Sustainable public procurement in large infrastructure projects—policy implementation for carbon emission reductions
Journal article, 2021

The infrastructure construction sector is a significant source of carbon emissions, and more stringent procurement requirements are central to meeting reduction targets in this demand-led and project-based industry. This paper aims to analyze the implementation of international policies for reducing carbon emissions in infrastructure construction, focusing on the interaction between policy ambitions and procurement practices. Based on case studies of large projects and their contexts in five countries worldwide: Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the US, a cross-country comparison is performed of how policies and practices for carbon reduction develop across multiple implementation levels. Three levels are included in the analysis: policy, industry, and project level. We identify the projects as either drivers of policy goals, frontrunners in industry-level development processes, or translators of national policy. These roles, and the associated pathways for carbon emission reduction, are context-specific and depend on the policy ambitions at the national or regional level, the maturity of the supplier market, and, often, on the strategies of individual champions at the project level. Long-term learning processes, both within and between the various levels, are essential for advancing carbon reduction.


Cross-country comparison

Policy implementation

CO reduction 2

Case studies

Green public procurement

Carbon emissions

Sustainable public procurement


Sofia Lingegård

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Jesper Olsson

Lund University

Anna Kadefors

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Stefan Uppenberg

WSP Sverige


20711050 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 20 11182

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Economic Geography

Public Administration Studies



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