PUBLIC PROCUREMENT NEWS

  

NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 1 from 1 )

Copper with a Cost - how procurement can help

2 July 2019

A recent report published by Swedwatch showcases findings from an investigation on human rights risks and impacts associated with large-scale mining of copper in Zambia, one of the largest copper producing and exporting countries in the world. As mineral, copper is an essential component of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products, such as smartphones and laptops.

In 2011, the public sectors of 29 European countries procured 50.3 billion EUR in ICT goods and services. Public procurement holds significant buying power, giving opportunity to shape the market with regards to implementation and monitoring of social and environmental standards.
However, the report outlines that ICT supply chains are characterised by low transparency and traceability. As ICT involves many business intermediaries, from mineral extraction to finished product, it is challenging for public authorities to know the source of minerals present in their ICT devices and if they are associated with conflict and human rights impacts.

Swedwatch's report titled 'Copper with a Cost' emphasises two main issues based on their research in Zambia: 1) mining activities detrimentally impacted local communities’ right to clean water and health as well as their livelihoods and 2) following the establishment of a new mine livelihood restoration has been insufficient and community members face impacts on their food security, as well as disturbance of social structures and norms.

Swedwatch’s findings suggest that there is a need for the ICT sector as a whole to enhance human rights due diligence efforts beyond the scope of 3TG and cobalt and include copper and other high-risk materials. Furthermore, the report outlines recommendations to e.g. companies along the supply-chain but also to contracting authorities within the European Union:

  • Include social criteria in public procurement processes and contracts for ICT products.
  • Criteria should ensure that suppliers perform effective human rights due diligence within their mineral supply chains of ICT products, in line with international standards and best practice.
  • Monitor suppliers’ compliance with the requirements closely and collaborate with other contracting authorities to build leverage.

Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement contains an expanded set of provisions relating to Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP). The directive enables public buyers to use social and environmental criteria in public tenders. As part of the Make ICT Fair project, 5 public authorities such as Region Stockholm, Barcelona City Council, Municipality of Haarlem, Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC) and London are pioneering criteria and clauses on social responsibility in ICT tenders. Get to know more here.

Explore the full report by Swedwatch.
As public authority consider affliation to Electronics Watch and participation in the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.