The content and weighting of the corporate social and environmental responsibility criteria depends for instance on the nature of the object of procurement. The target is that corporate social and/or environmental responsibility criteria should be applied in 60% of the joint procurements published by HUS.
As with 2020, the year 2021 turned out to be an exceptional one because of the coronavirus pandemic, which had an impact on target attainment. In 2021, 14% of joint procurement decisions involved applying responsibility criteria (36 decisions, annual value EUR 29.6 million). This represents a decrease on the previous year.
On the other hand, the total number of procurement decisions made increased substantially. In all, 616 procurement decisions were made, out of which responsibility criteria were applied in 63, just over 10% of all procurement decisions. The actual number of projects where responsibility criteria were applied was about the same as in the previous year. The annual combined value of procurement decisions where responsibility criteria are applied is about EUR 39 million.
In early 2020, a joint Guide to Ethical Procurement for hospital districts was published at the initiative of HUS. The Guide was authored by the Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement, Keino. The Guide was adopted for use in HUS procurements and can be found under procurement guidelines in the Intranet. All HUS procurement employees are trained in how to use the Guide, and it is also included in the induction material for new employees. With the guide, we aim to make it significantly easier to incorporate responsibility aspects into procurement and thereby increase the percentage of invitations to tender where responsibility is taken into account.
In early 2019, HUS Logistics signed a contract with Finnwatch ry for collaboration in promoting socially responsible procurement. This was a pilot project where Finnwatch participated in the preparation of two invitations to tender by HUS Logistics and provided recommendations on how to integrate issues of corporate social responsibility into all public procurements undertaken by HUS Logistics. A report on the results of the cooperation was produced in summer 2020, and the recommendations and Code of Conduct, i.e. the contractual terms related to sustainability, have been integrated into the Guide to Responsible Procurement. The other pilot project – procurement of examination gloves – was recognized as the most competent procurement of the year in spring 2021 (Public Procurement Advisory Unit).
We continue to monitor compliance with sustainability criteria among other procurement indicators at operative meetings on procurement. We also report on the indicators to the strategic steering group for procurement. In 2021, we focused particularly on improving reporting and monitoring so as to gain a better understanding of responsibility aspects. Also, in respect of categorization in service procurements, we are further specifying the responsibility targets for service procurement. Specifically, we sought to develop new measures for preventing labor exploitation. This included participating in the HEUNI project that resulted in the publication in autumn 2021 of a guide for preventing labor exploitation in public procurement.
Human rights in countries where procurements are made
The supply chain for products procured by HUS is global and includes several ‘risk countries’ (BSCI classification). When we investigate the countries of manufacture of the products to be purchased and their location in the BSCI risk country list at the market survey stage, we assess the human rights risks of each procurement. We also discuss the market situation and known risks with potential suppliers. The products commonly imported from BSCI risk countries include surgical and examination gloves and personal protective equipment such as surgical gowns, masks and caps. Typically, there are risks involved in the procurement of disposable supplies acquired in large quantities whose manufacture requires a great deal of manual labor.
The human rights risks we identify include issues with wages, working hours, freedom of association and recruitment fees. Our corporate social responsibility reporting has also highlighted forced labor and the use of child labor. We aim to minimize these risks by insisting on transparency with our suppliers, including e.g. audit reporting. HUS does not itself audit suppliers or production plants; instead, reliable third party certified audit reporting is included as a contractual requirement in procurements from risk countries.