Government Procurement

Who Made our Uniforms? U.K. Public Sector Apparel Procurement: Ensuring Transparency and Respect for Human Rights

A new report published by CORE and ICAR reveals that that a third of companies that have supplied uniforms for UK public sector workers, including the armed forces and prison officers, have not reported on what they are doing to tackle slavery in their supply chains.

Our report ‘Who Made Our Uniforms?’ reveals that few contractors supplying uniforms and specialist safety clothing to the UK public sector are transparent about their ethical standards and international suppliers.

Public Procurement and Human Rights: A Survey of Twenty Jurisdictions

Public procurement – the purchase by the public sector of the goods and services it needs to carry out its functions – is a major component of the overall global economy, accounting for €1000 billion per year and on average 12% of GDP in OECD countries.

Human rights standards to which governments have signed up, such as the widely-supported UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, oblige public buyers to ensure respect for human rights in their supply chains.  At the same time, the recently-adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda highlight the role of government procurement as part of the transition to sustainable production and consumption.

Turning a Blind Eye? Respecting Human Rights in Government Purchasing

The U.S. federal government is the largest single purchaser in the global economy, with annual procurement spending that totals between $350 and $500 billion. Like other mega-consumers, it procures through global supply chains that enable large-scale production of goods to varying specifications—all at the lowest possible cost—and often in countries where rule of law and respect for human rights is weak or nonexistent. As such, the U.S. government’s global supply chains are linked to a range of human rights violations.