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SEI brief

Decarbonizing the EU’s road and construction sectors through green public procurement: the case of France and Germany

Despite positive signs in both France and Germany in the adoption of green public procurement (GPP), similar barriers remain: lack of knowledge and capacity at the local procurer level, as well as lack of standardized data and reporting systems.

Astrid Nilsson Lewis, Kaidi Kaaret, Evelin Piirsalu / Published on 20 October 2022
Download  Download the brief / PDF / 538 KB

Nilsson Lewis, A., Kaaret, K. and Piirsalu, E. (2022). Decarbonizing the EU’s Road and Construction Sectors Through Green Public Procurement: The Case of France and Germany. SEI brief. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.

Government spending on public works, goods and services accounts for about 14% of the EU’s GDP. Consequently, the EU and its Member States can help accelerate the development and adoption of low-carbon technologies through GPP.

Funded by Breakthrough Energy, this brief is part of a larger project comparing GPP uptake in different EU Member States and identifying key barriers to greater adoption, as well as opportunities ahead. Ultimately, the project’s goal is to contribute to greater policy coherence among Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to increase policy support for GPP implementation and harmonized GPP target-setting. This brief presents the cases of France and Germany.

Here, researchers highlight the construction and road transport sectors because of their high share of both GHG emissions and total government procurements. This highlights the large mitigation potential procurers can support by including environmental criteria in their purchasing.

Key insights

  • Public procurement in France and Germany together represent about a trillion euros of spending each year. Shifting those funds to ambitious GPP practices, for road transport and construction in particular, can send important signals to industries and accelerate their decarbonization.
  • France’s centralized system allows for top-down national policies, targets and monitoring systems. Germany’s system is more decentralized due to higher freedom to set policies at the state level, which leads to less top-down influence.
  • In France, the uptake of GPP is currently lower than levels for which the national goals advocate; a mandatory GPP policy for all sectors takes force in 2026. In the case of Germany, it is difficult to get a clear picture of the GPP uptake due to state-level differences and insufficient monitoring.

Read the first brief in the series


Download the brief / PDF / 538 KB

SEI authors

Evelin Piirsalu

Senior Expert (Green and Circular Economic Transformations Unit)

SEI Tallinn

Design and development by Soapbox.