Pubic procurement and sustainable development

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Public procurement has been evolving from an economic instrument into a mixed one with the inclusion of horizontal policies (both environmental and social ones). The latest Directives regarding public procurement have turned some of the previous “suggested” instruments into binding law, namely the sustainability principle, mandatory procedure dematerialization, ecolabels, life-cycle costing as a factor within the most economically advantageous tender criterion, social protection of persons with disabilities, specific procedure rules concerning certain social contracts, and innovation as an instrument to achieve sustainability. This legal instrument has been recognised as a strong legal mechanism to achieve the 12th SGD goal for promoting sustainable public procurement practices, in line with national policies and priorities (target 12.7). This is why public procurement actors must consider EU determinations such as The New Green Deal, which intends to make EU economy sustainable: “public authorities, including the EU institutions, should lead by example and ensure that their procurement is green” (European Commission, 2019a, §2.1.3). Since public procurement appears to be an interesting instrument for transitioning from a linear economy to a circular (sustainable) one, the EU has also published the Circular Economy Action Plan, the latest dating from March (European Commission, 2020a) and including a “sustainable products policy” to help public procurers design procurement and economic operators adapt their business models thereto. Both documents focus on “reducing and reusing materials before recycling”, particularly in resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics, and plastics. While many Member States have been implementing green public procurement (hereinafter: GPP) in several economic fields, studies have shown that procedures still lack common methodologies, among other difficulties regarding the Life Cycle Costing (hereinafter: LCC) factor implementation. In this paper, we will therefore go through several of these national legal solutions and practices to understand how far GPP has been implemented and which methodologies are being applied (GPP Good Practice), dwelling particularly on the latest Portuguese guides concerning GPP, and analyse how far the present implementation meets the requirements of circular economy (Portuguese National Strategy of Green Public Buy 2020: hereinafter: ENCPE 2020a). This is the first step towards building guidelines for both public procurers and economic operators: as regards the first, in order to help them design adequate sustainable public procurement procedures; as for the latter, to help them adapt their business models accordingly. Sustainable development within public procurement can only be achieved that way.
Idioma originalEnglish
Páginas (de-até)171-189
Número de páginas19
RevistaRevista de Direito Público da Economia
Número de emissão78
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - jun 2022

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  • Public procurement and sustainable development

    Carvalho, R., 5 nov 2021, Accelerating the progress towards the 2030 SDGs in times of crisis. Johansson, C. & Mauerhofer, V. (eds.). Sweden: Mid Sweden University, p. 1698-1716 19 p.

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