16 December 2021

Fair Trade Town Conference promotes public procurement as a game changer for sustainable development

The Fair Trade Town Conference, which took place on 19 November, aimed to reinforce the vision of a fair trade world, where justice and sustainability are at the heart of trade structures and practices. Public procurement can be a key driver in achieving these goals.

To showcase the potential of public procurement as a game changer, the conference organised a session to present, discuss, and further develop best practice examples on how cities can support fair and sustainable procurement with a comprehensive range of stakeholders. The goal was for more cities to introduce legislation for sustainable and fair procurement and develop corresponding guidelines and manuals.

Alongside public procurement representatives from municipalities in Finland, Switzerland and Italy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability was also represented at the session. Francesca Novello, Sustainable Economy and Procurement Officer at ICLEI, presented some of the organisation’s work on this topic, such as the Make ICT Fair project and the report ‘Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work’.

Make ICT Fair has led to the creation of the Procura+ Interest Group on Socially Responsible Public Procurement of ICT, aiming to support contracting authorities in procuring ICT hardware products and foster exchange on procurement activities and best practices. An additional output of the project was the Joint Statement of Demand Towards Circular and Fair Smartphones, signed by Helsinki, Copenhagen, Malmö and Oslo, committing themselves to push for fair and safe working conditions and environmental sustainability across the entire supply chain.