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Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP): Developing and Testing Sustainability Indicators for Public Procurement Tenders in Switzerland in line with the WTO Government Procurement Agreement - and their social acceptability and legal feasibility

Applicant Seele Peter
Number 172351
Funding scheme NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
Research institution Università della Svizzera Italiana
Institution of higher education Università della Svizzera italiana - USI
Main discipline Communication sciences
Start/End 01.10.2017 - 30.09.2020
Approved amount 406'482.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Communication sciences
Legal sciences

Keywords (5)

Corporate Social Responsibility; Indicators; Content Analysis; Sustainability; Public Procurement

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
In der Schweiz werden jährlich über 40 Milliarden Franken für öffentliche Beschaffungen ausgegeben. Ausgehend von bestehenden Ausschreibungsdaten und unter Berücksichtigung verschiedener Nachhaltigkeitsindikatoren entwickeln wir wirkungsvolle Kriterien für nachhaltige Beschaffungen.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Bereits heute werden in einigen öffentlichen Ausschreibungen Nachhaltigkeitskriterien angewendet. Noch gibt es allerdings weder in der Literatur noch in der Praxis der Vergabestellen und der Gerichte standardisierte Kriterien, die einfach und systematisch angewendet werden können.

Ziel
Das Ziel des Forschungsprojektes ist es, zunächst den Status Quo des Schweizerischen Beschaffungswesens bezüglich Nachhaltigkeitskriterien zu ermitteln. Dafür werden wir über 50’000 Beschaffungsausschreibungen computerisiert auswerten. Daraufhin werden wir entlang der Leistungsindikatoren der Global Reporting Initiative spezifische Eignungs- und Zuschlagskriterien entwickeln, die künftig bei öffentlichen Beschaffungen berücksichtigt werden können. Diese Kriterien werden wir auf ihre rechtliche Konformität hin analysieren und auf ihre Akzeptanz innerhalb der Beschaffungsszene prüfen.

Bedeutung
Die gesellschaftliche Relevanz des Projektes besteht darin, die 40 Milliarden Franken, die jährlich allein in der Schweiz für öffentliche Beschaffungen ausgegeben werden, im Sinne einer nachhaltigen Wirtschaft zu verwenden. Wir beabsichtigen auch, eine Hilfestellung für nicht-öffentliche Beschaffungen zu erarbeiten, um einen aktiven Beitrag zu einer nachhaltigen Wirtschaft zu liefern. Ferner sollen die entwickelten Kriterien auch als mögliche Vorlage für das Beschaffungswesen anderer Länder dienen. Damit liefert das Projekt einen Beitrag zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung im Allgemeinen und zu einer nachhaltigen Wirtschaft in der Schweiz im Besonderen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
En Suisse, plus de 40 milliards de francs sont dépensés chaque année en marchés publics. À partir de données concernant des appels d’offres disponibles et en tenant compte de divers indicateurs de durabilité, nous élaborons des critères efficaces pour des marchés publics durables.
Lay summary

Contexte
Des critères de durabilité sont d’ores et déjà utilisés dans un certain nombre d’appels d’offres publics afin de répondre à des objectifs environnementaux et sociaux. Cependant, il n’existe toujours pas de critères normalisés qui pourraient être appliqués de façon simple et systématique, ni dans la littérature ni dans la pratique des pouvoirs adjudicateurs et des tribunaux.

Objectifs
L’objectif de ce projet de recherche est tout d’abord d’établir l’état des lieux des marchés publics suisses en ce qui concerne les critères de durabilité. Pour cela, nous évaluerons plus de 50 000 appels d’offres informatisés. Puis, en fonction des indicateurs de performance de la Global Reporting Initiative, nous établirons des critères de qualification et d’adjudication qui pourront être pris en compte par les autorités adjudicatrices. Nous analyserons ces critères pour nous assurer de leur conformité en droit et vérifierons leur acceptation auprès des responsables de l’adjudication.

