Sustainable Procurement Goals and public procurement were among some of the most important topics discussed by the EcoVadis Scientific Committee at a recent annual meeting. The committee, which serves as the strategic review, the third party and outermost layer of our Governance Model, holds its meetings to guide the company and ensure that our assessment is as relevant and reliable as possible.
Integrating Sustainable Development Goals
Adopted by the United Nations in 2015, SDGs are a set of targets and objectives to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for over the next 15 years. They provide a global framework and guidance for businesses worldwide and encourage companies to work on what really matters and focus on selected KPIs around sustainability organization and strategy. While they do not fundamentally affect the EcoVadis methodology, they do represent an additional layer of factors for companies to consider.
The committee had already addressed the question of integrating SDGs into the EcoVadis methodology in the previous meeting and has revisited the subject now with more detail.
SDGs form a kind of meta-framework that we need to address at EcoVadis. However, as they are both broad and interconnected and are intended primarily for public policies, they do not always align with the business world. We are now looking at how to layer them on top of the existing EcoVadis methodology so that we can show the companies we assess how they are contributing to the SDGs.
While we rarely hear from the business we work with about the need to combine the assessments with SDGS we can see this will bring huge benefits. After all, SDGs are here to stay and it is very likely they will be renewed after 2030.
Toward Sustainable Public Procurement
We recognize the immense responsibility the public sector has when it comes to responsible purchasing – and the challenges that come with it. The committee was briefed about the work we have done with the French administration on its public policy and the following recommendations laid out in a whitepaper:
– Identify CSR requirements by introducing CSR clauses in RFP documents;
– Measure CSR performance by including CSR assessments as award criteria;
– Achieve transparency by introducing CSR clauses in contracts.
The main challenge consists in the legal constraints faced by public purchasers.
The European public procurement code states that public purchasers may only integrate criteria linked to the product in their purchasing decision – including criteria related to the company itself is not allowed, unless they are linked to the product or if laws are being infringed in the production process.
If you would like to know more about how public entities approach sustainability and responsible purchasing check out our recent article entitled Paving the Way for Sustainable Public Procurement or our best practice guide Toward Sustainable Public Procurement.