22 December 2016

Report finds social criteria in procurement can prevent abuse of workers

A new study by Swedwatch, a non-profit organisation reporting on Swedish business relations in developing countries, has found that including social criteria in public procurement can improve working conditions in global supply chains. Many products purchased for EU consumers are produced in developing countries where there is a higher risk of human rights violations occurring. Social criteria can help to mitigate this risk.

Titled Agents for Change, the report focuses on the production of surgical equipment in Pakistan, chicken meat in Thailand, and coffee in Brazil. A comparative study between 2007 and 2015 found that conditions in Pakistani factories had improved as a result of the inclusion of social demands by Swedish councils.

The report states that there are still serious challenges remaining to ensure social criteria are effectively included in public procurement. Greater risk-assessment of procured products is needed to understand how social criteria can be used to address abuses.

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