Socially Responsible Public Procurement – Vehicles

Here you find information about generalised risks of human rights breaches in the global supply chains for vehicles.

Risks of human rights breaches

Vehicles consist of thousands of components and materials, sourced from all over the world. The production of components has generally been outsourced and the supply chains include thousands of subcontractors. With that many components, materials and suppliers, it is difficult to map the entire supply chain and thus, risks increase with low transparency. Human rights and labour rights risks are most prominent in the production of components and extraction of raw materials such as metals and rubber as production occurs in high-risks contexts where enforcement of laws is weak.   

Read the whole report on risks for human rights breaches in the production of vehicles:

Risk assessment on human rights breaches in the production of vehicles -Swedwatch 2020
pdf 365.14 KB

Specific risk assessments

The table below gives a generalised estimate of the level of risk of human rights abuse in the main tiers of the supply chain of vehicles (raw material extraction; component production and final assembling).  Some products purchased by public procurers in Norway have been selected to exemplify the risk levels. 

Product Assembly Component Raw material
Cars and vehicles Low risk Medium high risk High risk
Batteries Medium high risk High risk High risk
Tires Low risk Medium high risk High risk

Guidance for use of SRPP instruments when purchasing vehciles

The level of risk of human rights abuse for the products exemplified reveals that the the level of generalised risk of human rights abuse in the supply chains is low to high in the production of cars and vehicles.The main risks are beyond the 1st tier (final assembly) with the exemption of batteries, during component production and raw material extraction. As the risk level is higher further down in the supply chain this suggest use of socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) instruments to promote human rights during the production process in the supply chain of furniture, even though the risk level at assembly level is low. 

Disclaimer: Please notice that the level of risk for human rights abuses could vary for other types of products then the examples above. Furthermore, the risk assessments are based on supply chains for high risk products imported to Norway and the supply chain can look different for products imported to other countries/continents. 

1) Planning the purchase of a high risk product 

When using the SRPP instruments, consider the core principles of public procurement: transparency, equal treatment, open competition, and sound procedural management.

Having an open dialoge – communicating expectations on human rights due diligence - with the supplier market is essential to prepare suppliers on the SRPP requirements.

2) Writing the tender documents for the purchase of high risk products

The length of the contract and the financial value of the transaction should guide decision making towards investing main focus in the contracts with highest financial total value and the longest contract periods.

SRPP special contract clauses  should be added to the tender documents.

It could also be considered to use selection criteria  if the level of the market maturity is high (i.e several suppliers have human rights due diligence systems in place at the time of the writing of the tender documents).

3) Contract follow-up 

Using SRPP special contract clauses implies that the public entity shall follow up the contract. Several of the products outlined in the table above have low risk at assembly level. In such cases it could be advised to ask the supplier about information of components. 

SRPP self-assessment guidance could be used as reference for contract follow-up.

Updated: 3. June 2022

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