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2019-12-17 11:22:11

Agenda 2030 and public procurement driving it

Lately, I have come across strong initiatives in the Nordic countries that intend to drive Agenda 2030 and all it´s goals by embedding the content within the public procurement activities. As you know, the public sector is very large in my Country, Sweden, and I expect this move to have a fundamental effect on trade in general. For obvious reasons they (state, regional and local governments) are looking for insights and inspiration from us at IACCM.

I do not know if I am an early observer (I am not first) or "the last one to figure it out". Regardless, I am interested in understanding if, and if so how, such initiatives are launched elsewhere in the world and a bit more "meat on the bones" if available. It would be very beneficial to me.

Very best regards,

Erik Nordling, IACCM Fellow
 •  Fire and Emergency NZ  •   2019-12-18 09:30:18
Hi Erik - personally I don't think that you are the last one to figure it out, and if I might observe, I believe that there are many others around the world trying to work out what it means for them.

There's two things I'd contribute to your thinking, which are caveated in the usual way (i.e. my views and not necessarily those of my employer) :
1. I think that there is a financial cost to the organisation in seeking to embed these. It's a discussion that I've found has meant that it's hard to get real traction - as whilst the requests for these initiatives come in, there has not been the additional funding provided to many Government organisations to get his going. Sure, it's argued that there are other benefits - often more widely outside of the organisation - but many organisations aren't winning the battle with their finance teams that could see this progress.
2. I have been impressed with the approach of the IRD team in New Zealand. From the presentations that I've seen from Karen Whitehouse and the team, they picked one of the UN goals that was most relevant to them, and looked to focus on that. I think this will be more effective than those who try to achieve too much by looking to incorporate too many of these goals into their procurement activities.

We've looked to take that thinking on board into our operations. Given our contracts are split into portfolios, the challenge for my team in 2020 is to get the business agreeing to an area of focus and measurements for each of these portfolios. These might be the same, or they might be different, but we're using that approach to get the business owners, as well as the leadership team to buy into it, so it's not us going it alone.

Like you, I would love to hear how others are approaching it - it's brave of you to start a topic by making yourself vulnerable, but I think that you're in good company.
 •  NXB AB  •   2019-12-18 10:22:27
Hi Darren, thanks for your contribution. I will add, in terms of motivation, that the Swedish government yesterday announced their long-term strategy towards a sustainable society in general and climate activities in particular. As always, there were many (130) activities, more or less concrete, but a very firm statement by the minister was that they will demand from all public procurement to embed the Agenda and thereby drive the change process.

Obviously, there are a zillion question marks on how to do it (sounds a bit like "how to eat an elephant") and I believe that selecting the goal(-s) that are most relevant would be a decent strategy with a good chance to succeed. I looked at the IRD homepage but could not see a whole lot. Is there a write-up of some kind that I could get access to.

Btw, I am glad to see NZ being active, Tim mentioned it to me and I really believe that us smaller countries are quicker to decide and get going rather than just talking. Denmark is also, as I understand it, acting in the same direction and I honestly believe that we together could put together an IACCM statement of some kind, given that we find more material.
 •  Ngamuru Advisory  •   2020-02-02 07:30:39
Hi Erik,

You've hit on a really good topic. As I sit here in Australia in the areas affected by fire and storms the need for broader outcome as part of public spending is not lost on me. So much so I recently wrote an article on my blog (www.performancebasedcontracting.com) on this topic. I also mentioned that this is being used, or trying to be used. I'd be happy to provide more details directly if you need. Key thing is that it is possible, just not typical. And I hope we can all change that!

Dr Andrew Jacopino, IACCM Fellow
 •  NXB AB  •   2020-02-02 09:40:56
Hi Andrew and thanks for your encouraging article. We seem to have things bubbling here and there in the world and I understand that Tim Cummins is taking a lead from an IACCM perspective, that you are involved and that I will try to contribute to the best of my capability.

Meanwhile, I continue to make myself present in the public domain, an interesting effort after 44 years in the private sector. There is no doubt in my mind that the "public muscle" is a major enabler to introduce a more targeted, ambitious and future-focused trading practice.

In addition, I hear more and more that having a common purpose and an encouraging, visible leadership is more engaging and motivating to coming generations entering the labour market than career paths, personal benefits and generic power and status symbols. Without a clear purpose and professional leadership "the good ones" are gone. Yesterday, the CEO of Scania, producer of heavy trucks, buses and other machinery, said exactly this in a TV interview. My contacts with leaders in the public sector say the same.

Tomorrow, I will meet with a few like-minded people in Copenhagen and look forward to continues communicating with you and others in IACCM on the subject. A "viral approach" will be very important, I believe!! There are big and well funded opponents to a change in the current activities.

Best regards, Erik
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