Public procurement forum

Many goods are manufactured in countries where there is a high risk of poor working conditions and negative impacts on human rights. In our investigations, Swedwatch has highlighted discrimination against migrant workers, child labour, hazardous working environments and other severe working conditions. Imposing social criteria in procurements allows authorities to contribute towards improved working conditions in global supply chains.

Critical factors

Imposing social criteria is a process that involves a number of stages. In order for social criteria to be effective, it is vital to be aware of the risks in the supply chains. Carrying out risk analyses on relevant agreement areas is therefore an important initial step. It is also crucial to monitor your requirements, take action and provide incentives for suppliers that are able to demonstrate sound social responsibility procedures.

Cooperation with other authorities is key to achieving a greater impact and can in the long run help improve working conditions at for example factories and plantations around the world.

How to impose social criteria

EU legislation on public procurement allows for social criteria to be imposed at every stage of the procurement process, as long as they are linked to the subject of the contract and follow the five principles for public procurement. Requirements are normally imposed as special contract conditions, but it is also possible to impose requirements as criteria for awarding the contract, qualification requirements or as part of the technical specification. Social considerations in procurements are also highlighted as a tool for corporate responsibility and sustainable development in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Sweden’s procurement strategy and in the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.