Improving working conditions in your clothing supply chain

A review of Dutch policy for socially responsible public procurement

Companies with a global supply chain are often associated with violations of international labour standards. At the same time, it is difficult to properly identify all risks in the supply chain, and take appropriate measures to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts. Governments and local authorities can play an important role in setting standards for social responsibility through their procurement and tendering processes. In the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles), ‘procurement policies’ are explicitly named as a tool for governments to encourage the protection of human rights by businesses. This research reviews the application of the Social Conditions as established by the Dutch government and other conditions based on international labour standards. SOMO looked into tenders by the Government of the Netherlands, Dutch provinces, district water boards and municipalities. These tenders are divided into four sectors: electronics (andphones in particular); (work) clothing; coffee (for coffee machines); and natural stone (used for the (re)development of streets and public spaces).  The paper ends with conclusions and recommendations about improving socially responsible procurement policy for both national and local government.