Code of Conduct for contracting entities published to promote social sustainability in public procurement

Ministry of Finance
Publication date 16.12.2021 8.44
Press release

One of the objectives of the National Public Procurement Strategy is to promote respect for human rights and fundamental labour rights in procurement. To support the achievement of this objective, a Code of Conduct specifying the minimum requirements regarding responsibility has been drawn up in cooperation with the Procurement Finland project organisation. The Code of Conduct is to be included in the procurement contract. This means that commitment to ensuring working conditions that comply with the ethical guidelines will be required of suppliers.

“By appending the Code of Conduct to the invitation to tender we can safeguard the rights of employees while helping responsible companies succeed in the tendering process. Contracting entities are encouraged to use the CoC especially if the procurement involves a risk of human rights violations. I believe that the model for minimum requirements prepared by Hansel, the central purchasing body for central and local government agencies, will encourage this,” says Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero.

Social risks must be identified before starting the procurement process 

For procurement purposes, it is important to identify products and services that may involve a greater risk of human rights and workers’ rights violations. Problems may arise in production chains abroad, but violations may also occur in services provided in Finland, for example in the construction, cleaning and restaurant sectors. 

Social sustainability includes respect for human rights and fundamental labour rights, and making sure these rights are promoted and compliance is supervised throughout the production chain. Reference is made in the minimum requirements to certain agreements such as the Conventions of the International Labour Organization ILO and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Code of Conduct is intended for all public procurement agencies, including the central government and municipalities, which are required to comply with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts.  

Swedish and English versions of the Code of Conduct will be published later on the Procurement Finland website. The Ministry of Finance, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Hansel and the European Institute for Criminal Policy, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), will organise webinars on socially sustainable procurement in 2022. These webinars are based on the minimum requirements for social responsibility and the previously published Labour Exploitation and Public Procurement guide prepared by HEUNI. The webinars will be held on 18 January and 10 February. 

Lauri Finér, Special Adviser to the Minister of Local Government, tel. +358 295 530 283, lauri.finer(at)
Tarja Sinivuori-Boldt, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance tel. +358 295 530 433, tarja.sinivuori-boldt(at)
Katariina Huikko, Senior Legal Counsel, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 50 566 4327, katariina.huikko(at)