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Is all sustainable development sustainable? A cost-benefit analysis of some procurement policies

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Ken Willis


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This paper outlines sustainable procurement policy, which aims to benefit society and the economy and minimise damage to the environment. It uses cost-benefit analysis to evaluate a variety of sustainable procurement policies (road construction, video conferencing, LED traffic lights, and utilising unemployed people). It shows under what conditions sustainable procurement is likely to benefit the economy and society. The paper also reveals the impact of project life, the discount rate, and the social price of carbon in determining the social profitability of some sustainable procurement policies. It reveals that the social profitability of projects is mixed, and suggests that sustainable development policy in the UK is running ahead of the evidence base.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Willis KG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management

Year: 2010

Volume: 12

Issue: 3

Pages: 311-331

Print publication date: 01/09/2010

ISSN (print): 1464-3332

ISSN (electronic): 1757-5605

Publisher: Imperial College Press


DOI: 10.1142/S146433321000367X


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