Aerial view from the centre of Helsinki towards Katajanokka.

Helsinki’s responsibility goals prominent in city procurements

Public procurement in Helsinki averages EUR 4 billion annually. In its City Strategy, Helsinki is committed to the UN principles of sustainable development, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Helsinki promotes the achievement of the sustainable development goals through economically, socially and environmentally responsible, effective and climate-smart procurement.

Procurement Director Jorma Lamminmäki explains Helsinki’s procurement strategy priorities in a video

Currently, Helsinki’s procurements emphasise climate change mitigation, the promotion of the circular economy, human rights and prevention of work-based exploitation, and employment through procurements. As for financial responsibility, the emphasis is on tackling the black economy.

The procurement strategy was overhauled in 2020. Its main task is to support the provision of city services and the implementation of Helsinki’s City Strategy. It provides coherent and balanced justifications for the contracting authorities to focus their procurement efforts on specific themes.

– In practice, all services provided by the city are based on some form of procurement. Therefore, ensuring that procurement is made correctly is of great importance to society and Helsinki residents, says Lamminmäki.

Accountability in procurement requires constant vigilance 

Developing accountability in procurement and monitoring the respective processes requires continuous work in a changing society. Climate change mitigation has been important for the City of Helsinki for a long time now. Therefore, it is also reflected in the public procurements that have been carried out.

Biodiversity protection has recently become an increasingly important strategic priority both in the city’s activities and nationally. However, the theme is not yet fully reflected in public procurement. Therefore, biodiversity protection is being developed in cooperation with Procurement Finland, for example. Food procurement has been discussed in the national procurement strategy workgroups to better support biodiversity conservation in the future.

As for social responsibility, examples of topical issues include better monitoring of human rights issues in long production chains abroad and combating labour exploitation in domestic service procurement.

– I believe that good cooperation and open discussion with the market and other organisations is vital for Helsinki in developing responsible procurement. It is a dialogue we want to continuously improve in accordance with our procurement strategy,  Lamminmäki concludes.

The article is part of a series on responsible public procurement to demonstrate how Helsinki’s sustainability goals are reflected in the city’s procurement processes.

Read more:

Watch the video (In Finnish)

City of Helsinki’s procurement strategy

Helsinki City Strategy

Sustainable Helsinki

Procurement Finland

Photo: Kari Ylitalo (c) Helsinki Partners.