5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect

5.7.3 The State-business nexus

Guiding Principle 6 [page 25]

PI21 Human rights criteria in public procurement at federal level

Public procurement practices in Switzerland are governed by the Federal Act on Public Procurement (PPA, SR 172.056.1) and the related Ordinance Article 8 para. 1 PPA states that the federal government awards contracts for goods and services in Switzerland on the following conditions: business enterprises must respect the usual health and safety regulations and working conditions at the location where the good or service is provided, and also ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Furthermore, procurement processes that are not subject to WTO requirements must take into account the training places offered by competing Swiss bidders which have submitted bids of equal value. Where goods and services are provided abroad, providers must comply at a minimum with the eight core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The federal government’s public procurement legislation is currently in revision in response to the changes made to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) in 2012. Sustainability aspects (economic, environmental and social) are now to be codified in law, rather than being governed at ordinance level, as is currently the case (Art. 2a draft PPA).

The federal government’s purchasing offices ensure sustainable procurement practices while awarding contracts according to the principles of equal treatment, transparency, competition and the economic use of public funds. The Federal Procurement Conference addressed the consideration of social and environmental factors in detail in its recommendation on sustainable procurement. It recommends applying sustainability criteria in procurement procedures. Sustainability factors may be included as award criteria. A tool for country-specific risk assessment permits an evaluation of the credibility of independent declarations.

Furthermore, the Sustainable Procurement monitoring programme was introduced as part of the federal government’s procurement audit in 2013.

The federal government is also looking into creating a national platform for sustainable public procurement. The aim of this platform would be to promote sustainable public procurement and ensure an exchange of information on this issue between the different levels of government.

The Federal Council attaches great importance to sustainable procurement practices and will continue its current activities in this field during the reporting period.