Socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) is about achieving positive social outcomes in public contracts. Procurement affects a large number of people, whether as users of public services, those involved in production and delivery, or staff of the buying organisation. Beyond those directly affected, SRPP has the potential to influence the broader market on both the demand and supply sides.

By purchasing wisely, public buyers can promote employment opportunities, decent work, social inclusion, accessibility, design for all, ethical trade, and seek to achieve wider compliance with social standards. For some products, works and services, the impact can be particularly significant, as public purchasers command a large share of the market in sectors such as construction, healthcare and transport.

Public buyers are major investors in Europe, spending 14% of the EU’s gross domestic product. By using their purchasing power to opt for goods and services that deliver positive social outcomes, they can make a major contribution to sustainable development. Increasingly, the need to address all three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic) in procurement is recognised by both the public and private sectors.


This case study collection prepared by the European Commission aims to improve awareness and understanding of the potential of SRPP, by showcasing 71 examples of how public procurers have achieved social benefits in practice. The case studies demonstrate correct bidding procedures and effective policies and act as an inspiration – both for procurers but also for operators in the social economy – with the aim to stimulate replication across Europe.

For more information on how the social aspects of the EU Public Procurement Directives were transposed at a national level, plus further good practices on SRPP, with a particular focus on access to public markets by social economy enterprises, see the Buying for Social Impact report. In addition, the European Commission is currently updating the Buying Social guidance, which will provide practical advice on implementing SRPP (expected 2020).

Read the study here:


This publication has been prepared within SENBS project No. 2020- 1-EE01-KA204-077999. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.