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Sustainable procurement practice in the public sector: An international comparative study

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31, no.4, p. 452–476.

Stephen Brammer, Helen Walker, 2011

Summary :

Public procurement is a significant and yet understudied phenomenon. In light of debates concerning the transparency of public procurement, growing interest in sustainable public procurement as a means to stimulate corporate social responsibility in the private sector, and concerns regarding the competitive impacts of public procurement policies, we explore sustainable procurement practice internationally. In particular, we report the findings of a survey of sustainable procurement practices within a sample of over 280 public procurement practitioners from 20 countries and with collective responsibility for expenditure totalling $45bn. Building upon a conceptual model that emphasises the importance of national policy environments regarding sustainable procurement mediated by a range of organisational contextual factors, our analysis shows that a wide range of sustainable procurement practices are embedded to some degree in public sector procurement practice around the world and that the extent and nature of sustainable procurement practices varies significantly across countries.