This blog post reports on work-in-progress within the DfG course! The post is written by the group dealing with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s brief on ‘Reducing the carbon footprint of procurement services’.
Group 2c: Joosep Laht and Loren Córdoba from Collaborative and Industrial Design program, and Tessa Kauppinen and Junrui Li from Creative Sustainability program.
The baby box, also called the maternity box, is a highly-praised public procurement service initiated by the Finnish government. Taking it as an example, our team aims to make public procurement services better through concrete research and innovative design. By “better”, we mean that public procurement services should be better in improving user experience, reducing environmental impact, and promoting sustainable social and economic development.
This is the second week of the DfG 2021 course. At this point, we are collecting as much information as possible to gain a holistic understanding of the current situation.
Open up the dialogue: the first roundtable discussion.
We’ve successfully held a roundtable meeting with people from relevant government institutions, including TEM, Kela, and Syke. This meeting gave all of us remarkable findings, such as how sustainability is addressed in the baby box procurement process, how different policies may influence procurement practice and so on. For instance, from Kela side, we learned that currently, the annual appropriation for the baby box procurement is restricting Kela from reaching longer-term contracts with the suppliers, although whether longer-term contracts should be advocated or not is still under discussion. In addition, this was the first time that different institutions met to discuss the baby box procurement topic, and the fruitful results show that this kind of inter-sectoral conversations should be kept ongoing.
Upcoming focus on sustainable procurement
In order to achieve more sustainable public procurement services, we spotted several relevant aspects to further look into, such as the whole lifecycle of the products, product quality and price control, selecting criteria, tendering requirements, and cooperation model and so on. For instance, in terms of reusing some products, how to ensure equality can be significant challenges to conquer.
For the next step, we are organizing interviews with different stakeholders involved in the baby box procurement process, including TEM, Kela, Keino, current suppliers and potential suppliers, sustainable merchants, as well as receiver families.