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Public Procurement

Public buyers are looking for insight and transparency on supply chain policies and practices in the manufacturing of products.

Public procurement agencies are beginning to add new social and environmental requirements in contract updates with many providers. Through these contractual requirements, public buyers are looking for insight and transparency on supply chain policies and practices in the manufacturing of the products they buy. These same requirements are an opportunity for companies to show commitment to these important business conditions.

The EU Public Procurement Directive encourages a greater focus on supply chain sustainability by allowing member states flexibility on product labels and award incentives.

The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) has long been at the intersection of buyers, brands and civil society. This gives us a unique perspective to see opportunities for harmonization, consolidation and consistency across Europe. Through multi-stakeholder roundtables, an ICT Roadmap and international engagements, we aim to align the aspirational requirements of public buyers with the realities of global supply chain manufacturing.

In support of our mission and vision, along with the engagement of our members, the RBA entered into a framework agreement with Electronics Watch in March 2021. The Terms of Engagement establish a process to facilitate effective collaboration, with the goal of improving compliance with relevant labor regulations and internationally recognized codes and worker rights standards for factories that make products for public buyer affiliates to Electronics Watch. The RBA and Electronics Watch view these terms as the beginning of a multi-year process that will mature over time. Read the joint announcement here and the terms here.

Earlier the RBA developed a Practical Guide to Transparency in Procurement to map out a spectrum of maturity related to meaningful transparency that buyers can use as a resource to assess companies’ disclosures on social and environmental responsibility and meet their own sustainable purchasing goals. View and download the official version of the Practical Guide to Transparency in Procurement here (in English). As a courtesy, this guide has also been translated into German, French, Spanish and Swedish, however, please refer to the English version for formal guidance. 

With recent and upcoming changes in sustainable public procurement around the globe, in April 2021 we published the Practical Guide to Responsible Sourcing of Goods and Services. This guide maps standard procurement steps to appropriate RBA tools and resources to help give buyers confidence that the products they procure from RBA members are made in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

For more information on the work of the RBA and public procurement, view this overview


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