Importance
La pertinence sociale du projet réside dans le fait que la somme de 40 milliards de francs suisses dépensée chaque année en marchés publics sera désormais utilisée selon des critères d’une économie durable. Nous avons également l’intention de mettre en place un outil d’aide destiné aux appels d’offres non publics afin de fournir une contribution active en faveur d’une économie durable. De plus, les critères élaborés devraient également servir de modèle pour les marchés publics d’autres pays. Ainsi, le projet contribue au développement durable en général et plus particulièrement à une économie durable en Suisse.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
In Svizzera, Confederazione, Cantoni e Comuni assegnano ogni anno commesse per un totale di 40 miliardi di franchi. Il legislatore, con la Legge federale sugli acquisti pubblici (LAPub) e conformemente anche all’Accordo sugli appalti pubblici (GPA) dell’OMC rivisto nel 2012, riconosce alla disciplina degli appalti pubblici un ruolo come strumento di promozione di uno sviluppo economico sostenibile. Il progetto intende sviluppare un sistema di indicatori di sostenibilità da integrare nelle gare d’appalto che si basino sugli Indicatori di performance figuranti nei rapporti di sostenibilità delle imprese.
Lay summary

Il progetto si prefigge innanzitutto di tracciare lo status quo del settore delle commesse pubbliche svizzere in relazione al grado di integrazione dei criteri di sostenibilità, al fine di sviluppare poi, sulla base degli Indicatori di performance stabiliti dal Global Reporting Initiative, specifici indicatori che possano essere tenuti in considerazione nell’impostazione futura delle gare. Sarà inoltre analizzata l’accettazione sociale da parte delle autorità, delle imprese e di altre parti interessate degli indicatori individuati, nonché la loro ammissibilità dal profilo legale.

La rilevanza sociale del progetto risiede nel suo contributo effettivo ad orientare la spesa annuale di 40 miliardi di franchi per acquisti pubblici in Svizzera verso un’economia sostenibile. Nel contempo, il progetto intende pure fornire al settore privato degli appalti un incentivo ad offrire a sua volta il proprio contributo ad uno sviluppo sostenibile. Infine, gli indicatori che saranno sviluppati potranno costituire un modello anche per il settore delle commesse pubbliche di altri Paesi.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
In Switzerland, over 40 billion Swiss francs are spent annually on public procurement. Based on existing bidding data and taking into consideration various sustainability indicators, we are developing effective criteria for sustainable procurement.
Lay summary

Background
Sustainability criteria are already being applied in some public tenders to achieve environmental and social objectives. But there are no standardised criteria, either in the literature or in the practice of issuing agencies and the courts, that can be applied simply and systematically.

Aims
The aim of the research project is to initially determine the status quo of Swiss procurement regarding sustainability criteria. For this purpose we will evaluate over 50,000 computerised procurement tenders. We will then develop specific suitability and approval criteria along the performance indictors of the “Global Reporting Initiative” that can be taken into account for future public tenders. We will analyse these criteria for legal compliance and for their acceptance within the procurement environment.

