Global Government Procurement Creates 15% Carbon Emissions

A recent report by the global business strategists Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum has found global government procurement is responsible for 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Their study reported that governments spend $11trillion(USD) annually-or 15% of global GDP, on procurement every year. Our own prior study, tracked the value of global procurement at $13 Trillion(USD) per year, suggesting that the greenhouse gas emissions could be even higher than the BCG findings.

The BCG study also found that approx 70% of the annual 7.5 billion tonnes of worldwide carbon emissions associated with public procurement were concentrated in just six sectors, primarily defence and security, largely through their manufacturing using heavy materials. Waste management, transport, and construction were the next highest polluters followed by industrial products and utilities.

Public procurement has only recently been considered by governments as a legitimate path to achieving net zero, but it is now certainly in the spotlight with recent initiatives from both the US Governments  and UK Governments.

The BCG report concluded that approximately 40% of all emissions related to government procurement could be mitigated by just $15 (USD) per ton of Co2 emissions. They forecast that greener public procurement policies and processes should increase costs to governments by no more than 3% to 6%.

Measuring carbon in public procurement is something we have been working on here at Spend Network for a while. We are pleased to release our first cut carbon dashboard, focusing just on the UK at the moment. We set out to generate a Co2 value for every contract in the UK. By using our state-of-the-art machine learning tools, plus a lot of data cleaning. This is our first visualisation and our plans are to enhance and broaden the scope. You can review the dashboard here, and you’re welcome to feedback on your thoughts here.

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