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Socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) is about achieving positive social outcomes in public procurement contracts. Procurement affects a large number of people: 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.

To address societal challenges, public authorities need to step up efforts to deliver on all aspects of sustainability (social/ethical, environmental and economic). Public buyers are major investors in Europe, spending currently over 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. This Guide offers them support in covering the social dimension of sustainable public procurement.

The purpose of this document is to raise public buyers’ awareness of the potential benefits of SRPP and to explain in a practical way the opportunities offered by the EU legal framework. When drafting this Guide, the Commission consulted widely with public buyers to identify good practices and examples of what can be achieved. These examples are featured throughout the text.

This Guide has been produced for public buyers, but also in the hope that it inspires others involved in procurement, whether as suppliers or service providers, private buyers, social economy players including social enterprises, or NGOs.

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