Developing a policy
Sustainable procurement in Government
The use of purchasing power to encourage sustainable goods and services is a key policy objective of governments worldwide. Drivers for government action include community concern, a trend towards using non-regulatory market-based tools and a desire to show community leadership. In addition, government agencies are often significant players in the marketplace and can exert considerable leverage. Federal and state governments in Australia spend about $42 billion on goods and services every year.
Most government sustainable procurement policies use a mix of strategies. These include:
- influencing procurement patterns to favour sustainable products or discourage unsustainable ones;
- encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to improve their own operations (e.g. requiring them to have environment management systems);
- requiring manufacturers and suppliers to have greater responsibility for the life cycle impacts of their products (e.g. product stewardship schemes);
- direct regulatory intervention, such as bans or mandatory performance requirements (e.g. eco-specifications on government motor vehicles contract);
- educating suppliers and the broader community on economic, social and environmental impacts of their production and consumption patterns.
Page last updated: 27 February 2011