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Procurement is essential to an efficient humanitarian response but it may also have significant negative impacts including destabilization of local markets (inflation, corruption…), depletion of natural resources or waste generation. Humanitarian purchasers must find a balance with seemingly irreconcilable constraints: the priority given to operations, limited time or means and suppliers’ lack of awareness of environmental and social issues…
Studies carried out by ACF, the ICRC and MSF show that a significant part of the environmental impacts of humanitarian work can be attributed to goods and services purchased. Furthermore, the majority of these impacts do not arise during the organisation’s possession of the product but upstream (raw materials extraction, manufacturing, supply and transport…) or downstream (usage by beneficiaries, end-of-life…). Purchasing is therefore a key activity for organisations when it comes to improving the long-term environmental footprint humanitarian interventions.