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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2022

Sandra G. Hamilton

This paper examines the role of government procurement as a social policy mechanism within a multilateral open trading system. Government regulations globally are being…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the role of government procurement as a social policy mechanism within a multilateral open trading system. Government regulations globally are being transformed to foster more responsible business conduct in multinational enterprises (MNEs). Yet, concern that sustainability may present a discriminatory barrier to trade has stalled the progress of sustainable public procurement (SPP) at the international level, raising questions regarding the role and scope of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) to align taxpayer-funded contracts with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

Design/methodology/approach

With a focus on social sustainability, this paper reviews the grey and academic literature to assess the changing landscape of public procurement policy and supply chain legislation in high-income countries.

Findings

Frontrunner nations are adopting a mandatory approach to sustainable public procurement and due diligence legislation is elevating supply chain risk from reputational damage to legal liability. While technological innovation and the clean, green production of manufactured goods dominates the sustainable public procurement literature, the social aspects of sustainability poverty, inequality and human rights remain underrepresented.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of this paper is limited to the examination of government procurement covered by the WTO-GPA (2012). Smaller value contracts, under the WTO-GPA thresholds and the category of defence are beyond the scope of the paper.

Social implications

The paper focusses on the underserved topic of social sustainability in business-to-government (B2G) – business to government – supply chains arguing that for responsible business conduct to become a competitive advantage, it must be more meaningfully rewarded on the demand-side of all taxpayer-funded contracts in organisation for economic co-operation and development countries. The paper introduces the idea of priceless procurement as a mechanism to build system capacity in the evaluation of non-financial sustainability objectives.

Originality/value

To build the capacity to stimulate competition based on social and environmental policy objectives, the paper introduces the concept of priceless procurement in B2G contracts.

Article
Publication date: 3 September 2018

Martin E. Eikelboom, Cees Gelderman and Janjaap Semeijn

This study aims to highlight the effect of individual attributes of procurement professionals on goals concerning public procurement of sustainable innovation. Several…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to highlight the effect of individual attributes of procurement professionals on goals concerning public procurement of sustainable innovation. Several barriers haven been observed regarding the application of public money to achieve these goals. Most research concerning these barriers focuses on organizational factors. Corporate initiatives are typically presented as a way forward tot achieve sustainable innovation. Less attention is paid to the efforts and attributes of the individual procurement professional.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was sent to 283 officials, involved in the procurement process of a large public organization.

Findings

As expected, a lack of top management support has a negative impact on sustainable innovation. Legal and regulatory complexity is less of a hindrance. The results indicate that both individual innovativeness and individual collectivism have a significant positive effect on sustainable innovation. Findings further suggest that an important way for an organization to achieve sustainable innovation is to allow individuals sufficient discretion to pursue sustainable initiatives. Many initiatives can be attributed to the individual innovativeness of procurement professionals.

Originality/value

The relation beween individual attributes of procurement professionals on the application of public money to achieve goals of sustainable innovation is investigated and can serve as a basis for further sudy on this subject.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2009

Lutz Preuss

While the contribution of supply chain management to sustainability is receiving increasing attention in the private sector, there is still a scarcity of parallel studies…

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Abstract

Purpose

While the contribution of supply chain management to sustainability is receiving increasing attention in the private sector, there is still a scarcity of parallel studies of public procurement. Hence the purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which local government authorities in England use their procurement function to foster sustainable development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses an exploratory approach. Based on a review of the existing literature, qualitative research into leading local government authorities is undertaken to draw out the multiple ways in which public procurement can support sustainable development.

Findings

At an aggregate level, local government procurers have adopted a wide range of initiatives to address all three aspects of sustainability. These are condensed into a typology of sustainable supply chain management for the public sector.

Research limitations/implications

The study highlights the importance of supporting factors, like transparency, organisational culture and strategy as well as leeway in public policy, for sustainable supply chain management in the public sector.

Practical implications

The experience of the best practice local authorities deserves wider recognition among practitioners, policy makers and academic researchers, not least given the objective of the UK government to be among the leaders in the European Union on sustainable procurement by 2009.

