Research and transfer network on sustainable public procurement in North Rhine-Westphalia


Sustainability, procurement, voluntary standards, certification, biomass




Public spending in the European Union accounts for roughly 20% of Europe’s GDP. Hence, the public sector has enormous power to influence market conditions. Within Germany 260-480 billion Euros are being spent on the national level annually, while North Rhine-Westphalia procures goods and services for about 50 Billion Euros every year. Public procurement can be a crucial strategic level in the realization of sustainability goals.

Increasing requirements for sustainability in public procurement procedures have already shown some positive effects. At the same time, there is still considerable room for improvement when it comes to the consideration of social and environmental factors in tendering procedures. Our research and transfer network on sustainable public procurement in North Rhine-Westphalia focuses both on identifying relevant drivers and constraints in the field as well as potential solutions.


The Research and Transfer Network on Sustainable Public Procurement aims at tackling sustainable public procurement challenges on three fields of action: First, empirical data is currently being generated on central questions in the topic area. Second, a high practical relevance and knowledge diffusion will be achieved by engaging in an intensive exchange with public procurement actors in North Rhine-Westphalia. Third, during the twelve month establishment phase of the network, proposals for targeting the identified research gaps will be compiled.

ZEF is mainly involved in research regarding sustainability standards in international value chains. ZEF analyses via desk-top research, literature review and expert interviews the experiences with and effects of biomass-focused sustainability standards in low- and middle income countries as well as their potentials and disadvantages for sustainable public procurement. State-of-the-art knowledge and research gaps regarding sustainability standards in international value chains are identified with a focus on biomass (ZEF), textiles (DIE), minerals (BICC), timber and related office furniture H-BRS).

Main Cooperation Partners

  • German Development Institute (DIE) (lead institute)
  • Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC)
  • Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS)
  • Institut für Handelsforschung (IfH Köln)
  • Newtrade NRW
  • Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Main Funding Partners

Federal state government of North Rhine-Westphalia

Further information

For more details, please see homepage of the German Development Institute (DIE), the lead institute:

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Project leaders at DIE:
Dr. Andreas Stamm and Dr. Maximilian Müngersdorff

Duration of the Project

2016 - 2017


Tina Beuchelt

Dr. Tina Beuchelt


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