If local governments buy cheap foreign products, there are often unwanted side effects. Many of these goods are produced under inhuman, degrading conditions: exploitatively low wages, 70 hour work weeks, health-damaging working conditions, and child labour. Solidar Suisse has been working for many years to make public authorities act responsibly.

In Switzerland, the federal, cantonal and local governments together spend around 40 billion Swiss francs on goods and services. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the lowest bidder tends to win the contract. As a consequence, workers` and human rights suffer. The only way to ensure that goods are produced fairly is to demand it. This is the responsibility of the governments involved. They can insist that suppliers of foreign products show evidence of fair conditions at the production sites. Such proofs can be obtained: trustworthy labels and certifications are available for many products. Global companies can make their own inspections and have them validated by independent organisations. Solidar Switzerland contributes to this effort with a periodic rating of local Swiss governments' and public position statements concerning improved procurement policies.

REVISION OF THE INTER-CANTONAL AGREEMENT AND FEDERAL LAW ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENTS

The review of the inter-cantonal agreement ended in December 2014 and that of the federal law ended in June 2015. Both drafts missed the opportunity to define a legal framework for socially, ecologically and economically sustainable procurement. This is in spite of the fact that the federal constitution makes sustainable development a goal and that this is also a priority in the European Community.

Solidar Switzerland demanded that the drive to sustainability be made into law and explicitly commented ihn the federal review how this could be done.

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