Public Procurement

‘Promoting public procurement practices that are sustainable’ is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production (target 12.7). Public procurement amounts to about 12% of the Gross Domestic Product in OECD Countries, thus representing a key tool to boost fairer consumption and production patterns. FTAO works with several public buyers that are committed to sustainable public procurement, in particular fair public procurement.

Through fair public procurement, public authorities can not only boost the demand of fair products, but they can also bring about cultural, organisational and systemic changes within their organisations and beyond. Indeed, public procurement is evolving into a strategic instrument aimed at creating and developing sustainable and innovative markets. The procurement department is becoming an ally of public authorities’ social and environmental departments, as well as a partner to sustainable businesses and suppliers.

As public buyers increasingly consider social and environmental impacts of their procurement, the concept of human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) is also becoming central to public procurement. HREDD legislation has already passed or been considered in many countries while the European Commission is finalising a proposal for HREDD (Sustainable Corporate Governance) expected to be published end of 2021. In parallel to our work on HREDD (see here), the FTAO aims to ensure that the application of HREDD in public procurement goes beyond a tick box exercise but is rightsholder inclusive with positive effects reaching smallholders and workers throughout the global value chains.

We aim to support local actors’ transition to fair public procurement, by identifying and showcasing good practices in the field of public procurement, as well as creating capacity building and learning opportunities. Through the engagement of Fair Trade enterprises, we also aim to support the participation of social enterprises in public procurement.

In this context, FTAO is looking forward to further extending its network of contacts and cooperations with procurers and their potential/current suppliers committed to Fair Trade, with the aim to:

  1. promote Public Procurement as a strategic tool to achieve sustainable development;
  2. promote the inclusion of Fair Trade and sustainability considerations in calls for tenders;
  3. promote enabling policy environments for fair public procurement;
  4. promote coherence between Public Procurement and human rights and environmental due diligence.

You can find more information about these strategies on the page about our work on upscaling Fair Trade and on the Fair Trade Towns website.