SA8000® Approved by Dutch Sustainable Public Procurement
SA8000® is the first US based initiative to be integrated into the social criteria for public procurement
SAI is pleased to announce that the SA8000® standard is part of the Dutch Government's social criteria program for sustainable public procurement. SAI is one of six approved initiatives. The list includes two other ISEAL Alliance members - UTZ Certified and the Union for Ethical BioTrade- as well as Max Havelaar Foundation, Fair Flowers Fair Plants and the Fair Wear Foundation.
The social criteria for sustainable public procurement will focus on compliance with international labor and human rights standards in the international supply chain. SAI is the first U.S.-based organization to be recognized for this social criteria, and is also the first initiative whose standard is accepted across all product groups. This is especially relevant, as the SA8000® standard certifies decent workplaces across all industries, in any country.
This policy offers a great opportunity for current SA8000® facilities. According to SAAS' certification statistics, there are an estimated 2,700 certified facilities in the world, employing over 1.5 million workers. In addition, this is encouraging news for workplaces that are currently working to earn SA8000® certification. Certified facilities get easier access to an annual budget of 50 billion EUR spent by Dutch central and decentral government agencies.
It is very promising to see governments make ethical procurement a concrete program, moving beyond the development of positive policies to provide market incentives for ethical production. Multinational, national and regional governmental bodies are key users and supporters of voluntary social standards systems. With growing recognition for the importance of sustainability, many government agencies, both at national and multilateral level, leverage their purchasing power for sustainability and public policy objectives.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch government set targets to phase in the use of environmental conditions in public procurement decisions. The 2010 target was to include environmental conditions in 100% of the public procurement transactions of the central government, 75% for municipalities and 50% for provinces. In 2011, social conditions were added, applying differently to different stages of the procurement process. Social conditions in public procurement decisions is not yet mandatory but are supported along the process. Social conditions apply to European tenders above specified thresholds (EUR 133,000 for services and EUR 5,150,000 for goods) and not to national tenders. Social tender conditions are not used to select parties, but are discussed upon signing of the contracts. In the future it is likely that including social conditions in tender procedures will become mandatory.
Contracting: the process becomes more stringent in the contract phase - the vendor must accept the social conditions. There are two types- general and additional conditions, which be managed under one of three 'regimes.'
The general conditions must be accepted and are based on the core conventions of the ILO:
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining;
- No forced labor;
- No child labor;
- No discrimination
The additional conditions set are:
Fair or minimum prices and pre financing;
Health and safety