Multidimensionality of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP): exploring concepts and effects in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

Stoffel, Tim / Carol Cravero / Annamaria La Chimia / Geo Quinot
External Publications (2019)

in: Sustainability 11 (22), article 6352

Open access

Strategic objectives in public procurement, such as environmental or social considerations, are being increasingly referred to under the umbrella term of sustainable public procurement (SPP). The concept of sustainability is intrinsically multidimensional, encompassing environmental, social, and economic aspects. However, the existing literature on SPP highlights the generalization that the regulation and practices of public procurement are biased toward the environmental dimension. There is conflicting evidence from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that calls for further investigation. Analyzing how SPP is actually constituted in SSA and contrasting it with the situation in the European Union (EU), as a spotlight on the Global South and North, contributes to a better understanding of sustainability in public procurement. The comparative analysis will help with understanding processes related to the integration or disintegration of sustainability dimensions in SPP. Our results indicate a contrary orientation on the environmental and the social dimensions in the EU and SSA. Although there is no sign of a comprehensive integration of all dimensions in SPP, there are developments toward the integration of the ‘missing’ dimension in the respective regional setting. Thus, at the moment, achieving a multidimensional implementation of SPP appears to be more a matter of expanding SPP practices of the ‘missing’ dimension than of pushing for integrated concepts.

About the author

Stoffel, Tim

Political Scientist


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