To learn more about sustainable procurement practices, explore the following globally recognized standards. SA 8000 is a Social Accountability certification that provides an auditable framework for managing human rights in the workplace.
It was created by Social Accountability International in 1997 and is based on international workplace standards, following guidelines from the International Labor Organization, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Currently, over 2,000,000 workers in 61 countries are protected by the SA 8000 certification.
Elements of SA8000 include the following areas:
1. Child labor
2. Forced or compulsory labor
3. Health and safety
4. Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
6. Disciplinary practices
7. Working hours
9. Management system
Ethical Trading Initiative
The Ethical Trading Initiative is an organization that helps companies avoid potential harm to their reputation and operations caused by poor employment conditions at their suppliers. It works alongside SA 8000 to provide guidance on developing programs that improve working conditions.
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- No child labor is used
- Workers are paid a living wage
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practiced
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
Sustainable Procurement Task Force (SPTF) Framework
The UK Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy created the Sustainable Procurement Task Force Framework to promote sustainable procurement practices. This framework comprises five levels, which allow any organization to evaluate their performance in sustainable procurement, regardless of their level of attainment. It is a key guideline for sustainable procurement.
The five areas included in the framework are:
- Policy, strategy and communications
- Procurement process
- Engaging suppliers
- Measurements and results
The International Earth Charter Commission sponsored the Earth Charter, which outlines sixteen principles for organizations to establish 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:
1. Respect and care for the community of life
2. Ecological integrity
3. Social and economic justice
4. Democracy, non-violence and peace
Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN)
In 2005, the Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) was established by a global group of buyers who are dedicated to promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible purchasing practices. RPN members offer services, tools, and resources to procurement organizations to support these efforts.
Fair Trade Standards
The fair trade movement originated in 1983 with a focus on coffee procurement and has since given rise to various organizations, including Fair Trade Certified, Fair Trade International, the World Fair Trade Organization, and the European Fair Trade Association.
1. Opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
2. Transparency and accountability
3. Payment of a fair price
4. Gender and minority impartiality
5. Safe and healthy working conditions
6. Elimination of child labor
7. Responsible production to save the environment – responsible production
8. Supply chain relations with concern for social, economic and environmental welfare
S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices offer a range of benchmark portfolios for thousands of publicly-traded companies that excel in economic, environmental, and social standards worldwide. These indices are available globally, as well as by industry and geographic regions, and can serve as a reference point for other investors and organizations.
Additional guidelines, standards and certifications for environmental and social responsibility principles include the following:
1. Amnesty International Human Rights Principles
2. AS 8000, the Australian Standard of Good Governance Principles
3. EMAS – the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme to improve environmental performance
4. EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
5. EU Integrated product policy
6. EU public procurement directives that incorporate social and environmental clauses in quoting and contracts
7. International Chamber of Commerce Rules of conduct to combat extortion and bribery
8. International Labor Organization (ILO) International Labor Standards
9. ILO Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy
10. King III Code of corporate practice and conduct for South Africa
11. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the US Green Building Council
12. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
13. UK Corporate Governance Code
14. UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy
15. UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy