UNEP Launches Sustainable Procurement Program for World Governments

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is launching an initiative to channel trillions of dollars into the green economy by re-orienting the world’s governments toward policies that favor those purchases. 

The Sustainable Public Procurement Programme will be led by UNEP, Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute and US-based ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. 

They cite the US as a model, where under President Obama’s executive order, every agency is required to incorporate sustainability considerations into buying decisions, from recycled content to energy and water-efficient products.


OECD nations "spent an average 13% of GDP on public procurement in 2011, while in some developing nations this can hit 20%, adding up to trillions of dollars globally and demonstrating the scale of the opportunity ahead," notes Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. "Governments can use this potential to lead markets onto a sustainable path by demanding goods and services that conserve natural resources, create decent green jobs, and improve livelihoods around the globe." 

We need to make sure these purchasing decisions become the norm, not the exception, he says. 

The initiative is one of many outgrowths from Rio+20, when leaders agreed to a 10-Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production. It’s been progressing since 2012 – this new arm of the program is oriented toward removing barriers to sustainable procurement.

The first UN Environment Assembly takes place June 23-27 in New York, when the world’s environment ministers will discuss a sustainable development agenda, with a focus on sustainable consumption and production.

Learn more about the program:

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