stakeholder (Cambridge University Press, 2015). The Chapter proceeds with a discussion of the legal status of sustainability in EU law, thereunder whether the EU 2020 goal of ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ is in line with EU law. Thereafter, we outline the process leading towards the adoption of the 2014 Public Procurement Directives, give an overview of the main elements of the directives and the stages of a public procurement process where environmental and social concerns may be integrated, and present the other chapters in this volume.
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