• Date: May 2014

The EU funded GPP Bhutan project being undertaken by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in partnership with the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), the Royal Institute of Management (RIM), and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN)  assists the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoBin the development of GPP frameworks and practices. The project is expected to benefit the country as a specific approach to implement  its wider plans for a green and happy economy.

Bhutan’s pursuit of economic development under the guiding principles of Gross National Happiness (GNH) implies the need to steer the economy in the direction that upholds the value of the environment. Accordingly, the policies and plans of the RGoB prioritize ‘green economy’ as the way forward for Bhutan’s development. The country’s Economic Development Policy of 2010 seeks to promote a green and self-reliant economy guided by the GNH philosophy. This aspiration is represented in 11th  Five-Year-Plan that is built on the theme of "Self-Reliance and Inclusive Green Socio-economic Development". One of the major strategic thrusts of the plan is the promotion of "accelerated green economic development"  by "fostering the growth of a dynamic private sector that catalyzes a transition to a green economy".

The concept of a Green Economy entails putting the economy on the path of sustainable consumption and production. Policies, strategies, and approaches need to be developed to enhance both public and private sector demand for environmentally and socially preferable goods, services, and works. Regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to incentivize such demand must be instituted in routine procurement practices. GPP is a strategic approach to public procurement that can play a strong role in shifting, not just public but also private, procurement patterns.

In the context of Bhutan as a net importer, the GPP approach allows creating mechanisms to encourage that imported, respectively self-produced products further economic, social and environmental policy objectives. To this end, there is a role for the RGoB to adopt Green Public Procurement (GPP) practices that lead government entities to demand goods, services, and works that bring with them multiplier benefits for the environment, society and economy. This includes procurement practices that increase self-reliance and the development of green economic sectors.

As a consequence of widespread GPP practice, businesses will have an incentive scale up green procurement in their supply chains. Government leadership on sustainable consumption through GPP leads to lower prices and higher availability of sustainable products in the wider market. Private companies and households stand to benefit from these dynamics. GPP represents a toolkit with various voluntary and mandatory components. The GPP Bhutan Project adapts this toolkit to the specific Bhutanese context in order to further sustainable consumption, and thereby sustainable production - and as a consequence meeting the RGoB's wider policy objectives.

Contributor: Dr. Lam Dorji, RSPN
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