21 April 2020

ICLEI launches new criteria guidance - leverage procurement to make ICT fair

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability Europe and Electronics Watch published “How to procure fair ICT hardware - Criteria set for socially responsible public procurement” as part of their work in the Europe-Aid funded project ‘Make ICT Fair’. 

Cities, local governments, universities, hospitals and other public bodies in the European Union procure over €50 billion worth of electronic devices annually. These purchases include desktop or laptop computers, servers, screens, workstations, printers or smartphones.

Human and environmental rights violations take place daily in the  ICT supply chain. Long working hours, low wages, suicides, poisonings, child labour, armed conflicts, water depletion and environmental disaster are just some of the labour and human rights violations reported in the electronics industry from mining to manufacturing.

Public authorities have the power to use procurement to create better working conditions and protect the rights of workers and communities by purchasing products that have been procured in a socially responsible manner.

The criteria document aims to support experienced procurers in leveraging public purchases of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hardware to positively impact working conditions across the electronics supply-chain. The criteria set covers guidance on Subject Matter, Selection and Award Criteria, Technical Specifications as well as Contract Clauses. The criteria set is ambitious as it goes beyond smelter level but addresses issues at mining stage also. 

This guidance has been developed together with the Procura+ Interest Group on Socially Responsible Public Procurement of ICT hardware, coordinated by ICLEI Europe. The Interest Group consisted of procurers and experts on social aspects from the Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC) Scotland, Barcelona City Council, Greater London Authority, Municipality of Haarlem, Region Stockholm, Municipality of Stavanger, Municipality of Malmø, the City of Aalborg and Rijkswaterstaat. 

‘The power of public procurement can create a positive impact across global supply chains. We see every upcoming procurement as an opportunity to act on the responsibility we have as a public authority to create public value. From our perspective this ambition includes doing our best to assure fair working conditions in the supply-chain of electronic products that Barcelona City Council needs. The new criteria will enable us and other procurers to further advance our socially responsible public procurement practice.’ - ​Carla Canal Rosich, Directorate of Global Justice and International Cooperation, Barcelona City Council

Region Stockholm has identified ICT as a priority area to be addressed in our procurement, due to the high risk of human rights, labour rights, and child labour violations within the supply chain. The new set of criteria helps pave the way towards fair ICT products. This requires not only criteria per se, but regular dialogue between buyer, reseller and suppliers including thorough contract management.’ - ​Kathleen McCaughey, ​Manager Sustainable Supply Chains, Region Stockholm

Download the full document here. Contact: 


The overall objective of the Make ICT Fair project is to increase EU citizen knowledge of EU development cooperation within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), raise awareness & understanding of EU citizens/decision makers about the interdependencies between the Global South and Europe and mobilise EU citizens/decision makers & ICT purchasers/procurers working in the EU Public Sector to improve workers'/communities' rights and conditions in the ICT industry.

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Make ICT Fair Project and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. The European Commission is also not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein. The project has received funding from the European Union’s EuropeAid programme under grant agreement CSO-LA12017/388-226.