Community Social Capital, Political Values, or Organizational Capacity?: Indicators of Engagement in Sustainable Public Procurement at the Local Level

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Local governments are responsible for addressing environmental, social, and economic issues affecting their communities. Sustainable public procurement (SPP) offers a mechanism for local governments to address such issues by strategically utilizing government funds to efficiently and effectively achieve policy outcomes while also promoting the wellbeing of the environment, economy, and society. While sustainability has become an increasingly popular approach among governmental actors and the general public, the factors driving local governments’ sustainability efforts are largely unclear. This study introduces novel measures of SPP (i.e., Green Procurement Index and Social Equity Index) and utilizes Poisson regressions to analyze procurement practices of 264 local governments to determine how community social capital, political values, and organizational capacity affect local government SPP implementation. Findings demonstrate that support from executive leadership and political ideology are significant predictors in two models of SPP. However, there are other factors present in the operating environment that impact green and social equity procurement differently. This research has implications for social capital theory and for local government sustainability efforts demonstrating the importance of organizational commitment and different factors in the community to address green and social equity spheres of sustainability.