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Framing Sustainability in Public Procurement by typologizing Sustainability Indicators – The Case of Switzerland

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Journal Article
Purpose – Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) lacks common means for its operationalization within legislative latitudes. Through the translation of Sustainability Indicators (SIs) from CSR and corporate sustainability reporting into the needs of SPP we aim to support the framing process of sustainability in public procurement. We do so along the case of Switzerland. Design/methodology/approach – We perform a typological analysis of well established SIs from CSR reporting to propose a criteria framework for SPP. Secondly, we test the framework’s usability and feasibility with an expert online survey conducted in the Swiss SPP landscape. Findings – We propose ten generic criteria to frame the operationalization of SPP. Furthermore, public procurement experts from Switzerland evaluate the SPP framework as useful and feasible. Practical Implications – The generic SPP criteria framework provides a common ground for the operationalization of SPP building on existing sustainability performance measurement knowledge as well as a frame to operationalize sustainability measurements for public tender processes. Research limitations and future research – A limitation of the study can be seen in its deductive approach. Thus, it rather complements recent inductive approaches of SPP type and frame developments than replacing them. Future studies can further refine the understanding and operationalization of sustainability in public procurement. Originality – To our best knowledge this is the first attempt to directly translate established SIs from sustainability reporting into public procurement to frame SPP and to use existing sustainability measurement knowledge for its operationalization and harmonization.
Journal of Public Procurement
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