Originality/value

The proposed typology of sustainable supply chain management for the public sector can serve as a basis for future research in this area.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2014

Joey Gormly

It is unclear as to what extent sustainable procurement is being practised in Ireland and what barriers there are to implementing it in organisations. This study provides…

Abstract

It is unclear as to what extent sustainable procurement is being practised in Ireland and what barriers there are to implementing it in organisations. This study provides the first complete insight into the use of sustainable procurement in Irish commercial semi-state bodies. It explores the extent and type of use of sustainable procurement plus identifies and examines the challenges to its use. A deductive approach is utilised to determine the barriers. Eleven participants, nine from the commercial semistate bodies and two experts with knowledge of this subject, are interviewed using semi-structured questions. The research findings show that sustainable procurement is being practised in the majority of the commercial semi-state bodies. Definition of sustainable procurement, the absence of mandatory guidelines, cost, time and a dearth of sustainable procurement knowledge by suppliers are some of the main barriers put forward by participants.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Claudia Gomes Aragão and Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour

Human resources practices, particularly regarding environmental training, play a key role in the dissemination of sustainable supply chain practices, especially sustainable

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Abstract

Purpose

Human resources practices, particularly regarding environmental training, play a key role in the dissemination of sustainable supply chain practices, especially sustainable procurement. Both environmental training and sustainable procurement can prompt environmental maturity (EM) among organizations. However, little is known about the relationship between environmental training and the adoption of sustainable procurement in public sector organizations of emerging economies, such as Brazil. In this context, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between environmental training and the adoption of sustainable procurement in three Brazilian public/state universities.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is qualitative and includes an exploratory study based on in-depth interviews with experts from the procurement section of Brazilian public universities. A methodological framework is proposed to analyze the results. The main questions that guided this study were: is there a relationship between the environmental-training initiatives and the adoption of sustainable procurement? Does this relationship, whether positive or negative, improve the maturity of environmental sustainability? And what is the future outlook for this issue in the context of public universities in Brazil?

Findings

According to the results’ analysis, the impact of sustainable procurement practices among the public organizations analyzed was almost void. The environmental training produced limited accomplishments, although respondents viewed it as a source of potential improvement, which indicates a co-evolution of sustainable procurement, environmental training and EM. In the cases analyzed, an alignment was identified among the levels of sustainable procurement and environmental training adoption.

Research limitations/implications

It was identified that the lacks of training and support from senior management, environmental culture, great bureaucracy and economic factors were considered barriers and difficulties to implementing environmental procurement practices. These barriers deserve further study.

Originality/value

There is a lack of research on the relationship between environmental training and the adoption of sustainable procurement in emerging economies and in public sector organizations.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 49 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2016

Eric Prier, Edward Schwerin and Clifford P. McCue

In general, there are many disincentives standing in the way of promoting change in public procurement practices by government agencies. Because engaging in sustainable

Abstract

In general, there are many disincentives standing in the way of promoting change in public procurement practices by government agencies. Because engaging in sustainable purchasing requires some level of entrepreneurialism and risk-taking, a sorting framework is adopted to gauge whether some organizations are systematically more likely to pursue sustainable public purchasing (SPP) efforts than others. One-way analysis of variance and other methods are applied to a survey of public procurement practitioners across over 300 governments in the U.S. Results strongly suggest that agencies of various scope and reach tend to abstain from aggressively pursuing SPP efforts. However, when they do employ SPP, these efforts tend to be quite variable across and within levels of government and organizational size. In an effort to bridge theory with empirical data, a strong case can be made that the current state of SPP in the United States is the result of random and very cautious experimentation with little systematic pattern to SPP adoption.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2009

Helen Walker and Stephen Brammer

This study aims to investigate sustainable procurement in the UK public sector.

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate sustainable procurement in the UK public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Sustainable procurement is investigated using a questionnaire that draws on established scales for “purchasing social responsibility”. The survey was administered across the UK public sector, and 106 responses were received from procurement officers.

