Sustainability practice in public procurement: a study on public works department (PWD) perspective
AuthorAzad, Mohammad Abul Kalam
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Sustainable procurement (SP) is procurement that is consistent with the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable procurement is an approach that takes economic, environmental and social sustainability into account when making any purchasing decision. Public procurement is concerned with how public sector organizations spend tax payers’ money. Public procurement is guided by principles of transparency, accountability, and achieving value for money for citizens and tax payers. Public Works Department (PWD) is one of the biggest public procuring agencies for government in Bangladesh. The current scenario of sustainable procurement practice in the public sector has been studied through interviews with mid level procurement professionals from Public Works Department (PWD) addressing three aspects of sustainability. The analyses indicate that although there are a few cases where some sustainability issues are in practice, these are not very common as a whole in the public sector. Existing tendering system in public sector in Bangladesh is still based on the lowest price approach and whole life costing approach is rarely considered. Hardly any procuring entity has any provision as such an environmental management system. The study indicates that at present there is virtually no mechanism in our public procurement system to check the environmental performance of contractors/ suppliers. Sustainability criteria should be embedded in the tendering system. Knowledge and awareness at the individual procurement professional level seem important in order to make suitable sustainable procurement choices. The study reveals that the respondents are lacking in such knowledge and they are not trained enough. A clear commitment is necessary from the very top of government and down through the ministries and authorities formulating a sustainable procurement policy and to align the public procurement framework with the policy. Awareness campaign should be arranged focusing on how to take account of nonmonetary benefits of sustainable procurement. Finally, there is scope to further study about the sustainability issues in procurement. Advanced research needs to be conducted in order to get a deeper insight into the sustainability issue in relation to the public procurement.