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effective sustainable consumption policies

The main barriers to implementing green procurement identified by governments are a lack of training for public procurement officers, intergovernmental coordination, and information on financial benefits as well as initial higher costs. Procurement decisions which take life-cycle costs into account are still rare, partly due to methodological difficulties. Another problem is the lack of green products and services on the market, which has 42 – PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION: GOOD PRACTICES IN OECD COUNTRIES – © OECD 2008 led some countries (e.g. Austria, Korea, New Zealand) to negotiate partnerships with suppliers and develop training programmes and competitions (OECD, 2007b). A few OECD countries are actively committed to “sustainable procurement” which also takes social considerations into account (e.g. fair trade, human rights, labour conditions). For example, legal frameworks which favour sustainable procurement exist at local, regional or national level in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. These laws address the social, environmental and ethical aspects of public purchasing. Governments in Austria, Belgium, France and Italy are now procuring fair trade goods as stipulated in guidelines and legislation. Belgium also provides a website for public authorities to help them choose sustainable products and advises them on how to formulate the tender. Similarly, the new public procurement law of Poland promotes ethical and fair public purchasing. Sustainable procurement is also being practiced by international organisations. The multilateral development banks (World Bank, InterAmerican Development Bank, Asian Development Bank) along with several UN agencies formed the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Procurement Working Group to share experiences on sustainable procurement, identify new sustainable procurement partners, and develop joint procurement strategies and guidelines. On-line information about the sustainability of specific products and services is also provided by the International Green Purchasing Network, which covers products from major manufacturers. At the local government level, Procura+, Cities as Responsible Purchasers in Europe (CARPE), and Local Environmental Management Systems and Procurement (LEAP) promote sustainable procurement practices – social as well as environmental – in cities and localities.