Green public procurement (GPP) is the process of purchasing goods and services that have a lower environmental impact and contribute to social and economic goals. GPP can help governments reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and water, promote innovation and create green jobs.
But how can the G20, the group of 20 major economies that account for 80% of global GDP and 75% of global emissions, leverage GPP to achieve their climate and development targets?
In this blog post, I will share with you some of the best practices and challenges of GPP in the G20 countries, and how they can unlock their full potential in 2023.
Why is GPP important for the G20?
GPP is not only a smart environmental policy, but also a strategic economic opportunity. According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), GPP can generate significant savings for public budgets, enhance competitiveness and innovation, and create new markets for green products and services.
For example, the European Union estimates that GPP can save up to 20% of public procurement expenditure, which amounts to €300 billion per year. In China, GPP has stimulated the development of green industries such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy-efficient buildings. In South Africa, GPP has supported the transition to a low-carbon economy and created more than 400,000 green jobs.
GPP can also help the G20 countries meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By aligning their procurement policies with their national and international goals, the G20 countries can demonstrate global leadership and inspire other countries to follow suit.
What are the best practices of GPP in the G20?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to GPP, some common elements can be identified among the successful cases of GPP in the G20 countries. These include:
- Setting clear and ambitious targets and indicators for GPP at the national and subnational levels.
- Establishing legal frameworks and institutional mechanisms to support the implementation and monitoring of GPP.
- Developing technical criteria and standards for green products and services based on life-cycle assessment and market analysis.
- Providing training and guidance for public procurers and suppliers on how to apply GPP in practice.
- Creating incentives and recognition schemes for public entities and private companies that adopt GPP.
- Engaging stakeholders from different sectors and levels of government in the design and evaluation of GPP policies.
Some examples of best practices of GPP in the G20 countries are:
- The Green Public Procurement Programme in Korea, which has achieved a 95% compliance rate among public institutions and saved more than $6 billion in environmental costs since 2005.
- The Sustainable Public Procurement Policy in Brazil, which has reduced carbon emissions by 170,000 tonnes and water consumption by 1.4 billion liters through green contracts since 2010.
- The Green Purchasing Network in Japan, which has mobilized more than 2,500 organizations from the public and private sectors to promote green procurement through information sharing, capacity building and award schemes since 1996.
What are the challenges of GPP in the G20?
Despite the benefits and opportunities of GPP, there are also some barriers and challenges that hinder its widespread adoption and implementation in the G20 countries. These include:
- Lack of political will and leadership to prioritize GPP as a strategic policy tool.
- Lack of coordination and coherence among different ministries and agencies involved in public procurement.
- Lack of data and evidence on the environmental, social and economic impacts of GPP.
- Lack of awareness and capacity among public procurers and suppliers on how to apply GPP criteria and standards.
- Lack of market availability and competitiveness of green products and services.
- Lack of stakeholder participation and collaboration in the development and implementation of GPP policies.
Some examples of challenges of GPP in the G20 countries are:
- The low level of implementation of the National Action Plan on Sustainable Public Procurement in India, which has only covered 10% of central government procurement since 2012.
- The limited scope and impact of the Green Procurement Policy in Canada, which has only focused on a few product categories such as office equipment, paper and vehicles since 2006.
- The high cost and complexity of complying with the Green Seal Certification in the United States, which has discouraged many small and medium-sized enterprises from participating in green procurement since 1989.
How to unlock the G20’s green public procurement potential in 2023?
In order to unlock the full potential of GPP in the G20 countries, some key actions need to be taken by different actors at different levels. These include:
- The leaders of the G20 countries should endorse a common vision and roadmap for scaling up GPP at their next summit in 2023.
- The ministers of finance, environment, trade and industry should coordinate their policies and budgets to support the implementation of GPP across sectors and regions.
- The national governments should adopt or revise their legal frameworks and institutional mechanisms to ensure compliance and accountability for GPP.
- The local governments should develop or update their action plans and indicators for measuring progress and impact of GPP.
- The public procurers should increase their knowledge and skills on how to apply GPP criteria
and standards in their procurement processes.
- The suppliers should improve their environmental performance
and innovation capacity to offer competitive
and quality green products
- The civil society organizations should monitor
of GPP policies
- The media
and academia should raise awareness
and disseminate best practices
and lessons learned
on GPP among different stakeholders
GPP is a powerful tool
to drive sustainable development
across the world.
By unlocking its potential
the G20 countries can demonstrate their global leadership
and inspire other countries
to follow suit.
Let’s make it happen!
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