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CSR Roundtable- Public Procurement Policies

The annual CSR Rountable is a joint initiative co-organized by the ILO, UNCTAD and OECD. It brings together CSR experts from international organizations, developments agencies, governments representatives as well as leading academics and it aims at promoting policy coherence among the international organizations. The Roundtable is this year hosted by the ILO and will discuss public procurement policies as a mechanism for fostering sustainable and responsible business conduct.

From left to right: James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Ambassador Roderick van Schreven, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation in Geneva
Emmanuel Julien, Deputy-Director of Enterprises Department at the ILO

Government procurement typically comprises 10 -15 per cent of a country’s GDP; the annual EU procurement budget is 1 trillion euros. Public authorities (municipalities, districts, federal governments and intergovernmental bodies) are increasingly focusing on how to incorporate social and environmental criteria in tendering procedures.

Historically, the main challenge for responsible and sustainable public procurement has been trade-related legal obstacles. More recently, attention has shifted to identifying practical ways to ensure compliance with the sustainability provisions stipulated in tenders spanning a vast range of goods and services being purchased. Considerations include: how to balance potentially competing public policies shaping government procurement; how to verify compliance in a transparent, reliable and cost-efficient manner; and how to ensure that inclusion of sustainability criteria does not disproportionately burden SMEs. Furthermore, much of traditional public procurement for public goods and services is now done through public-private partnerships, raising questions of how to structure PPPs to ensure that they contribute as much as possible to the economic and social development objectives of the countries concerned.

Public Procurement Policies as a mechanism for fostering sustainable and responsible bsuiness conduct is the topic of discussion of this year's inter-agency CSR Roundtable.

The Roundtable provides an opportunity for international organizations to share experiences, align approaches and collaboration, offering at the same time to member States a "one stop shop" for discussing CSR issues with relevant experts from international organizations.

For more information, visit the Roundtable's web site: www.csrroundtable.org