12.7 Sustainable public procurement 12.7 Sustainable public procurement

12.7 Sustainable public procurement
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Sub-goal 12.7 aims to promote sustainable practices in public procurement, in line with national policies and priorities.

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The Public Procurement Law (Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB), Regulation  and the Ordinance on the Award of Public Contracts (VgV), sector-specific procurement regulations) is based on EU law. The GWB regulates that aspects of environmental protection must be taken into account when awarding contracts. Regulations in the VgV place the application of sustainability aspects partly at the discretion of the public client. The Federal Climate Protection Act (KSG) introduced a preferential obligation for climate-friendly products and services in federal public procurement. A similar provision is made for resource-saving products and services in the amended Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (KrWG). Federal procurement agencies must also apply the General Administrative Regulation for the Procurement of Energy-Efficient Services (AVV EnEff). There are also mandatory regulations at state level to anchor sustainability aspects in public procurement.

In order to promote sustainable procurement in Germany, the Federal Government has established information and support services for public clients. As the federal government's central information and advisory office on sustainable public procurement, the ‘Centre of Competence for Sustainable Procurement’ (KNB) supports public clients at federal, state and local level in the consideration of sustainability criteria. Since 2012, public procurers can contact the KNB via telephone hotlines, e-mail and a portal to obtain information and training. The web portal ‘Compass Sustainability’ (Kompass Nachhaltigkeit) provides practical support for procurement managers with further background information on sustainable procurement, on the integration of sustainability criteria according to the specifications of the public procurement laws, or with a supplier overview. The Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt (UBA)) also offers a comprehensive range of information for practitioners with training scripts, tender recommendations, product guides, life cycle cost calculators, practical examples and much more.

In addition, the Federal Government's Sustainability Action Programme contains concrete regulations on the orientation of public procurement towards the guiding principle of sustainable development. These include targets for specific product groups (paper, textiles, vehicles) and annual monitoring. In addition, numerous civil society actors are also campaigning for more sustainability in procurement - such as the Service Agency of Communities in the One World (SKEW) or the Fairtrade Towns initiative - both with a special focus on municipalities.

In the course of updating the German Sustainability Strategy 2018, indicators for sustainable procurement were introduced for the first time. According to the specifications of the Sustainability Action Programme, the share of paper bearing the "Blue Angel" seal in the total paper consumption of the federal administration is to reach 95 percent by 2020, and CO2 emissions from standard public-sector vehicles are to be significantly reduced. The indicators developed for this purpose are key indicators.  To measure the implementation of SDG 12.7 at the international level, the study looks at how many countries have policies and action plans for sustainable public procurement. Germany has already met this indicator through the above-mentioned programs and measures (see also National Reporting Platform (NRP)).

Competence Center for Innovative Procurement (KOINNO)

Within the framework of the Competence Center for Innovative Procurement (KOINNO) of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), consumers and awarding authorities are to recognize their innovation potential more strongly than before and integrate it into their strategic orientation.
In this way, structural, organisational and legal obstacles can be overcome in order to increase the share of innovations in administration and industry. The competence centre supports this process of further development and transformation with advice, services and events.

12.7 Sustainable public procurement
Fairtrade Deutschland

"Fairtrade-Towns" promote fair trade on the local level. They are the result of the cooperation of a network of actors from civil society, politics and business.
Cities, independent cities, urban districts, municipalities, association municipalities, districts, regions, islands and federal states can apply to become a "Fairtrade Town". There are currently 745 "Fairtrade-Towns" in Germany, participation in the campaign is free of charge.

12.7 Sustainable public procurement
SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 11
Competence Centre for Sustainable Consumption (KNK)


Whether it's food, mobility or clothing, consumption as a cross-sectional issue encompasses all areas of our everyday lives. In accordance with that, many ministries and stakeholders are involved in promoting sustainable consumption in Germany. The Competence Center for Sustainable Consumption was established to support their cooperation, the networking of activities, and the exchange and provision of knowledge. Subordinate authorities of several participating ministries work closely together in the Competence Center, and the office is located at the Federal Environment Agency.


12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.7 Sustainable public procurement 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
SDG 1 SDG 4 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 11
German Sustainability Strategy

The German Sustainability Strategy was adopted in 2002, most recently the Federal Government revised the strategy in 2016 and decided to update it in 2018. It is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In order to ensure adequate nutrition worldwide, the German government wants to support good governance. It aims to expand organic farming to 20 percent of the arable land by 2030. By 2025, private and public spending on research and development is to rise to at least 3.5 percent of the GDP.

12.7 Sustainable public procurement
SDG 9 SDG 15 SDG 16
Sustainability Compass

To support practitioners in implementing more sustainable procurement, the Sustainability Compass was launched in 2010. The information platform is intended to support and motivate public purchasers at all administrative levels to take greater account of social and ecological concerns in their purchasing activities.
As part of a revision in 2014, the website was supplemented by a municipal service, the "Municipal Compass". This is geared to the special needs of municipal procurers and provides information and practical examples specific to the federal states.
The compass offers among other things orientation guide to sustainability standards in important product groups, lists of certified suppliers, formulations for the tender documents as well as background information on sustainable procurement, legal bases and further links.
In 2019 a Procurement Tool was launched. The Procurement Tool supports the decision-making processes preceding the preparation of the tender documents. A set of queries guides through important questions such as legal framework, market situation and availability of suitable labels.
The Sustainability Compass is a website provided by Engagement Global with its Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

12.7 Sustainable public procurement
SDG 9 SDG 16