Measuring Sustainable Public Procurement

Measuring Sustainable Public Procurement

July 7, 2022

What is ‘sustainable public procurement’ uptake?

Sustainable public procurement (SPP) uptake levels are about knowing how much sustainable public procurement is being relied on by public buyers, either during the procurement process or after the fact to allow the clear identification of social, environmental, or economic procurement within tendering and contracting.

Why measure it?

Government departments around the world are initiating policies and targets that either directly requires buyers to consider social value, or have systemic policies (e.g. net-zero targets) that require buyers to adapt their buying practices to consider more than savings. Measuring the uptake and progress of these new initiatives can be difficult, as the data needed to record changes in behaviour can be hard to find.  Measuring SPP uptake allows public buyers to demonstrate that they’re incorporating sustainable procurement and therefore are meeting policy requirements.


Measuring SPP allows governments to demonstrate that new policies are having a meaningful effect on purchasing. It clearly shows suppliers that sustainable procurement is a long-term commitment that they need to recognise (and benchmark their own performance).

It also links policy to procurement through a feedback loop allowing policy objectives to be measured.

Getting started

Measuring the progress of sustainable procurement is usually about recording whether a contract or tender has been set out to meet a stated policy goal. As a result, measuring progress often takes the form of a binary “yes” or “no” tag that is recorded as part of the procurement process.

The challenge for governments is not how to measure the resulting data, which is usually as simple as adding up the total number of contracts or value of contracts that are recorded as being part of a sustainable procurement initiative. Instead, the real challenge is how to establish whether or not a contract meets a commonly agreed threshold for sustainable procurement.

As such, it is vital for governments to be clear about the policies that they wish to implement, for instance, if there is a policy to award contracts to female-owned businesses then there needs to be good guidance on what constitutes a female-owned business and under what circumstances the policy can be applied.

Once this has been clearly established, you can measure and record uptake of SPP policies.

Sample indicators

There are different ways to measure progress against the adoption of SPP policies. In our new toolkit <link>, we introduced an M&E framework for measuring progress against sustainability goals by setting Goals, Outcomes, and Indicators. This framework included sample Outcomes with associated Indicators that you can use to measure progress against the Goal of “Promoting SPP uptake”.

In the specific, worked example here, we have included these outcomes, together with the corresponding indicators, the relevant options for collecting data, and some tips for implementation. These are just suggestions to demonstrate how to bring the elements of the Guide together, you would want to adjust them depending on your objectives, data available, the context, etc.

Get in touch with us to talk about our government procurement data or our API.

November 29, 2022

Data and Public Procurement.

There are some good reasons for including procurement data in your alternative data strategy. Governments are big and getting bigger. Before the...
November 29, 2022

Ensuring Data Integrity.

Not all data is the same. It might have come from the same source, but how it gets treated is vital. If...
November 24, 2022

Govt Issues £4.2bn Tender To Update Legacy Services

Crown Commercial Services together with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), have released a contract notice for the Digital and Legacy Application Services...
November 22, 2022

‘Unboxing’ £120 Million Of Public Spend

It may have been branded twice, but it seems nothing could save The Festival of Brexit, AKA Unboxed, from tanking in the...
November 17, 2022

We Sell Data, Not Seats.

Why we sell data not seats? We're data analysts. We really understand the data we gather. We've been doing it for 15...
November 15, 2022

Saab Voices Opposition To Canadian Gov Procurement

The Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) agency has begun negotiating the final terms of delivery with Lockheed on an order from...
November 10, 2022

Your Data, Your Rules

If your company is hiring data analysts, you need data. You don’t need a login to a website which restricts the queries...
November 28, 2022

Life Moves Pretty Fast

We've been talking for a while about AI and possible impacts on procurement. We use AI in our own service to almost...
October 27, 2022

Lessons Learned In Public Procurement

The National Audit office is working on a Lessons Learned report, highlighting opportunities for change in public procurement. Topics will include commercial and...
October 20, 2022

Does Your Data Have Integrity?

Not all data is the same. It might have come from the same source, but how it gets treated is vital. If...
October 13, 2022

Australian Government Covid Procurement Findings

As the world emerges from the pandemic, governments are reviewing their procurement of Covid related goods and services. The Australian Government tasked...
October 11, 2022

Hungary Passes Transparency Bills.

Last week, Hungary's government passed the first two of 17 anti-corruption legislation bills, in a bid to avoid losing €7.5bn in financing...
October 6, 2022

Babcock Lands Polish Defence Contracts.

The UK Government has this week signed major major defence equipment agreements with Poland’s military capability. At the Zamość Military Base in...
October 4, 2022

New enRichMyData project offers innovative solutions for data enrichment

Several European and international organisations, covering large corporations, SMEs, research centres and universities, are joining forces to develop new methods and tools...
September 29, 2022

£900k Government Fund To Help Charities Win Public Contracts.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is running a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Contract Readiness Fund grant...


Compelling research, insights and data directly into your inbox.

Recent media stories


Scroll to Top