• The SP indicators

    Level 1 indicators
    Level 2 sub-indicators

    Prevention of pollution

    - Requirement for a corporate environmental policy or an environmental management system (ISO 14001 or equivalent)                                                                                                   

    - Requirements about the proper use, storage, movement and disposal of environmentally hazardous materials and chemicals

    - Requirement for air emissions generated from operations to be characterized, monitored, controlled or/and treated (e.g. volatile organic compounds, aerosols, corrosives, particulates and ozone depleting substances, etc.);

    - Requirements for solid waste management and reporting on waste generated/recycled/etc.                                                                                            

    - Requirements for waste water management and prevention of effluents reaching water bodies including ground water.

    - Other

    Sustainable resource use

    - Requirement for officially recognized eco-labels or equivalent schemes that promote sustainable resource use

    - Requirements on design and production to use recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, re-used, reusable, renewable or compostable materials

    - Requirement for a take-back programme/end-of-life management system

    - Requirement for reduced or bulk packaging of the product

    - Other

    Climate change mitigation and adaptation 

    - Requirement to report regularly and publicly on greenhouse gas emissions (e.g.Carbon Disclosure Project, etc.)

    - Requirement to use low-carbon/energy-efficient technologies, minimum energy performance, and low power mode equipment

    - Requirement related to energy-efficient and clean transportation and logistics arrangements;                                                

    - Requirement for carbon offsetting of emissions during production

    - Other

    Protection of the environment, biodiversity and restoration of natural habitats

    - Require/promote legal and sustainable agriculture, fishing or forestry, for example through appropriate eco-labels

    - Other

    Human rights and Labour issues

    - Requirement to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental principles and rights at work as referred to in ILO's core conventions (freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labour, the effective abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation)

    - Requirement to abide by relevant industry's collective labour agreements

    - Requirement of a health and safety management system (e.g. ISO 18001 or equivalent)

    - Requirement for certifications that verify adherence to socially acceptable working conditions (e.g. SA8000 certification or equivalent)

    - Requirement for ethically or fairly traded goods (e.g. Fairtrade certification or equivalent)

    - Other

    Social inclusion of persons with disabilities

    - The requirement has been reviewed and potentially adapted to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities

    - Requirements for vendors to be disability-inclusive

    Gender issues 

    - Reserved procurement opportunities (lot, subcontract, or entire tender) open only to vendors qualifying as women-owned businesses; i.e. an entity at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women

    - Reserved minimum portion of contracted labour opportunities for women, e.g. SSAs and individual contractors

    - Apply price/margin preference or mechanism to award points to gender-responsive vendors during evaluation                       

    - Requirement of bidders to demonstrate commitment to integrate gender mainstreaming in the project's approach and personnel structure;

    - Other

    Social health and well-being

    - Avoidance of chemicals potentially hazardous to users of the product, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) etc.

    - Require labelling of included/used hazardous chemicals                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

    - Other

    Whole life cycle cost

    - Utilizes a life-cycle costing/total cost of ownership methodology in the financial evaluation                                                       

    - Other

    Local communities MSMEs and supplier diversity

    - Reserved minimum portion of contracted labour opportunities for local communities

    - Require suppliers to source the main elements for the product or service locally

    - Reserved procurement opportunity (lot, subcontract, or entire tender) open only to vendors qualifying as a local Micro, Small or Medium Enterprise

    - Reserved procurement opportunity (lot, subcontract, or entire tender) open only to vendors qualifying as vendors employing workers from disadvantaged groups (ethnic minorities, disabled etc.)

    - Other

    Promoting sustainability throughout the supply chain

    - Require the prime contractor to extend all sustainability requirements of the contract to its tier 2 suppliers and to report on the status

    - Primary contractor's subcontractors need to be identified pre-engagement and their employment is subject to the UN agency's approval based on sustainability considerations

    - Other

    Generic additional indicators

    - Require vendors to disclose their UN Global Compact participation

    - Require vendors to register to UN Global Compact during the course of the contract's duration                                                   

    - Other

    - Does your tender incorporate contract conditions/KPIs that stipulate verification of suppliers' environmental and social claims through “spot checks” and audit provisions?  


    How to use the SP indicators - UN procurement officials

    The (Level 1 and Level 2) SP indicators have been fully integrated into UNGM under a new tab called “Sustainability”. 

  • This enables procurement officials to report on the type of sustainability consideration they incorporated into their tenders by selecting the corresponding SP indicator.

  • To facilitate the correct selection, each SP indicator comes with an informational popup box containing a description of the indicator itself and tangible examples. Each sustainability consideration included in the tender always corresponds to only one SP indicator.

    If at least three SP criteria - one in each pillar of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic - were selected, the respective tender is highlighted on the external website with the following logo:


  • On opening the tender notice, bidders have access to a new tab, also called “sustainability”, under which they are displayed the SP indicators that were selected for the respective tender, if any.


  • Sustainable Procurement Indicators

    The Sustainable Procurement (SP) working group of the HLCM Procurement Network has developed twelve indicators that allow to systematically monitor, measure and report on sustainable procurement within the UN system. Additionally, the SP working group agreed on the methodology for identifying sustainable tenders as those that include at least three SP criteria - one in each pillar of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic.



    The objective of this project is to streamline SP reporting, by creating a common framework among UN agencies on how to benchmark and measure SP implementation based on quantifiable indicators. The expectation is that it will enhance leadership and transparency in the participating UN agencies in measuring and reporting SP implementation and benchmarking their progress over time while facilitating increased collaboration amongst UN agencies on specific tenders.

    Simultaneously, the project makes it possible to highlight tenders as “sustainable” to bidders, thus sending a strong message to our suppliers and the market about the importance of sustainability in our work.


    Development Process

    The indicators are the result of thorough analysis and consultation. An investigation into existing measurements of SP was combined with a survey among UN Organizations regarding the SP practices they were already implementing. Within the SP working group, the long list of SP indicators ran through a reiterative verification and refinement process and the initially gathered indicators were further developed, consolidated and grouped under twelve “level one” indicators.

    The developed indicators were then tested by eight volunteering UN Organizations in 157 real-life tenders, to test their usability and decide on the methodology for identifying sustainable tenders.

    The final set of indicators and the methodology were approved by the HLCM PN in Vienna in March 2019.