EU Green Deal and the Portuguese public procurement

Raquel Carvalho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Public procurement started as an economic instrument to help build the internal market. Since its inception, though, other goals have been continuously added to it. Slowly but firmly, the EU has transformed public procurement into a very complex instrument extending far beyond ensuring “best value for money” as its initial economic goal. Underneath the umbrella of sustainability, several instruments can be found, including procedure dematerialization, award criteria factors regarding environmental features (cycling costs, environmental externalities, CO2 emissions – articles 67, 68 Directive 2014/24/EU), social awareness (Directive article 70 2014/24/EU), and innovation (Directive article 31). With the New Green Deal, the EU has taken a step further and has dived deeper into sustainability. A mere aim for sustainability is no longer sufficient for public procurement to be considered sustainable. The economy must, to be considered sustainable, be perceived as having a broader dimension and considered as a minimum strategy to fight climate change and environmental degradation. As such, public procurement and its economic value play a decisive role in these EU and UN SGD goals and in the implementation of a circular economy policy. Portugal has welcomed these strategies in its internal legal framework, that is, in its National Strategy for Green Public Procurement and its Action Plan for the Circular Economy in Portugal. The Court of Auditors has also made an Audit on Green Public Procurement, which can be a useful tool in assessing the National Strategy implementation, coupled with the establishment of guidelines for particular products and services, aimed at a transition to a circular economy (CE). Although the concept of CE is yet to be firmly settled in the field of law, this chapter aims to draw the Portuguese picture of sustainable procurement tools within the frame of sustainability of both Portugal and the EU, accounting also for circular practices. The environmental criteria contained in the National Strategy for Green Public Procurement will therefore be analysed and contrasted with the EU framework, coupled with several economic operators' experiences regarding new business models embedding circular principles. It is relevant to, at least with the available data, partially assess whether both contracting authorities and economic operators are attuned regarding some products and services, as in the contrary the implementation of sustainability within this paradigm will either fail or not be as successful as it could be or should be to contribute to the EU Green Deal. The conclusions drawn from this analysis may be useful in the future when contracting authorities deepen the PP planning to implement the transition to circular procurement. The preliminary consultations can gain relevance in this pre-stage of public procurement procedure and become an important instrument in the implementation of sustainable public procurement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability in public procurement, corporate law and higher education
EditorsLela Melon
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781000872460, 9781003252153
ISBN (Print)9781032151038
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'EU Green Deal and the Portuguese public procurement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this