UNOPS to advise Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative

UNOPS has been selected to join a high-level advisory committee for the new global scheme to promote sustainable procurement.

The Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative (SPPI), launched at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to help governments maximize environmental, economic and social benefits from the public procurement of goods and services.

The world’s population is expected to exceed eight billion by 2030. Global food needs are projected to increase by 50 percent, global energy needs by 45 percent, and global water needs by 30 percent. Sustainable growth rests on striking the appropriate balance between economic, social and environmental development, by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

The goal of the SPPI is to promote worldwide implementation of sustainable public procurement through increased cooperation between key stakeholders.

Through sustainable procurement, organizations meet their needs for goods, works and services in a way that achieves value for money and generates benefits beyond the organization to the economy and society as a whole, while minimizing environmental costs. Public procurement, which typically represents between 15 to 25 percent of a country’s GDP, offers a unique opportunity to propel markets toward innovation and sustainability.

In cooperation with UNEP, UNOPS is helping to develop tools, resources and knowledge to expand sustainable procurement within the UN system.

Sustainable procurement can help secure the best value for money and optimum resource utilization with regard to the whole life cycle cost of a project. As a leading body in the field of sustainable procurement within the UN, UNOPS already provides training and advisory services to partners and fellow UN bodies.

For example, UNOPS is helping new UN compounds in Copenhagen and Panama City incorporate environmental considerations during construction; it is ensuring that aid money spent on Haiti is spent in Haiti, by procuring local labour during the rebuilding of the country; and it is empowering buyers on the UN Web Buy catalogue to make informed choices about sustainable options, by providing environmental ratings alongside economic information on a variety of products.

These and other practices have led UNOPS to receive the acclaimed Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Certification in sustainable procurement, which endorses excellence in procurement policies, procedures and practices. In addition, UNOPS is partnering with CIPS to help other organizations raise their procurement processes to the highest standards of sustainability.

 "The Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative will play a vital role in the promotion of sustainable development worldwide and we are honoured to be invited to take a strategic role," said Therese Ballard, Director of UNOPS Procurement and Supply Chain Practice Group.

"As a central resource for the United Nations in procurement, with a proven commitment to sustainability, UNOPS is well-placed to help advance procurement best practice within the UN system and beyond," she added.