Using public procurement of organic food to promote pesticide-free farming: A comparison of governance modes in Denmark and Sweden

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Promoting organic farming is the ultimate strategy to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides. Denmark and Sweden have introduced measures to increase organic consumption as a policy strategy to expand the organic farm sector. Both countries have introduced public procurement programmes for organic food in public sector institutions. While the Danish procurement programme relied on a set of central government policy instruments, the Swedish programme used a national organic consumption goal for the public sector as the main measure. In a Nordic context, both programmes were successful as they reached significantly higher organic consumption levels than those of the other Nordic countries. However, the Swedish procurement programme performed better than the Danish. The article undertakes a comparative analysis of the governance modes in the two programmes. These developed differently. In Denmark, governance was characterised by centrally governed programme initiatives whereas the Swedish governance mode limited the role of central government to setting direction and leaving it to local and regional government to adopt specific measures. The comparative analysis does not allow drawing firm conclusions about the effect of governance modes on programme success as the institutional context was most conducive for success in Sweden. Nonetheless, the analysis does highlight that the Swedish governance mode resulted in a high level of local engagement in increasing organic food procurement. Despite the differences, the cases suggest two pathways for successfully increasing public procurement of organic food as a measure to expand pesticide-free farming.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Governance, Nordic countries, Organic consumption, Policy instruments, Public procurement

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