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German guidance document looks at use of social criteria in public procurement

7 May 2015

A new guidance document on the integration of social criteria in public procurement from a legal and development perspective has been published by by Angela Schmitz of the German NGO Eine Welt Netz NRW e.V. and Katharina Strauß of the law firm Cornelius Bartenbach Haesemann & Partner. The document aims to help public procurers avoid the purchase of products that have been made under conditions that violate social and labour rights. The various options for integration within a procurement procedure are explored, with a particular emphasis on the tender evaluation stage.

Voluntary agreements with companies over the last decades have in many cases not led to a significant improvement in working conditions, particularly in factories in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The use of social criteria in the award procedure is intended to address this more concretely, resulting in reduced instances of slavery, trafficking, forced labour, child labour, wages that fall below the subsistence level, ill-treatment in the workplace and exploitative working conditions.

The guide provides practical advice from a legal standpoint on how the successful use of social criteria in the procurement process can lead to an improvement in the living standard of millions of workers. Provisions for social criteria under the new EU Procurement Directive are also explored.

For more information, download the guidance document [in German].