Five tips for a better effect in your procurement
1. WHAT ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS?
Begin by identifying the questions which are important in your own sustainability work. Which changes would have the greatest effect? It’s hard to go from zero to a hundred. It’s easier to achieve results if you choose to focus on a few key questions. Better to ask a few specific questions that you really understand, make sure that you ask for documented evidence and follow up.
2. CHOOSE FSC®
Forests have a decisive role to play if we are to achieve the global objective in the climate agreement and the UN’s sustainable development goals. So set requirements for responsibly sourced raw wood. The FSC® label is a third-party certification which guarantees that raw wood has been inspected by an independent third party. Require the supplier to have FSC Chain of Custody traceability certification, which means having a system for handling and separating labelled raw materials. Traceability certification does not mean, however, that all wood is FSC-labelled. We therefore want to encourage the active choice of FSC-labelled products. Then you can be entirely sure that all wood is from responsibly cultivated forests.
3. DEMAND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE SUPPLIER CHAIN
Require the supplier to set social requirements on their own supplier chain. And that the supplier has a Code of Conduct for suppliers. Make sure the code is based on international principles such as the UN’s Global Compact, and that requirements concerning the working environment are included. Only having a Code of Conduct is not enough – also require the supplier to have a system for regular assessments of their supplier chain and conducting a risk assessment on it. Ask questions and request information on working methods, risk assessment or the results of audits. We always welcome on-site follow-ups of audits.The Swedish Möbelfakta labelling sets requirements for standard setting, risk assessment and follow-up of social responsibility in the supplier chain. It is therefore evidence that the supplier works actively with social responsibility.
4. DEMAND PURE MATERIALS!
We are surrounded by masses of hazardous chemicals emitted by various products – but how do we know that something is dangerous if it’s invisible? History shows that we cannot be careful enough. Make it clear that products must not contain materials or substances which can have a negative effect on your employees’ health. Byexcluding flame retardants, formaldehydes and solvents, you will have a big effect. Set requirements for environmental standards which include requirements for chemical content (Möbelfakta and NF Environnement).
5. FOLLOW EU RECOMMENDATIONS
The EU has developed a new tool for the public procurement of office furniture. The proposal will come into effect during 2016 and is a good starting point when you want to set requirements for your suppliers. What’s interesting is that the proposal now also gives guidance for the refurbishment and reuse of existing furniture as well as the purchase of new furniture. This is so clear, in fact, that the user of the tool, in otherwords the procuring authority, is encouraged to consider the reuse of old furniture before making new purchases. So require the supplier to offer a system for handling reuse and refurbishment.