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Focus on environmental considerations in central government procurement is insufficien

Sweden has high ambitions in terms of environmental considerations in public procurement. The Swedish National Audit Office’s audit shows that many government agencies still need to improve their efficiency in this area.

Excavator at a road construction site. A small farm and forest can be seen in the background.

Photo: Håkan Hjort

Every year, central government makes procurements amounting to billions of Swedish kronor. The Riksdag has on several occasions pointed out that public procurements must take environmental considerations into account, and that Sweden must set an example in this area.

Therefore, the Swedish National Audit Office has audited central government efforts on environmental considerations in procurement. The overall conclusion is that many government agencies do not have a sufficiently well-organised purchasing process and sufficient environmental competence to act effectively on these issues.

“Although government agencies’ commitment has increased, deficiencies in governance, organisation, competence and follow-up remain common,” says Auditor General Helena Lindberg.

Taking environmental considerations into account often requires both sector and environmental competence. The audit shows that almost half of the government agencies lack sufficient competence in environmental matters and that the extent to which agencies analyse environmental consequences associated with procurement is insufficient.

“In practice, the burden of responsibility for environmental considerations is often placed on the individual procurer and the agency then becomes dependent on that person’s interest and level of ambition. It’s too vulnerable,” says Henrik Allansson, Project Leader for the audit.

The Swedish National Audit Office also notes that government agencies’ follow-up of required environmental conditions on completed procurements is insufficient. This carries a risk that the suppliers do not comply with the required environmental conditions.

Moreover, the audit shows that the National Agency for Public Procurement provides well-designed support for environmental considerations. The government agencies should use this support to a greater extent. The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency’s procurement of the central government framework agreements also serve as essential support for ensuring that environmental considerations are taken into account. However, the government agencies only to a small extent use the possibility of taking additional environmental considerations into account in connection with purchases from the agreements.


The Swedish National Audit Office recommends that the Government

  • take measures that lead to an improvement in reporting on environmental considerations in procurement within the environmental management system
  • task the National Agency for Public Procurement to regularly follow up the national procurement strategy.

The Swedish National Audit Office recommends that the National Agency for Public Procurement and the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency work together with the aim of disseminating information on the opportunities of taking environmental considerations in connection with purchases under the central government framework agreements.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

Updated: 09 February 2023

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