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Sustainable Procurement, Equipment and Services

Sustainable procurement refers to socially, economically and environmentally responsible purchases. An organisation can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its procurements; they can be used to produce higher-quality services and make economically sound procurements which generate less environmental impacts and more sustainable well-being.

In sustainable procurement, a procurement is looked at as a larger entity which affects not only the contracting authority and service provider but also other parties, rather than just purchasing goods or services. When assessing the effectiveness and responsibility of procurement, the perspectives of such groups as subcontractors, employees, manufacturing and supply chains, and the users should be taken into account. The preconditions for this include updating procurement requirements and/or contract terms.

Through sustainable and responsible procurement, we can also support SMEs, local production and the vitality of markets. For example, procurement contracts can be used to help attain carbon neutrality goals, promote responsibility in production chains, develop digital operating models, improve energy efficiency and employ disadvantaged jobseekers. Over the longer term, sustainable procurement promotes the realisation of human rights and prevents the grey economy.

Laurea's procurements

Laurea is subject to the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. As far as possible, Laurea’s products and services are procured centrally within the organisation. The different units are obliged to comply with Laurea's procurement guidelines and to make use of Laurea’s centrally tendered contracts in their procurements. See Laurea’s intranet for a continuously updated list of these agreements, which have columns for responsibility and notes.

In Laurea's procurements, the aim is to use Hansel’s (Kuntahankinnat’s)  and Sarastia’s framework agreements when possible. Through joint procurements, we can obtain high-quality products and services on better terms, and the framework agreements usually also pay a great deal of attention to the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, one of Hansel’s key business principles is being a pioneer in promoting environmental issues and sustainable development in public procurement.

Laurea's procurement guidelines clearly note that procurements must be made as economically and systematically as possible and aiming at the highest possible quality, while capitalising on the existing competitive conditions and taking environmental and social aspects into account. In order for procurements to be successful and appropriate and to meet their objectives, proper focus, planning and specification are always required.

As a rule, in Laurea's procurements:

  • The contractor's liability should always be checked
  • Environmental perspectives are taken into account
  • Ethical guidelines commonly used in the field are followed
  • Compliance with the law is ensured in invitations to tender: they must be fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and proportionate
  • A person responsible for monitoring a procurement contract is assigned for the contract period

Networks and cooperation

A precondition for developing sustainable procurement is that the management and the whole personnel are committed to the objectives. Laurea's internal experts are involved in procurement planning, and the expertise of different networks is used when making procurements. Service and produce users (students, teachers and other personnel) are engaged in planning the procurement as far as possible, and efforts are also made to actively and systematically request their feedback on the purchased products and services.

In its procurements, Laurea relies on such networks and partners as the 3AMK coalition and Arene. Depending on the procurement, any previous similar procurements or the benefits of the procurement potentially being made by a larger consortium are investigated in the planning stage. Collaboration makes it possible to achieve better purchasing power and cost-effectiveness while enabling the organisation to learn different procurement methods that can also be useful later. In the future, Laurea aims to be more active in its networks, specifically to promote sustainable procurement.

Laurea’s hardware and software procurements as an example

In the hardware and software procurements and competitive tendering processes of Laurea’s IT unit, sustainable development is taken into account in both the contract award criteria and the actual contracts. An effort is made to specify in advance, as precisely as possible, what is being procured in order to make sure of obtaining a product or service that meets the need. This way, Laurea strives for economic efficiency, sustainability and cost management. Sanctions and service level requirements imposed on suppliers, which are monitored during the validity of the contracts, aim for the same goal.

If the estimated value of the procurement exceeds the national threshold for public tenders, the contract is put out to tender in compliance with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. The contract concluded with the successful tenderer is always compliant with Finnish legislation, and this compliance is also required of the suppliers and their subcontractors. When the work is performed in Finland, at least the minimum terms of employment that must be complied with in work of the same nature under Finnish legislation and collective agreement provisions must be complied with. If the supplier uses subcontractors, they must meet the same requirements.

The requirements imposed on the supplier in the contract include the following:

  • If the supplier uses persons referred to in section 3(2a) of the Aliens Act (301/2004) to provide the service, the supplier must ensure that these persons have an employee's residence permit referred to in the Aliens Act or other document granting them the right to stay and work in Finland.
  • The persons in charge of managing the company must be beyond reproach.

Practical ways of checking that the contractor meets the requirements:

  • The service provider uses (at least for larger procurements) a quality system that Laurea can view and evaluate – The logical entity formed by the quality system must be easily verifiable. High quality of action also supports sustainable development.
  • Travel is restricted under the contract by agreeing to avoid unnecessary travel. Suppliers work from their own offices and remote meetings are organised to keep in touch.
  • In the management and lifespans of hardware, attention is paid to the following: energy saving, lifespan management: requirements are set for the energy consumption of hardware (as in the tendering phase discussed above), depending on what the procurement concerns: monitors, video projectors, laptops, desktops, etc.
  • Hardware is mainly purchased through a leasing service. The leasing service, which we have put out to tender in compliance with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, is a so-called lifespan service in which a new device is delivered to us with as little packaging materials as possible, and the hard drives of the devices we return are wiped and the devices are recycled. Long lifespans are ensured for environmental purposes:
    • Phones 36 months
    • Computers 48 months
    • Multi-function devices 60 months
  • The recovery rate of devices that are returned is approximately 98%. The devices are recycled after their hard drives have been wiped – usable devices are sold to other countries
  • Other electronic waste is placed in recycling containers provided by a partner, and recyclable materials are delivered for further processing.

On the Sustainable campuses page you can find more information about how sustainable development can be seen in action in these procurements

More information: