October 18, 2022

Sustainability in public administration tenders

In 2000, a process was initiated through the United Nations Global Compact with the aim of bringing companies and organisations into line with ten universal principles on human rights, labour standards, the environment and the fight against corruption.

Furthermore, in 2015, through the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, a number of bases and objectives were defined, focused on integrating human evolution with maintaining the planet to guarantee its survival for our future generations.

What role do companies, the government and the third sector play in sustainable development?

We are beginning a process of change in which we have seen the need to act to mitigate the negative impact that we have generated on our ecosystem since the industrial revolution in 1800 and the great acceleration in 1950, and with an impact both from an environmental and social point of view. The administration, companies and the third sector (non-profit organisations) are the key drivers for achieving the changes necessary to carry out this mitigation, acting on governments, companies and society.

To this end, it is essential to promote dialogue and co-responsible action among all, which is collaborative, coordinated and based on the alliance of the three actors. It is about spreading, raising awareness, educating and finally demanding that we be able to move forward at the necessary pace in this new model related to the ecosystem.

Key factors of sustainability in public procurement

Public Administrations, as representatives of States, have a primary role to play in guaranteeing the basis for developing relationship models based on both the 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) that are set out in the three pillars, the social , environmental and economic , As in the reduction of global warming and greenhouse gases (GHG). Questions that lead us to rethink the ways in which we evolve as humanity and especially the consumption of resources we make to do so.

In this respect, tenders are the tool through which the Administration defines and establishes these new relational models, and it is through them that it can help to ensure that these models with companies and citizens contribute to a more sustainable and social ecosystem. This is why in public procurement there are key sustainability factors that are incorporated into tenders through evaluation criteria that allow for objective evidence of their compliance and achievement.

These clauses usually have either a social impact or an environmental impact, and favour the positive evaluation, always in an objective manner, of those companies or entities that guarantee compliance with the parameters established or even make innovative but concrete proposals for elements on which to act in the preparation and provision of the service. Examples of the elements that currently form the sustainability criteria of tenders are:

  • Compliance with the standards UNE ISO9000, ISO14000 or OSHAS18001.
  • The availability of equality plans, recruitment actions to promote the reduction of the digital divide, the definition of a percentage of newly created jobs to ensure job opportunities in society, the existence of a percentage of jobs that guarantee the incorporation of people with functional disabilities, the listing of measures to promote SMEs, sustainable innovation, etc.
  • Reducing the energy consumption of certain products, certifying the use of 'non-restricted substances' in equipment, demonstrating renewable energy consumption, eliminating paper, recycling used materials, making equipment components repairable, measuring and optimising the impact on the carbon footprint, etc.

Benefits for the company, administration and citizenship

All of this makes it easier for the Administration to promote the integration of sustainability into its own strategy and that of the companies with which It interacts , and is a facilitator of a sustainable contribution of value to the ecosystem, generating a series of benefits for both the Administration, as well as for the citizen and the company itself; This is why eco-innovative products are already beginning to exist that facilitate a positive impact on the environment and society, guaranteeing sustainable economic growth, as well as social and environmental sustainability.

In the technology sector, there are two very clear examples of benefits: on the one hand, all the new business opportunities that are appearing around renewable energies and blue energy, among others, generating new sustainable product models as a result of eco-innovation and that have an impact on minimising the impact on the environment. These may include bladeless wind turbines or new forms of DPC cooling that are being evaluated.

And, on the other hand, there is the generation of new talent based on the construction of alliances between the Administration, business and the third sector in which, through collaboration, people in vulnerable situations are trained in order to incorporate them into the labour market in those areas where there is a need for talent. It makes it easier for students with few resources to continue with their studies - especially in the technological/digital field aimed at women -, remote working is promoted by encouraging family reconciliation, staff ratios are defined in order to reduce the gender gap...

In this direction, SEIDOR collaborates with different entities, such as the Cercle Tecnològic (Technological Circle), in its Apadrina TIC programme of scholarships and mentoring in ICT for students in vulnerable situations; the Empowering Woman's Talent and Team programme, to boost women's empowerment and the development of female talent; rr the SEIDOR Grant programme for students who are studying a master's degree in the Faculty of Computer Science of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

Find out more about SEIDOR in SUSTAINABILITY

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