Social responsibility not taken into account in municipal purchases
Finnwatch investigated textile, electronics, paving stone and foodstuff purchases made by municipalities during the past year. The research was conducted on 76 offer documents related to purchases from countries with elevated risk of various human rights violations in production.
Sufficient criteria ensuring social responsibility were established in only four calls for tender. Nearly 80 per cent of calls for tender were only focusing on cheapest price.
It is scandalous, how weakly responsibility of purchases is monitored. Municipalities are using common tax funds to purchase millions of euros worth of products from countries where production conditions may be substandard. Most of the municipalities do not know where and what kind of conditions products come from, says executive director of Finnwatch Sonja Vartiala.
Many European municipalities are much more advanced than Finland in socially responsible purchases. For example in Sweden, the city of Malmö has introduced audits of purchases from risk countries and collaborates with several other municipalities in monitoring social responsibility.
According to Finnwatch, the socially irresponsible purchases made with public funds in Finland are short-sighted activity.
- When seeking only cheapest price, the rights of workers in developing countries, as well as the competitiveness of local companies, are ignored.
Finland has committed to socially responsible public procurement in many different ways. Finnish public policy states that social aspects in purchases will be promoted.
- Political guidance towards socially responsible purchases is still in its infancy. Many of the guidance methods used in promoting ecological purchases have not been used in promoting socially responsible purchases, Vartiala continues.
According to Finnwatch, government should direct socially responsible purchases with a separate resolution of the cabinet. Resources must be directed to promotion of socially responsible purchases through for example procurement advisory service Motiva. Social responsibility must also be taken into account in the reform of public procurement legislation.
- It must be made obligatory in the public procurement legislation to take into account social aspects in public purchases made with public funds, says Vartiala.
Download Finnwatch report (in Finnish) Alkuperä tuntematon – Sosiaalinen kestävyys kuntien julkisissa hankinnoissa >>
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