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Exploring the challenges and rewards of sustainable public procurement

Lina Wedin Hansson, Lund University Researcher at the Department of Sociology of Law, explains barriers, drivers, and trends of ‘green’ procurement.
byggande Malmö

Sustainable public procurement is essentially when a governmental organisation consciously decides to purchase sustainable, or environmental-friendly alternatives. This practice can apply to products, services, projects, and other purchases or investments. The European Commission states that, Sustainable Public Procurement is a process by which public authorities seek to achieve the appropriate balance between the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - when procuring goods, services or works at all stages of a project.

Kick-start new sustainable trends

A strategic tool for circular economy

Public procurement can help advance towards a circular economy by establishing markets for new products and new business-models. “It can also enable the market finding solutions for a more resource-efficient society and encourage the market itself to transition also, e.g. by suppliers influencing sub-contractors and competitors,” comments Lina.

In her recent workshop in Lund on May 24 2016, Lina focused on the role of public procurement to further circular resource models, learning from good examples and a holistic perspective on public procurement as a strategic tool to support sustainable development through circular resource models. Reed more about the conference (in Swedish)

Several research projects

Lina is is also involved with numerous research projects (outlined below).

  1. “Green innovations in construction – investigating the regulatory space for sustainable solutions in the construction sector,” funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences in collaboration with Skanska Sweden AB and affiliation with Sociology of Law Department, Lund University, in a postdoctoral research project called Flexit.

  2. “Collaboration and sustainability considerations in the construction public procurement process.” Financed by Formas and the City of Malmö. Co-researcher is Susanna Johansson at the School of Social Work, LU.

  3. “Procurement for Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment.” I am one of 11 researchers from universities from all over Sweden studying this area from a trans-disciplinary perspective. It is also financed by Formas.

Text: Jack Fraser, a student journalist at Sustainability Forum and a master student at iiiee, Lund University.

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