The French Public Procurement Code includes the following RBC objectives – additional frameworks apply, depending on the RBC objective:

The general framework for environmental concerns is the French Environmental Code; in addition, there is a Roadmap for a Circular Economy (2018) that highlights how public procurement can lever the circular economy. Law № 2016-1087 (2016) for the recovery of biodiversity, nature and landscapes, Law № 2020-105 (2020) on the fight against waste reduction and the circular economy and Law № 2015-992 (2015) on energy transition for green growth contain additional provisions.

The French National Action Plan is the general framework for this issue, implementing the United Nations Guidelines on Human Rights and Business (2017).

In addition, the public procurement Law №. 2017-399 (2017) refers to the duty of care by parent companies and principal contractors; Law № 2014-790 (2014) covers unfair social competition.

Law № 2018-771 (2018) on the freedom to choose a career applies.

The French Growth pact for the social and solidarity economy (2018) aims at developing responsible purchasing. In addition, Law № 2014-856 (2014) on the social and solidarity economy and the Pact of Labour Inclusion through Economic Activity apply.

Law № 2014-873 promotes gender equity. A Diversity and Equality Label aims to prevent discrimination and promote diversity in the public and private sectors. This document includes a specific chapter on relations with suppliers.

Law № 2016-1691 (2016) on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernisation of the economic life, Law № 2019-486 (2019) on the Growth and Transformation of Enterprises and the Decree № 2012-557 (2012) on the transparency obligations of companies in social and environmental matters apply.

  • The strategy sheet Strengthening responsible government procurement includes certain sustainable policy objectives, such as considerations related to the environment, labour rights, people with disabilities, gender and unemployed people.

  • On integrity, the French CPB (Union des groupements d'achats publics, UGAP) has a Code of ethics for their stakeholders (suppliers, customers and partners). To ensure its effectiveness, the Code is referenced in public procurement documents for suppliers, and in the general conditions of sale for customers.

  • When preparing calls for tenders, the UGAP often requests participation of business federations and trade unions representing different sectors. These groups are involved in the early, preliminary planning of the tender and in the division of lots.

  • When preparing contracts, the French State Procurement Department assesses all social (including human rights) and environmental considerations. This is to determine the considerations to include in the tender documentation and the corresponding level of requirement. This expertise is based on the information gathered during the pre-tendering stage.

  • The UGAP incorporates concerns relating to the environment, labour rights and people with disabilities in the selection criteria and/or the technical specifications. For environmental aspects, selection criteria can include eco-design, recycled, recyclable or reused materials, ecolabel products, etc.

  • After the needs analysis, the French State Procurement Department (Direction d’achats de l’État, DAE), integrates social and environmental considerations:

    • in the contract execution conditions;

    • in the technical specifications;

    • as a combination of these two possibilities; or

    • under a combination of these possibilities with award criteria.

The social or environmental award criteria are independent from the technical assessment and have a minimum weight of 10% of the total contract award volume. The French State Procurement Department also asks for reliable, transparent and valid means of proof from bidders in support of their environmental and/or social claims. If the awarded supplier does not comply with the requirements of the contracts, penalties may apply.

  • An audit and control plan for the UGAP stakeholders will be deployed in 2020. Among others, the plan serves to verify compliance with legal requirements, matters of ethics, social aspects, environmental concerns and personal data protection matters.

  • To mitigate risks of human rights violations related to contracts in the IT sector and for furniture, the French State Procurement Department includes a mandatory questionnaire about the transparency of supply chains and the due diligence procedures carried out by companies.

  • The French government has implemented different actions to raise awareness about sustainability, and to include sustainability objectives more frequently into their procurement procedures. These actions include:

    • An annual seminar to exchange best practices between the French State Procurement Department and the Institute of Public Management and Economic Development (Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, IGDPE).

    • The use of various ecolabel and certifications, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (Programme de reconnaissance des certifications forestières, PECF), European Ecolabel, type 1 ecolabels, NF-Environnement Mark's standard and TCO label (IT equipment).

    • An IT-sharing platform called “Réseau des administrations publiques intégrant le développement durable” (RAPIDD) serves as a network to integrate sustainable development into the procurement procedures. This platform is open to all state and non-state public buyers.

    • The professional social network of State buyers “Réseau social professionnel des Achats de l’État” (RESPAE) is open to all procurement officials of the State and its public establishments.

    • Tools and guides contribute to the professionalisation of public procurement workforce in the public sector.

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