UN Agencies Advocate for the Achievement of the SDGs at the 2022 UN China Sustainable Procurement Workshop
30 November 2022
Co-organised by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the China Center for International Economic and Technical Exchanges and the Shanghai Qingpu District People’s Government, the 2022 UN China Sustainable Procurement Workshop brought together a number of UN Agencies to advocate for the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in China and highlight how sustainable procurement can accelerate the transition to a greener and more inclusive future.
Held in Shanghai’s Qingpu District, the event was attended by UN procurement specialists from UNGC, UN Women, UNGM, UNEP, UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNDP and UNOPS, representatives from the China Chamber of Commerce, including the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE), as well as leaders from the private sector, including SinoCarbon Innovation & Investment, China Environmental United Certification Center, McKinsey & Company, EY Greater China, North Carbon Future, CarbonStop, TÜV Rheinland (Guangdong), Bureau Veritas China, China Environmental United Certification Center, Intertek China，SGS China and etc.
The two day hybrid-event saw over 900 participants coming together to share initiatives and guidance on sustainable procurement and present best practices on greening the supply chain. Opening remarks were delivered by Zhang Yi, Deputy Director General of the People's Government of Shanghai Qingpu District, James George, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Anne-Claire Howard, Director of the UNOPS Procurement Group, and Chen Yu, Deputy Party Secretary, Xujing Town, Qingpu District & Director of the UN Procurement Project Office.
In his introductory remarks, Deputy Director Zhang Yi said, "Sustainable public procurement has become a new trend in public procurement systems and policies, which require the fulfilment of economic and social benefits, and environmental targets through public procurement. It is important to note that the core requirement of sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their needs".
The workshop served as an important building block for the UNDP and UNOPS-led ‘Knowledge Sharing, Capacity Building and Supporting Service Programme on Sustainable Procurement of UN/International Organisations’, aimed at connecting Chinese suppliers - in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Women-Owned Businesses (WOBs) - with the UN Procurement Market and helping businesses align their procurement services with sustainable best practices, including promoting decarbonization as part of China’s 2060 net zero emissions target.
Sustainable Procurement is also one of the key factors in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. And with less than 8 years left to meet the SDGs, it is imperative that countries come together to help realise their achievement.
“Sustainable procurement is a critical component and a game changer”, said James George, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in China. “Indeed, SDG Goal 12 includes a target to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable. By supporting businesses in China to adopt greener, more sustainable practices we also hope to lower their carbon footprint – helping them to play a role in reaching China’s 2030 carbon-peaking and 2060 carbon neutrality targets”.
Speaking on behalf of the UNOPS Procurement Group, Director Anna-Claire Howard addressed the key question - why does sustainability matter? “It’s not just about doing the right thing, it’s also about good business sense. Sustainable procurement can achieve many things - reducing risks in supply chains, bolstering reputations, decreasing costs, promoting revenue growth, but most importantly, it future-proofs us.”
Since 2020, Qingpu District has served as the project base, due to its strong linkages to the entire Yangtze River Delta Manufacturing Cluster, as well as the District’s commitment to building a "global buying" and "global selling" trade gathering platform. Speaking at the event, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the UN Procurement Project Office Chen Yu highlighted Qingpu District’s role in leading the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and reaffirmed the UN Procurement Project Office’s commitment to realising the UN 2030 Agenda, through the cultivation of quality suppliers for the UN and other international organisations, as well as the provision of more high-quality goods for international public procurement.
As part of the event, two panel discussions were held; the first featured experts from UNDP, UNOPS, the Stockholm Environment Institute, McKinsey China and TÜV China outlining the objectives value, future trends and potential challenges in sustainable procurement, as well as how SMEs can strengthen their own sustainable procurement capacity. The second saw industry experts spotlighting the invisible carbon burden and the steps suppliers can take to reduce the carbon footprint of global trade in the future. In addition, the event saw valuable perspectives from the government and academic sectors, with Zhang Yulin, Deputy Director of the Government Procurement Management Division, introducing the mechanisms through which the Chinese Government aims to promote sustainable development and achieve the goals of carbon neutrality and China’s Carbon Peak, and Zhou Chenghu, an academic from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, sharing insights on how a digital credit system for global trade can boost the development of international public sustainable procurement.