Safeguarding human and labour rights as a starting point for Helsinki Service Centre’s workwear procurement

Development Manager Elina Tarkkonen explains in the video which sustainability goals were emphasised in the procurement of workwear by Helsinki Service Centre.
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Helsinki Service Centre’s procurements will have sustainability goals that are ambitious even on the international level. Particular emphasis will be placed on sustainability goals for procurements that have the potential for high environmental and social effects.

One such procurement is the procurement of workwear tendered by Helsinki Service Centre. The procurement is high in value, at more than EUR 600,000. It covers a wide range of workwear for more than 1,200 employees in various locations throughout Helsinki. The procurement concerns uniforms for work tasks that require special attire, for example, for hygenic reasons.

Development Manager Elina Tarkkonen explains in the video(Link leads to external service) which sustainability goals were emphasised in the procurement of workwear by Helsinki Service Centre.

Helsinki Service Centre offers 100,000 meals in Helsinki every day and also provides cleaning services. The Service Centre develops and produces telephone and well-being support services as well as supports living at home with diverse technical solutions.

“The climate and sustainability goals of the City of Helsinki are also essentially reflected in our procurements. We are, of course, committed to Helsinki’s procurement strategy,” says Tarkkonen.

Emphasis on ensuring social responsibility

Already during the impact assessment of the procurement, it quickly became clear that, in the textile industry, the aspects of social responsibility are emphasised alongside environmental responsibility. One particularly important effort was to ensure the realisation of human and labour rights in the long production chain. To increase local employment, the intention was to take advantage of the employment condition, which was taken into account upon procurement.

In the process of minimising the environmental effects of the textile industry, harmful substances reached the top of the urgency list.

“When it comes to environmental responsibility, we take into account, among other things, harmful substances, recycling and reuse, renewable energy, energy efficiency and water consumption,” says Tarkkonen.

“For us as procurement preparers, it is of course important that the workwear users are satisfied with the clothes. Involving users as early as in the procurement process is an integral part of the implementation of social responsibility,” Tarkkonen reminds.

Understanding and co-developing the market situation is vital

The sustainability criteria used had an impact on the choice of the final contract partners, but the criteria did not appear to have a cost effect. The good outcome was influenced by the thorough preparation of the procurement and a careful proactive mapping of the market situation.

– In general, I see the increase in dialogue on sustainability and climate action in the field during the agreement period as a key success factor in this procurement. The procurement also helped us to communicate the level of sustainability requirements of the City and Helsinki Service Centre to the market.

Helsinki Service Centre performs close agreement monitoring to verify compliance with the procurement sustainability criteria. Keeping the dialogue going is important so that responsibility issues can be taken into account more comprehensively in the upcoming tenders.

The video series on public procurements concretises the realisation of the City of Helsinki’s sustainability goals in its various procurements. The series is completed from time to time.

Read more:

Proactive Market Dialogue on Sustainable Workwear and Textiles organised by the KEINO competence centre 6/9(Link leads to external service)

Sustainable Helsinki(Link leads to external service)

City of Helsinki’s procurement strategy

Helsinki City Strategy

Helsinki Service Centre Responsibility page(Link leads to external service)

Helsinki Service Centre Code of Ethics(Link leads to external service)

Helsinki Service Centre participates in the international competition for responsible procurements with its workwear procurement.(Link leads to external service)

Previous news of the series:

Helsinki’s responsibility goals prominent in city procurements

Responsibly produced food served at City Hall

Picture: Maija Astikainen, Service Centre Helsinki.