Sustainable procurement  

With more than 30 years of specialized experience, UNOPS is a central procurement resource in the United Nations system and is working towards including sustainability considerations in all its procurement.

In 2011, UNOPS procured millions of health products for its partners, such as  these bednets bought with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Myanmar. Photo: Global Fund


The procurement of vital goods and services provides an essential building block for many United Nations activities.

Ban Ki-moon,
UN Secretary-General

UNOPS critical role was reconfirmed in 2010 by a General Assembly resolution clarifying our mandate. The organization has recently accelerated the move towards sustainability organization-wide,
with the final goal of making sustainable procurement ‘business as usual’.

We buy around $800 million of high-quality, best-value goods, works and services each year, helping to ensure the successful and timely implementation of our partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects.

Environmental, economic and social sustainability

UNOPS can support its clients in advancing sustainable practices in procurement in a range of ways:

  • building long-term environmental, economic and social considerations into solicitation and contract documents
  • informing our partners of the environmental impacts of various products
  • applying different evaluation models to allow consideration of life cycle cost and total cost of ownership

UNOPS emphasises sustainability in procurement, for example by:

  • ensuring our suppliers comply with specific conditions on mines, child labour, sexual exploitation, and the fundamental rights of workers
  • supporting the United Nations Global Compact and strongly encouraging our suppliers to do so. The Global Compact is a voluntary corporate citizenship network which asks companies to abide by a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption
  • partnering with other UN bodies to develop sustainable procurement training tools, conduct assessments and develop capacity in sustainable procurement. For example UNOPS helped produce Buying For A Better World, a sustainable procurement guide for the United Nations, published in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Training Center of the ILO.

Supplier outreach

UNOPS collaborates with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities and state chambers of commerce to inform potential vendors on how to do business with the UN. This programme facilitates the development of local capacity, increases transparency around UN procurement and boosts our access to new supply markets, especially in developing countries.

Procurement services partners

UNOPS procures on behalf of:

  • The United Nations
  • Donor and recipient governments
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • International and regional financial institutions
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Foundations
  • The private sector

Representatives from these organizations if interested in procuring goods or services via UNOPS should please complete the UNOPS client request form.