ECPAR | Espace québécois de concertation sur les pratiques d'approvisionnement responsable

Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement is the integration of sustainable development and social responsibility into the acquisition processes of private and public organizations. It consists of integrating environmental, social and economic criteria into the procurement processes of goods and services, as a means of reducing the impact on the environment, increasing social benefits and enhancing the economic sustainability of organizations throughout the product life cycle.

Sustainable procurement practices

The standard practices to ensure the integration of sustainable development principles into procurement processes are listed below :

  1. Sustainable procurement policy
  2. Supplier code of conduct
  3. Determination of environmental, social and economic issues according to product, service, and production point categories (ideally based on the life cycle approach)
  4. Calculation of total ownership costs
  5. Integration of sustainable development criteria into calls for tenders and in other phases in the procurement process
  6. Use of a preferential margin
  7. Use of certifications
  8. Supplier assessments
  9. Production point audits
  10. Support for SME suppliers
  11. Support and training for suppliers

 A sustainable procurement process involves two distinct but complementary approaches :

  • Select the products that post the best environmental or social performances throughout their life cycles or in the life cycle phases in which the impacts are the most significant (product approach)
  • Mobilize and select (when appropriate) suppliers to foster the gradual management of the sustainable development issues in the sector (supplier approach)