Findings

Analysis of quantitative and qualitative survey data reveal there is significant variation across public sector agencies in the nature of sustainable procurement practice. Local authorities have a particularly strong emphasis on buying from local and small suppliers relative to other sectors, health looks generally lower in many categories, and education appears to have something of an emphasis on environmental aspects of sustainable procurement. Cost has been found to be the leading barrier to sustainable procurement, and top management support the leading facilitator.

Research limitations/implications

There is likely to be selection bias in the sample, with those practitioners engaging in the sustainability agenda being more likely to have responded to the questionnaire. The United Kingdom government has an objective amongst the leaders in Europe on sustainable procurement by 2009, and early signs are encouraging that progress towards this goal is underway.

Originality/value

This paper provides the first survey of sustainable procurement practices across the UK public sector. It also provides a conceptual framework of influences upon the propensity to engage in sustainable procurement practice.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 26 September 2022

Annukka Berg, Katriina Alhola, Juha Peltomaa and Satu Tietari

Public procurement is a major driving force that can be used to advance societal goals such as sustainability. The lack of strategic management and top-level commitment…

Abstract

Purpose

Public procurement is a major driving force that can be used to advance societal goals such as sustainability. The lack of strategic management and top-level commitment have been found to be major hindrances to the promotion of sustainable public procurement (SPP). This study aims to examine the functioning of a successful Finnish SPP development programme, the KEINO Academy (2019–2020), that tackled these challenges in a holistic way.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is mainly based on qualitative analysis of interviews with 24 municipal representatives.

Findings

The KEINO Academy advanced SPP management through the following functions: legitimising SPP development work, structuring SPP development work, offering expert support and facilitating peer support. The functions were mainly able to meet the key challenges experienced by the participating municipalities. However, some challenges cannot be directly solved by an intermediary such as the KEINO Academy. These challenges include, for example, a lack of resources.

Social implications

On the basis of the study, SPP development programmes should: build a holistic working model; respect the versatility of the participating organisations; involve all the key people in the organisations, including the directors; and sustain change.

Originality/value

The main theoretical contribution is the combination of two streams of literature, those of SPP management and intermediary functions. Further, the article makes an empirical contribution by studying the KEINO Academy as a pioneering SPP development case.

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2015

Cees J. Gelderman, Janjaap Semeijn and Frank Bouma

Little is known about the way local government utilizes the procurement function to promote sustainability. Sustainability is a political theme of considerable importance…

Abstract

Little is known about the way local government utilizes the procurement function to promote sustainability. Sustainability is a political theme of considerable importance at the local government level. We investigated the relationships between municipal executive councillors and procurement managers in three Dutch municipalities. We found that the party-political councillors focus on initiatives affecting citizens to create public visibility and electoral support. Procurement managers however, are primarily concerned with stakeholders within the organization serving different interests. Sustainability initiatives appear largely input-based rather than result-based. Procurement managers rarely consult with the councillors. Rather, department heads have the final say in allocating funds in the course of sustainability initiatives.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Shelena Keulemans and Steven Van de Walle

The purpose of this paper is to explore and explain public preferences for different public procurement practices. The paper looks into public support for…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore and explain public preferences for different public procurement practices. The paper looks into public support for cost-effectiveness, discriminatory procurement in favour of domestic suppliers and sustainable procurement.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses Eurobarometer public opinion data on 26.836 EU citizens from 27 EU countries.

Findings

This paper shows that EU citizens want public authorities to evaluate multiple aspects of any procurement offer in their public procurement decisions. It also found that, although cost-effectiveness and domestic favouritism are still important to EU citizens, citizens are most supportive of the objectives of sustainable procurement. Some associations between citizens’ procurement preferences and their social characteristics and political attitudes were found, but these only explain citizen procurement preferences to a limited extent. Country of residence has the strongest association with citizens’ acceptance of the objectives of sustainable procurement.

Research limitations/implications

Even though the data contain information on the procurement preferences of a large number of EU citizens, it is a topic of inquiry that is sensitive to social desirability bias.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the empirical understanding of public attitudes towards public procurement. It is one of few studies on citizen attitudes towards different public procurement practices.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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