Opportunities and barriers for greening procurement in South African Provincial Public Entities- perspectives from KwaZulu-Natal
The benefits of green public procurement are extensive. From an environmental perspective, GPP can reduce carbon emissions through the provision of: green electricity; buildings with higher environmental quality; energy efficient computers; and efficient toilets and taps. In addition, the procurement of re-manufactured products can reduce waste to landfill, conserve energy, water and fuel as well as reduce health costs by decreasing exposure to toxins Section 217 of the Constitution of South Africa and corresponding legislation has shaped public procurement practices and has also created the perception amongst government officials that ‘greening’ public procurement may not be possible within the South African procurement system. However, research undertaken to date has established that greening procurement in South African government is possible within the current legislative regime and there are existing policies and strategies that support the implementation of green public procurement. Findings within local government have showed that it is due to a lack of knowledge regarding the possible interventions and mechanisms as well as capacity to enforce green procurement that has hindered implementation. Schedule 3C Provincial Public Entities (PPE), with their significant budget allocation, can have great potential to influence what goods and services are produced in the market. Thus, these entities can assist South Africa in fulfilling its commitment made in the World Summit on Sustainable Development to green public procurement. However, PPEs are strictly regulated by the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (Act No. 3 of 2000) and an array of other procurement legislation which could hinder the ‘greening’ of public procurement. For this reason, this study focuses on exploring barriers and opportunities for implementing green procurement in Schedule 3C Provincial Public Entities (PPEs). A literature review was utilized to contextualise the opportunities and barriers that influence international best practice interventions for greening public procurement as well as the opportunities and barriers for greening public procurement that exist within the South African context. Thereafter interviews were undertaken with Supply Chain Management officials of ten Schedule 3C PPEs within the KwaZulu-Natal province to ascertain barriers that can be addressed and opportunities that can be enhanced within all PPEs. Through a thorough investigation, this study identified that people largely influence an entity’s ability to ‘green’ public procurement and can either act as barriers or drivers to the process. Utilising Hyden’s Norm Model during the interview process, it was found that all entities do have the potential to implement some aspects of green procurement; but, knowledge and a myriad of systemic conditions largely influence individuals’ will to ‘green’ procurement within their entities.