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BRIEFJune 27, 2023

New Suite of Guidance Documents on Sustainable Procurement



This suite of Guidance documents are intended for World Bank (Bank) staff and borrowers responsible for implementing Bank Investment Project Financing (IPF) initiatives. They provide a substantial update to the Bank’s previous Guidance on Sustainable Procurement.

The new guidance documents cover the Bank’s project lifecycle in sequence, with a particular focus on implementing sustainable procurement practices as part of IPF, while also referencing good practice internationally.

They also give operations teams and borrowers the knowledge and tools to implement new sustainable procurement requirements as set out in the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).  



The ESF is a set of mandatory standards designed, among other things, to support borrowers’ environmental and social (E&S) risk management.  Additional sustainability requirements are included in other Bank initiatives such as Green, Resilient, Inclusive Development (GRID), and the commitment to align all Bank operations with the Paris Agreement by July 2023.

Within the Bank’s ESF, there are over fifty sustainability related topics where contractors, suppliers, or consultants are essential for implementation -e.g. child labor, forced labor, safety, pollution prevention, worker rights, among others. Procurement is an essential process for passing on these requirements to those who will manage them, creating contractual obligations to hold them to account. 


Achieving the Bank’s sustainability objectives will require sustainability considerations to be integrated into the procurement process and new methodologies to be adopted. The updated set of Guidance documents are intended to illustrate how this can be achieved. They include practical tips and tools to implement sustainable procurement measures more efficiently and effectively at different stages of the project lifecycle. This is achieved by providing:

  • A comprehensive overview of best practice in sustainable procurement and how to apply them at each step of the procurement process
  • A detailed description of how various sustainability-related Bank policies, initiatives, and guidance materials can be implemented through procurement
  • Clarity on roles and responsibilities, including in Bank staff, project implementation units, and key activities related to E&S risk management
  • Tools, such as evaluation checklists, risk analysis tools, and a breakdown of how the range of Bank standard procurement documents have been customized to address different E&S issues depending on the type of procurement.
  • Case studies of sustainable procurement in Bank-supported projects and other relevant settings


Guide One: An introduction to sustainable procurement in IPF projects

This guide introduces Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) in World Bank Investment Project Financing. It highlights how procurement can contribute to the Bank’s goals by delivering societal, economic, and environmental benefits.

It discusses challenges in integrating sustainable practices into procurement and contains advice to Borrowers and Task Teams on the national and institutional settings that need to be in place for SPP to be successful, such as the legal and regulatory framework, data monitoring and capacity building.

Download guide one


Guide Two: Identification / Concept - Identifying key Sustainable Public Procurement opportunities

This guide discusses the identification of SPP opportunities in early project stages. It highlights the need for early integration of sustainability in project planning and procurement, emphasizing collaboration between procurement and environmental and social specialists.

This approach aims to align procurement objectives with developmental goals and the World Bank's standards, setting a foundation for sustainable practices in the project.

Download guide two


Guide Three: Appraisal - Incorporating Sustainable Public Procurement into the procurement strategy

Guide three focuses on integrating SPP into the procurement strategy during the appraisal phase. It highlights the need for procurement and environmental specialists to collaborate closely, for example reviewing relevant aspects of their respective planning documents, to ensure procurement plans are sustainable, align with broader project goals, and support effective mitigation of environmental and social risks.

Download guide three


Guide Four: Implementation - Putting the Sustainable Public Procurement strategy into action

Guide four describes how the SPP strategy is executed during project implementation. It emphasizes the practical steps that Task Team need to take for successful SPP, such as the integration of sustainability considerations into bidding documents, the evaluation of sustainability elements in competing bids and proposals, and the contract management activity that will be required to deliver benefits and manage risks.

 Download guide four



The following resources have also been developed to help Task Teams and Borrowers to embed good practice in Sustainable Procurement:

Sustainable Procurement Training Material

This training material was developed to build capacity among Bank Procurement Specialists on Sustainable Procurement, but it can be streamlined and simplified if required to reach non-technical audiences.

Download the Sustainable Procurement Training Material

Sample Terms of Reference (ToR) for Supervising Engineer

This sample ToR describes the types of activities that an effective Supervising Engineer for a works-related procurement may be involved in, and should provide Borrowers with a useful starting point when looking to engage Supervising Engineers and describe their expected duties.

Download the Sample Terms of Reference for Supervising Engineer