• Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Accelerator Lab

    The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Accelerator Lab is housed within the George Weston Ltd. Centre for Sustainable Supply Chains at the Schulich School of Business. The goal of the Lab is to help accelerate the adoption and implementation of public procurement practices globally.

    As we enter the last decade to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we see the role of public procurement shifting towards becoming a critical partner and enabler of organizational sustainability, resilience, and innovation. Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is recognized as a powerful agent of change with the potential to leverage the multi-trillion-dollar annual public procurement budgets towards sustainable development outcomes.


Our Approach towards Sustainable Public Procurement:

Government by its buying policies and its trillions of dollars of spending can exert substantial leverage on an economy’s supply chains to advance environmental and social change.  This Centre research unit brings researchers, educators, government and industry together to accelerate the adoption of best in class solutions to empower public procurement practitioners to deliver against objectives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.7.

The Lab’s focus includes delivering innovative practitioner oriented SPP research to address the current expertise gap across public entities. The Lab is primarily focused on four areas of activity:

1. Benchmarking the maturity of existing Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) best practices and tools.

2. Developing and testing new SPP tools and practices to meet and extend existing sustainability targets, compliance requirements and due diligence standards.

3. Scaling implementation of SPP through better change management and adoption of appropriate digital technologies.

4. Developing and testing SPP monitoring tools to measure progress and the impact of SPP efforts to enhance end–to-end supply chain transparency and accountability for specific sustainability objectives.

The Lab currently is working with governments at various levels in Canada and leading firms in their supply base to advance these objectives. This involves Schulich faculty, graduate students and industry partners.

Organizational Studies in Sustainable Public Procurement Capability Building

Most governments and public institutions whether at an international, national, provincial, or municipal level are committed to some form and magnitude of action on social and environmental issues above and beyond the delivery of services to taxpayers at best value. Current wisdom is that there are large gaps between intentions, commitments and delivered results. One of the root challenges is to reallocate administrative resources, to create or change enabling policies, processes, and systems within public procurement functions.  Another is to innovate and collaborate with suppliers but maintain the integrity of public procurement to be open, fair and transparent. These and the tensions associated with limited budgets, potential higher costs of sustainable products and services, concerns over resilience and a proliferation of potential sustainability initiatives make this a complex decision-making environment.

This qualitative research focuses on identifying the barriers and enablers of developing the capability within public organizations to resolve the conflicts and synergies between traditional supply function Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), budgets, processes and sustainability goals. The desired end is to speed the adoption of appropriate policies, techniques and tools and in turn accelerate progress to achieving tangible sustainability outcomes.

Lab Leadership:

Carsten Hansen

Lab Director, Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Lab

Carsten Hansen's career includes 20 years of senior level positions at the United Nations (UN) in international procurement and supply chain management, including roles as Chief of Global Procurement Services at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Senior Global Procurement Advisor at UNDP (2011-2016), Head of the Procurement & Logistics Division at UNRWA in Lebanon, and as Head of the UNDP Procurement & Contracting Department in Somalia. I also have military peacekeeping experience serving several UN Missions, including (UNPROFOR) in Sarajevo/Bosnia Herzegovina and (UNIKOM) in Iraq/Kuwait, as part of the Danish military contingent. He is currently the Executive Director & Founder of SourcingHaus, as well as Lab Director of the Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Lab at the Schulich School of Business.

David A. Johnston

Research Chair & Director, George Weston Ltd Centre for Sustainable Supply Chains

Director, Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) Program
Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems

View Faculty Page

Related Reading: Our Journey Towards Sustainable Supply Chains

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