Social responsibility in public procurement

The basic principles of public procurement are applied in the inclusion of social responsibility aspects. All criteria must be fair and non-discriminatory, mindful of the principle of proportionality, and openly communicated. The social elements must be related to the object of procurement, and be significant in terms of procurement implementation.

In practice, social elements may be incorporated in the terms and conditions of the contract – e.g., by requiring that the supplier commit to the key working-condition conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). On a few occasions, such as in the competitive tendering process for the Computers and Servers framework agreements, Hansel required tenderers to present a voluntary statement on their adherence to the ILO conventions.

Hansel has conducted a risk analysis on the social responsibility of its framework agreements. This involved placing the agreements in a risk matrix whose variables were the value of the contract in euros and the size of the social risk it entailed. This was intended to identify the most risky sectors and framework agreements from a social responsibility point of view.

The analysis showed that the greatest social risk lies in the framework agreements made with specific international goods suppliers and Finnish service providers. With regard to the international suppliers of goods, the high risk was linked to labour-intensive production practices, a large number of subcontractors and long supply chains. The level of social risk grows for example when goods are manufactured in countries where little attention is paid to workers’ rights, and when raw materials are mostly sourced from outside Europe. With regard to Finnish service providers, the risk factors were related to labour-intensive services, a large number of subcontractors and low-income sectors.

Hansel has around ten framework agreements whose placement in the matrix indicated a high or very high social risk. Development based on the risk analysis is under way at Hansel, with the aim of creating suitable models for reducing the risks in the identified sectors.