How Communicating with the Market Can Enhance Sustainable Public Procurement

For many companies, the order volumes of public tenders are very compelling; however, insufficient communication on the part of contracting authorities can make bidding seem too complicated and costly. On the other hand, public procurers often lack a comprehensive overview of sustainable offers on the market. The CSCP brought procurers and bidders from the IT and textile sectors to a virtual table to discuss communication issues and the way forward.

Considering the public sector’s high demand, procuring in sustainable ways represents a major lever for achieving more sustainability and promoting fairness throughout the supply chains. Relevant policy frameworks, such as the amended European Public Procurement Directive and the German public procurement law reform, have prioritised social and environmental sustainability criteria in public procurement processes. While many legal issues have been clarified, uncertainties still remain. Deficits in communication between the procuring organisations and the market often hamper a successful implementation of sustainable procurement.

Frequently, companies that are on the offering side lack the right information with respect to sustainability criteria and their relevance for their business. Conversely, many procurers are unaware of sustainable offers or, even after communicating the importance of sustainability criteria, companies that meet the desired criteria submit incomplete or insufficient offers.

As part of the project ‘Impulses for Socially Responsible Public Procurement by Municipalities in Global Value Chains’ of the German Development Institute, the CSCP conducted three virtual stakeholder dialogues between public procurers and businesses from the IT and textile sectors. The aim was to identify key reasons for the existing information deficits and to collect good-practice examples of well-functioning communication between public procurement and the market. Through lively discussions, the participants got to know the challenges that the opposite side faces and voice their viewpoints.

The stakeholder discussions confirmed that involving the bidding companies in a dialog can counteract information deficits and make procurement processes more efficient in terms of procedure and impact. In both product areas, procurers agreed that sufficient resources and improved knowledge transfer are important prerequisites for formulating tender requirements in clear and detailed ways, making it easier to successfully review them. A long-term and goal-oriented dialog after the contract has been awarded was also deemed important.

The complete results of the discussions are summarised in the report “Communicating with the Market for Socially Responsible Sustainable Public Procurement”, which highlights the relevance of promoting early dialog between the parties and ensuring efficient exchanges throughout the process.

For further information, please contact Cristina Fedato.