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Other Recognized Standards in Procurement

Expand each of the following to explore other globally recognized standards relevant to sustainable practices within procurement.
SA 8000

The Social Accountability certification known as SA 8000 is “a widely recognized international standard for managing human rights in the workplace.  It provides an auditable framework for assuring that social accountability is being stewarded by an organization” (APICS Dictionary, 16th edition).

SA8000 was created in 1997 by Social Accountability International and is based on international workplace standards, following guidelines from the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Over 2,000,000 workers are currently protected by the SA8000 certification in 61 countries.
Elements of SA8000 include the following areas:

  • Child labor
  • Forced or compulsory labor
  • Health and safety
  • Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
  • Discrimination
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Working hours
  • Remuneration
  • Management system

Ethical Trading Initiative

The Ethical Trading Initiative is similar to the UN Global Compact and is focused on helping companies eliminate risks to their reputation and operations due to poor employment conditions at their suppliers. It works hand in hand with SA 8000 by providing information about developing programs for improving working conditions.

  1. 1
    Employment is freely chosen
  2. 2
    Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  3. 3
    Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  4. 4
    No child labor is used
  5. 5
    Workers are paid a living wage
  6. 6
    Working hours are not excessive
  7. 7
    No discrimination is practiced
  8. 8
    Regular employment is provided
  9. 9
    No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

Sustainable Procurement Task Force (SPTF) Framework

One of the guidelines specifically designed for sustainable procurement, the Sustainable Procurement Task Force Framework, was developed by the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy in order to create a national action plan for leadership in sustainable procurement.  It includes five levels, providing a means for any organization to assess their performance, no matter how much or how little they have already attained.

The five areas included in the framework are:

  • People
  • Policy, strategy and communications
  • Procurement process
  • Engaging suppliers
  • Measurements and results

Earth Charter

The Earth Charter was sponsored by the International Earth Charter Commission, and provides sixteen principles for organizations to build a sustainable and peaceful global society.

The charter is a voluntary initiative, endorsed by 50,000 organizations made up of cities, government bodies, schools, NGO’s around the world, and promotes the following:  

  • Respect and care for the community of life
  • Ecological integrity
  • Social and economic justice
  • Democracy, non-violence and peace

Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN)

The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) was founded in 2005 by an international network of buyers.  Members are committed to providing services, tools and resources to purchasing organizations that are designed to make purchasing activities environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

Fair Trade Standards

The fair trade movement began back in 1983 in relation to coffee procurement, and has now launched multiple organizations, such as Fair Trade Certified, Fair Trade International, the World Fair Trade Organization and the European Fair Trade Association.

  • Opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Payment of a fair price
  • Gender and minority impartiality
  • Safe and healthy working conditions
  • Elimination of child labor
  • Responsible production to save the environment – responsible production
  • Supply chain relations with concern for social, economic and environmental welfare

S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices provide a portfolio of benchmarks of 1000’s of publicly-traded companies who lead the world in economic, environmental and social criteria.  The indices are both global, as well as by geographic regions and industry, and can be used as benchmarks for other organizations and investors.

Additional guidelines, standards and certifications for environmental and social responsibility principles include the following:  

  • Amnesty International Human Rights Principles
  • AS 8000, the Australian Standard of Good Governance Principles
  • EMAS – the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme to improve environmental performance 
  • EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • EU Integrated product policy
  • EU public procurement directives that incorporate social and environmental clauses in quoting and contracts
  • International Chamber of Commerce Rules of conduct to combat extortion and bribery
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) International Labor Standards
  • ILO Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy
  • King III Code of corporate practice and conduct for South Africa
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the US Green Building Council
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • UK Corporate Governance Code
  • UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy
  • UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy
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