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The power of public procurement: social equity and sustainability as externalities and as deliberate policy tools

Published Online:pp 336-362https://doi.org/10.1504/IJPM.2019.099553

Cities in the USA are facing the impacts of climate change and socio-economic disparities on a daily basis. In response, local governments are leading other public and even private organisations on sustainability efforts in general and in sustainable procurement in particular. The research on what drives a local government's involvement in sustainable procurement is scarce. This study analyses survey responses from 207 US regional and local governments to create a model analysing organisational, regional socio-economic, and regional demographic variables and demonstrates that political leanings, degree of professionalisation, and access to decision makers are the most significant predictors of variance in adoption of sustainable procurement practices. We conclude that ethical spending of public dollars to achieve sustainable outcomes (i.e., sustainable procurement) is more likely to be influenced by the political leanings of the population than by the capacity of the local government to institute and enforce sustainable practices.

Keywords

sustainability, sustainable public procurement, local government, green public procurement, socio-economic goals, purchasing power, ethical spending, procurement policy, procurement system, sustainable procurement practice