By defining tender conditions appropriately, the contracting authority can take specific measures to support elements of socially responsible public procurement, sustainable solutions and innovations.
Specific measures for socially responsible procurement, sustainable solutions and innovations must comply with the basic principles of public procurement. They must be non-discriminatory, transparent, proportionate and ensure equal treatment of tenderers and they must also be related to the subject matter of the public contract and be practically feasible.
These tools may be implemented by the contracting authority by defining the following:
- qualification criteria that must be met by the tenderer to be selected for the performance of the public contract;
- rules for tender evaluation that lead to the selection of the most suitable tender; and
- contractual terms by means of which the contracting authority defines the conditions for the performance of the public contract while setting up appropriate security tools.
Appropriate tools are especially those that serve to reduce the adverse impacts of the contract at the place of performance or that somehow support the local community.
In particular, contractual terms that apply to the application of social responsibility aspects may be used. In selected cases, these requirements may be set as part of the technical qualifications (such as in respect of the contractor’s equipment, vehicles meeting prescribed emission limits, or in respect of the implementation team, a requirement for the position of “socially responsible procurement manager” may be defined).
A current topic is also the involvement of the contracting authority in the creation of contractual terms in the supply chain. In this context, the contracting authority may impose requirements, for example, to ensure the same payment date of invoices as that guaranteed to the contractor by itself. Such measures are intended to protect small and medium-sized businesses that have less economic power than large companies.
A continuous evaluation of the results of socially responsible procurement can also make use of the possibility to contractually define the requirement to prepare a report on the fulfilment of the elements of socially responsible procurement. An analysis of responsible procurement can be performed, for example, on a quarterly basis or at the discretion of or according to the needs of the contracting authority.
If currently some aspects of socially responsible procurement cannot be considered as a common and commercially available standard, they can be used for the evaluation of a public contract. The contracting authority may define in advance criteria that will give an advantage to a specific contractor if fulfilled. Alternatively, the Best Value method can be used that guarantees the contracting authority a high level of verification of the contractor’s expertise.
Specific examples of evaluation criteria can be as follows:
- emission reduction;
- carbon footprint reduction;
- traffic load reduction;
- support for regional contractors having an establishment within a specific maximum distance (determined in minutes) from the place of performance of the public contract.
However, the contracting authority must be careful in defining such criteria so as not to discriminate against certain contractors. As a result, these criteria can only be used in justified cases (such as in respect of municipal waste collection services, fresh food deliveries or service interventions). In all cases, the evaluation criteria used must be related to the subject matter of the public contract.
In the Czech Republic, these issues are dealt with by
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has developed the topic of socially responsible procurement for a long time. For this purpose, it also uses the Socially Responsible Public Procurement Platform, which is a free and informal association of entities committed to a strategic approach to public procurement and implementing public procurement in their practice.
Ministry of the Environment
As part of socially responsible public procurement, the Ministry of the Environment deals with environmentally friendly public administration and publishes methodologies and methodological sheets for selected product categories on its website.
Ministry for Regional Development
In cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry for Regional Development, as the body responsible for Act No. 134/2016 Sb., on Public Procurement, as amended (the “PPA”), it participates in the development of methodologies for socially responsible procurement aimed at ensuring its full compatibility with the PPA.
As a contracting authority, Masaryk University has long been involved in green procurement. An example of its socially responsible approach is the CETOCOEN OP VVV II public contract, in which the University required a reduction in the impact of the implementation of a work on the environment, incl. the tightening of noise pollution requirements.
The Jihomoravský Regional included in the evaluation criteria of the public contract Concert Hall Construction, Art School Brno II the possibility to offer: (i) elimination of the occupation of public space and (ii) reduction of the acoustic performance level affecting the surroundings
Správa železnic repeatedly implements the elements of socially responsible public procurement into tender conditions. An example of good practice is the public contract entitled “Feasibility study for the Prague Railway Junction incl. Fast Connections” where the evaluation criteria were aimed, among other things, at minimising the impact of rail transport on the environment.
The European Commission is active in Green Public Procurement. In this field, the European Commission develops a large number of methodologies that facilitate environmentally friendly public procurement for contracting authorities.
Local Governments for Sustainability
A global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. The organisation is active in 100+ countries and its members work together to create systemic change for urban sustainability
Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network
A network of over 40 European public authorities that work together on sustainable and innovative procurement.
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