Green shopping carts in front of a mall in Forcalquier, Haute Provence, FrancePhoto: Martin

The public sector has a powerful role to play in increasing the demand for sustainably and fairly produced products. As a large scale consumer of a wide variety of products, the public sector can create significant leverage to bring about structural improvements on human rights and environmental conditions in the electronics, garment and textile industries.

We advocate for adoption of socially responsible and sustainable public procurement policies, conduct research on implementation of such policies, and document best practices. We advise public institutions in the Netherlands on operationalising the Dutch government’s policy for socially responsible public procurement.

We are a co-founder and board member of Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organisation working to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public purchasing in Europe.

read more less
the bigger picture

Sustainable Supply Chains

Many of the problems facing people in middle and low income countries (indirectly) result from the practices and policies of multinational corporations at the end of the supply chain.

This can be seen in the supply chains of the garment industry, electronics sector, food production and pharmaceutical industry.

Bad working conditions and unsustainable practices

Many people in these sectors are working under inhumane and dangerous conditions with little or no respect for labour rights or environmental standards. Excessive hours, low wages and precarious employment conditions are common in supply chains of the garments, electronics and food sectors. It’s no coincidence that those who are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation – migrants, young people and women – are heavily employed in these sectors.

Binding regulations and good practices

Together with trade unions and other civil society organisations, SOMO presses for the promotion and protection of the rights of workers, communities and individuals in all stages of supply chains. SOMO pushes for regulation, policies and practices that ensure decent work and sustainability, including legally enforceable corporate accountability mechanisms and a leading role for workers in monitoring and ensuring improvement of workplace conditions. SOMO promotes sustainable public procurement which, by mobilising the massive purchasing power of the public sector, can bring about structural improvements in supply chains.

read more
Updates on this topic