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Driving sustainable supply chain management in the public sector: The importance of public procurement in the European Union

Markus Amann (Research Center for Law and Management of Public Procurement, Bundeswehr University Munich, Neubiberg, Germany)
Jens K. Roehrich (School of Management, Univeristy of Bath, Bath, UK)
Michael Eßig (Research Center for Law and Management of Public Procurement, Bundeswehr University Munich, Neubiberg, Germany)
Christine Harland (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 6 May 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of connections between sustainability policy goals included in public procurement tenders and offers and their achievement through contract award.

Design/methodology/approach

Two hypotheses based on extant literature and the inducement–contribution theory were tested by means of a survey of 281 procurement files from 2007 to 2009 relating to eight product categories and four European Union (EU) member states. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Findings indicate that public procurement was more effective in influencing socially responsible goals than environmental goals. In terms of supplier readiness, vendors achieved greater progress in delivering green than socially responsible operations.

Research limitations/implications

The collection and analysis of data are based on procurement files, which is a new but also a complex procedure. In comparison to survey data, the data from procurement file analysis are less biased.

Practical implications

Public procurement practitioners and sustainability policymakers should consider the use of public procurement as a lever to attain environmental and socially responsible goals.

Social implications

Evidence has been provided to demonstrate the strategic use of public procurement impacts on environmental and socially responsible goals, thereby benefiting society.

Originality/value

This study contributes in three main ways: first, by adding to existing, limited research on the use of public procurement as a lever of policy goals attainment; second, by examining environmental and socially responsible policy in one study; and third, through providing evidence across EU member states.

Keywords

Citation

Amann, M., K. Roehrich, J., Eßig, M. and Harland, C. (2014), "Driving sustainable supply chain management in the public sector: The importance of public procurement in the European Union", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 351-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-12-2013-0447

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited