Giving you the resource that you asked for
We reached out to over 30 sustainable procurement practitioners and experts across the world to help shape this guidance. This included representatives from national authorities and oversight bodies at different stages of the SPP journey, as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector. We wanted to understand the key barriers to governments in adopting SPP, and whether and where there were gaps in the existing resources and approaches. Here is what you said to us and what we did about it:
- Guidance must be practical and grounded in day-to-day needs.
We heard from our users that existing guidance can often be hard to implement in a practical way. This is especially relevant for procurement practitioners, who expressed the difficulty of applying general guidance in a specific procurement contract. Our toolkit responds to this need by pulling together the existing guidance in a more user-friendly way, and we also include two sections with practical guidance on how to implement Open SPP in specific procurement categories.
- Guidance must be usable for different procurement and tech maturity levels.
User needs vary depending on which stage of SPP journey they find themselves in. Our conversations with users reiterated that guidance is most useful when it acknowledges and addresses these different needs. For that reason, this toolkit is structured in three sections. The introduction and section one are the most useful for those who are at the start of the journey. For those who have already made some headway, these sections will also be relevant, but they will find the most practical information on sections two and three. More advanced practitioners will probably focus on section three.
- Green procurement is the highest priority.
Implementing sustainable procurement includes considering factors across the three pillars of sustainable procurement: economic, social, and environmental. However, most of our users were particularly interested in learning more about the environmental pillar.
Firstly, recent commitments to net zero targets by many governments have led to an increased interest in measuring greenhouse gas emissions associated with public sector activities and public supply chains. Secondly, we found that there is already a lot of work being done across the other two pillars, especially in relation to promoting women-led businesses, and SMEs (including a great guide by OCP). Finally, implementing green procurement can sometimes require specific technical expertise that frontline procurement officials lack.
To that end, we’ve focussed most of the deep dive examples of environmental issues, whilst also showing how all three sustainability goals can reinforce each other.
- Users do not want a long, static document.
Most existing resources are presented in a static format, typically as long PDF documents. Although this can be useful, our users expressed the need for more interactive resources. Because of this, we have decided to use this format, breaking down the toolkit into specific sections, creating downloadable tools, and directories that can facilitate user access to relevant information.
- Users want help navigating existing guidance.
General feedback from our users is that there is a lot of guidance, but that it is often fragmented and difficult to navigate. To tackle this, our toolkit includes a resource directory, which can help users identify existing resources, and select those which are most useful to them. We also point to existing guidance throughout the toolkit, inviting users to use available materials that provide further information.
- There is already lots of good stuff out there!
Although sustainable procurement is relatively new for many public bodies, there are also many who have been championing implementation these last few years. In our toolkit, we include some of the best case studies we have found, hoping that these will serve as inspiration for users, and even prompt them to reach out and start a discussion.