Importance
The social relevance of the project is to use the 40 billion Swiss francs spent annually in Switzerland on public procurement in the interests of a sustainable economy. We also intend to develop assistance for non-public procurement in order to actively contribute towards a sustainable economy. The resulting criteria should serve as a possible template for procurement in other countries. The project thus contributes towards sustainable development in general and a sustainable economy in Switzerland in particular.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Marc Steiner, judge at the Swiss Federal Administrative Court Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Eva Hirsiger, project manager on public procurement at PUSCH Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Thomas Fischer, president of the conference on public procurement of the Canton of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Marie-Amélie Dupraz-Ardiot, head of the office for ecological public procurement at BAFU Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Conference on Public Procurement Case Law Talk 11.10.2018 Lugano, Switzerland De Rossa Federica;
PhD-Community Meeting of NRP 73 Talk 05.10.2018 Mürren, Switzerland Knebel Sebastian;
IT Procurement Conference Talk 29.08.2018 Bern, Switzerland Knebel Sebastian; Hirsiger Eva; De Rossa Federica; Stürmer Matthias;
Presentation within the CAS ICT-Beschaffungen Talk 25.05.2018 Bern, Switzerland Hirsiger Eva;
Initial Meeting with the advisory board (“Beirat”) Workshop 17.05.2018 Bern, Switzerland Seele Peter; Stürmer Matthias; De Rossa Federica; Knebel Sebastian; Hirsiger Eva;
Roundtable Sustainable Procurement Talk 17.05.2018 Bern, Switzerland Hirsiger Eva; De Rossa Federica; Seele Peter; Stürmer Matthias; Knebel Sebastian;
Presentation at the „Beschaffungskonferenz des Bundes (BKB) Fachgruppe Nachhaltige Beschaffung“ Talk 28.03.2018 Bern, Switzerland Stürmer Matthias;
Kick-off Meeting of NRP 73 Talk 22.01.2018 Nottwil, Switzerland Stürmer Matthias; Hirsiger Eva; Knebel Sebastian;
Roundtable ICT Procurement Talk 09.11.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Hirsiger Eva; Knebel Sebastian;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Kein hässliches Entlein: Nachhaltigkeit in der öffentlichen Beschaffung German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Nachhaltige öffentliche Beschaffung: Chinas Seidenstrasse und die Schweiz NZZ German-speaking Switzerland International 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
150296 The “Credibility Gap” in CSR Reporting: Analyzing Contents and Stakeholders’ Perceptions of CSR Reports from 11 European Countries 01.03.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Public Procurement and Sustainability. Public procurement in Switzerland covers funds of more than 40 billion of CHF annually. Federal, cantonal, and communal agencies, as well as all public corporations under the public procurement law, have a role model function in general procurement. What motivates this project proposal is the role public procurement plays in the transformation towards a sustainable economy: Public procurement is meant to become ‘sustainable’ through the current revision of the Federal Act of Public Procurement (FAPP), following the 2012 renewed international “Government Procurement Agreement” (GPA) by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In Switzerland the FAPP, as well as cantonal legislation, considers different types of criteria for vendors and their offers during a public procurement process: 1. Eligibility criteria, 2. Technical specification, and 3. Acceptance criteria. The project proposes to develop and validate a set of indicators and criteria to make public procurement more sustainable.The objective: Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP): Given the upcoming GPA for public procurement also in Switzerland the inclusion of criteria for sustainability is a legal requirement contributing to an overall sustainable economy incorporating economic, environmental, societal and governance issues. The project identifies therefore the following research gap: Legally backed sustainability is to be implemented in public procurement in Switzerland by directive of the federal council, but it is not yet specified in detail how implementation is organized. To help closing this gap towards SPP we focus on the following objective: Identification of criteria and indicators leading to tangible sustainable development for public procurement tenders in Switzerland (and elsewhere) in line the WTO’s GPA.Team Composition: The project is proposed by three applicants bringing together the required expertise building on sustainability indicators (P. Seele, Lugano, main applicant), public procurement and data management (M. Stürmer, Bern) and the legal framework of procurement (F. De Rossa, Lugano). Our confirmed implementation partners come from the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (with connection to the WTO), the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU), the Conference on Public Procurement from the Canton Bern, and the NGO PUSCH (“Kompass Nachhaltigkeit”). Research Design: The project evolves along five subsequent phases (see figure 2). 1. Data analysis: Status quo of sustainability criteria in current public procurement tenders in Switzerland. We use the data of 48’800 procurement tenders collected by co-applicant M. Stürmer available at www.beschaffungsstatistik.ch to conduct a quantitative software- and human-based content analysis. 2. Existing indicators: We review national and transnational sets of existing sustainability indicators and identify their potential to be applied for SPP. Here also legal feasibility in accordance with Swiss law and international agreements is taken into account. 3. Criteria drafting: Criteria and indicators building on stage 1 and 2 are selected to make eligibility and acceptance criteria of public procurement more sustainable. Also questions of weighting and priorities are included. 4. Validation: The academic core of the research project also contributing to scholarly knowledge is a set of social-psychological studies to empirically test the acceptability of the newly derived SPP indicators among relevant stakeholder groups. We conduct a survey to measure acceptability first, followed by a conjoint analysis to determine the importance of each indicator followed by experimental 2x2 design. 5. Enhancement: We analyse the legal dimension of the validated indicators and the question if and if so, in how the application of the FAPP should enhanced to contribute more in-depth to a sustainable economy. Contribution: The final set of indicators after stage 5 is published as a brochure and a stakeholder-specific dissemination workshop is organized to explain the results to policymakers, public authorities and companies participating in SPP. The scholarly contribution is presented at international conferences and published in international peer-review journals. Relevance: With a set of sustainability-driven indicators, 40 billion CHF annually would be spend in a more sustainable way promoting a sustainable economy and making Switzerland a first mover that may inspire other national legislations to adopt similar sustainability indicators.
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