Sustainable Public Procurement in Norway

Testing the MAPS Module on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP)

This report details the results of an assessment of sustainable public procurement in Norway, using the Sustainable Public Procurement Module of the Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS 2018). The module has been used in its draft form for the first time to test its robustness and the indicator framework.  This assessment follows the core MAPS assessment, which Norway undertook in 2018.

The assessment was conducted by the OECD with the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Direktoratet for forvaltning og ikt, Difi), and expert peer review from United Nations Environment. As of 1st January 2020, parts of Difi, including its public procurement functions, have been merged to create a new Norwegian Digitalisation Agency (Digdir).

The primary objective of the assessment was to conduct a thorough, external assessment of the way sustainability features in the Norwegian public procurement system, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and benchmarking the Norwegian system with international good practices and standards. The findings of the assessment feed into Norway’s strategy for green public procurement.

This MAPS assessment was conducted as a testing exercise to support the development of the supplementary modules: Norway is the first country to be assessed using the supplementary module on sustainable public procurement. Lessons from the application are going to be used to improve and finalise the module. A peer expert from UN Environment that contributed to the development of this module was part of the assessment team, ensuring the necessary quality assurance for its application.

The assessment included the analysis of 28 sample procurement procedures, which were selected by the OECD and Difi to cover a range of sectors and contracting authorities relevant for sustainable public procurement.

Fast Facts


Country: Norway

©Adrien Coquet/The noun project Timeframe: May 2019 – March 2020
©Shashank Singh/ The Noun project


  • Norwegian Digitalisation Agency (Digitaliseringsdirektoratet, DigDir – formerly Agency for Public Management and eGovernment, Difi)
©The Icon Hero/Noun Project

Areas of focus:

List of Deliverables

  • MAPS Assessment Report
  • Events (launch; dissemination of preliminary findings; validation forthcoming)


  • May 2019: Launch workshop, Oslo, Norway
  • October 2019: Fact-finding mission, Oslo, Norway
  • Autumn 2019: Preparation of report, quality assurance by UN Environment
  • December 2019: Discussion of preliminary results at the launch meeting for the Action Plan to increase green public procurement, Oslo, Norway
  • March 2020: Discussion of lessons learned for the preparation of the SPP Module with the MAPS Steering Committee
  • Forthcoming 2020: Validation workshop, Oslo, Norway (Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Content of the project

Key Findings

Overall, Norway has a strong foundation for sustainable public procurement, notably in the area of the legal and regulatory framework. Weaker points relate to the implementation and uptake of sustainable public procurement throughout Norway’s entire public procurement system and to the accountability framework.

Going forward, Norway is recommended to continue working on the strategic policy framework for sustainable public procurement considered in its multi-dimensional perspective. Additional support to contracting authorities and procurers will be crucial to enhance uptake of sustainable public procurement. Additional efforts could focus on bringing sustainability into the audit framework for public procurement.

  • Pillar I

The Norwegian legal framework largely covers the principles of sustainable public procurement (SPP), presenting an overall advanced system. Generally, Norway has suitable implementing regulations and support tools for SPP. A vast offering of guidance and tools make it easy to integrate sustainability considerations in procurement processes. However, challenges remain in making use of life-cycle cost (LCC) methodologies. Norwegian authorities are currently working on enhancing the sustainability features of their procurement system through a dedicated action plan for environmentally friendly procurement. Nevertheless, SPP is part of Norway’s latest policy document on public procurement.

  • Pillar II

Overall, Norway has institutions dedicated to SPP and its procuring entities are well aware of SPP policies, although the implementation of SPP throughout the population of contracting authorities lags behind. The institutional set-up of Norway is adequate to drive policies in the field of SPP. Monitoring of SPP remains an area of relative weakness; the mandate of key institutions and collaboration between different institutions could be strengthened to reflect SPP as an increasing priority. Procuring entities comply well with respect to awareness of SPP, whilst the actual implementation of SPP lags behind. Central Purchasing Bodies (CPBs) fare better with respect to SPP implementation. Information on SPP is widely published and supported by the e-procurement system, although the e procurement system is not fully exploited for monitoring purposes. Several challenges emerge in the capacity of Norway’s procurement system to accelerate the shift to SPP.

  • Pillar III

Norway has achieved a good level of implementation in the area of sustainable public procurement, both in different contracting authorities and in different aspects of sustainability. The main challenge is to increase sustainability considerations in all phases of the procurement cycle – notably during contract management to monitor the implementation of sustainability requirements. While exemplary good practices exist in some contracting authorities, not all contracting authorities in the country pursue sustainable public procurement to the same extent and require additional capacity to do so. Engaging suppliers on sustainability has been key to achieving sustainable public procurement goals; the dialogue contributes to better sustainability for Norway’s citizens. Norway’s public procurement market for sustainability is well developed and responds well to public authorities’ requests for increased sustainability. Smaller challenges exist with regards to upholding the same level of dialogue and competition in all sectors and regions.

  • Pillar IV

The assessors found mixed results for pillar IV: while stakeholder engagement has been successfully employed to bolster sustainable public procurement, the control and audit framework is relatively weak with regards to sustainability. Sustainability is rarely considered in audits, capacity in this area is lacking.

Outputs and resources


Assessment reports in the MAPS website


Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems