University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors

Balancing competing policy demands: the case of sustainable public sector food procurement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Julie Smith
  • Gunilla Andersson
  • Robin Gourlay
  • Sandra Karner
  • Bent Egberg Mikkelsen
  • Roberta Sonnino
  • David Barling
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date18 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2016


A focus on market-based green growth strategies to pursue sustainability goals neglects the pursuit of understanding how human health is interwoven with the health of eco-systems to deliver sustainability goals. The article argues that clarifying the difference between green and sustainable public sector food procurement, with political continuity that supports and enables policymakers and practitioners to take an incremental approach to change, makes an important contribution to delivering more sustainable food systems and better public health nutrition. Five European case studies demonstrate the reality of devising and implementing innovative approaches to sustainable public sector food procurement and the effects of cultural and political framings. How legislation is enacted at the national level and interpreted at the local level is a key driver for sustainable procurement. Transition is dependent on political will and leadership and an infrastructure that can balance the economic, environmental and social drivers to effect change. The development of systems and indicators to measure change, reforms to EU directives on procurement, and the relationship between green growth strategies and sustainable diets are also discussed. The findings show the need to explore how consistent definitions for green public procurement and sustainable public procurement can be refined and standardized in order to support governments at all levels in reviewing and analysing their current food procurement strategies and practices to improve sustainability


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Julie Smith, Gumilla Andersson, Robin Gourlay, Sandra Karner, Bent Egberg Mikkelsen, Roberta Sonnino, and David Barling, ‘Balancing competing policy demands: the case of sustainable public sector food procurement’, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 112 (Part 1): 249-256, January 2016, DOI: This manuscript version is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License ( ), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

ID: 9312198