Sustainability through public procurement: the way forward – Reform Proposals

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See all articles by Marta Andhov

Marta Andhov

University of Copenhagen - Centre for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA)

Roberto Caranta

Law Faculty - University of Turin

Tim Stoffel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jolien Grandia

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Willem A. Janssen

Utrecht University - School of Law

ROXANA VORNICU

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jason J. Czarnezki

Pace University - School of Law

Adam Gromnica

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kristin Tallbo

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Olga Martin-Ortega

University of Greenwich - School of Law

Lela Mélon

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Åsa Edman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pauline Göthberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Nohrstedt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Anja Wiesbrock

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 23, 2020

Abstract

ISBN 978-82-691886-0-8

Public procurement amounts to about 16 per cent of the EU Member States’ GDP. A major contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is possible by enhancing sustainable procurement practices. The 2014 EU Public Procurement Directives (Directives 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU) have largely clarified the scope for permissible sustainable procurement decisions, but the adoption of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is still limited. The rules could be more permissive and thoroughly take into account all the different aspects of sustainability. Even more urgent and essential is to push for behavioural and organisational changes in the ways contracting authorities perform their buying functions to maximise positive, sustainable impacts. It is critical to change procurement management practices so that the sustainability demanded in contracts is properly verified along the entire supply chain and remedial actions are taken where non-compliance is detected.

Solution: We make three main proposals:

1. That the EU invest significantly in the professionalisation of contracting officials, procurement strategists and financial auditors by (a) encouraging the institution of SPP knowledge centres at the EU, national and regional levels following the model already provided by various Central Purchasing Bodies; (b) creating a network of knowledge centres working closely together in developing and disseminating best practices on SPP, including through training materials, and in collecting information and data on the adoption of SPP and the difficulties encountered in applying the relevant EU rules, and (c) providing financial and technical assistance targeted to specific SPP formation for ground-level contracting officials.

2. That the EU make it mandatory for contracting authorities to map and monitor their supply chains for risks of breaches of environmental and social rules, including those protecting human rights. That the EU take those breaches seriously, mandating the exclusion from award procedures of those found in violation and appropriate remedial actions in case of violations during contract performance. That the EU make it easier for contracting authorities to know about economic operators that have breached environmental and social rules, including those protecting human rights.

3. That the EU make the legislative environment more ‘SPP friendly’. Contracting authorities must be allowed to require suppliers to have effective sustainability policies in place. A shift is needed from enabling the Member States to pursue SPP to requiring them to buy sustainably by increasing the amount of mandatory sectoral legislation and by requiring contracting authority to take into account the life-cycle costs associated with their purchases.

Non-solution: Simply relying on the goodwill of individual procurement officers or policy makers without providing training and networking opportunities on SPP and information and communication tools; leaving the regulatory burden of pushing SPP forward on the shoulders of Member States.
Instruments: The Commission, including DG Devco in its procurement activities in Official Development Assistance (ODA), and other EU institutions should lead by example concerning the professionalisation of procurement officials and the creation of competence centres. The Commission should act as a catalyst for the network of competence centres, and adequate funds should be released to fund the actions recommended under solution point 1 above. The Commission, possibly together with OECD, should collect data on breaches of environmental and social rules, including those protecting human rights, and make that data available to contracting authorities. The other solutions under points 2 and 3 mainly require amendments to Directives 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU. Ad hoc rules need to be adopted to enact further sectoral mandatory legislation.

Keywords: sustainability; sustainable public procurement, reform proposal; SPP; public procurement; EU Green Deal

Suggested Citation

Andhov, Marta and Caranta, Roberto and Stoffel, Tim and Grandia, Jolien and Janssen, Willem A. and VORNICU, ROXANA and Czarnezki, Jason J. and Gromnica, Adam and Tallbo, Kristin and Martin-Ortega, Olga and Mélon, Lela and Edman, Åsa and Göthberg, Pauline and Nohrstedt, Peter and Wiesbrock, Anja, Sustainability through public procurement: the way forward – Reform Proposals (March 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Marta Andhov (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Centre for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA) ( email )

Karen Blixens Vej 16
Copenhagen, 2300
Denmark

Roberto Caranta

Law Faculty - University of Turin ( email )

++390116703214 (Phone)
++390116703211 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.giurisprudenza.unito.it/sito2/

Tim Stoffel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jolien Grandia

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Willem A. Janssen

Utrecht University - School of Law ( email )

Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

ROXANA VORNICU

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jason J. Czarnezki

Pace University - School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

Adam Gromnica

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kristin Tallbo

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Olga Martin-Ortega

University of Greenwich - School of Law

CampusOld Royal Naval College
Park Row
London, SE10 9LS
United Kingdom

Lela Mélon

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Åsa Edman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pauline Göthberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Nohrstedt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Anja Wiesbrock

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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