More and more German federal states, towns and municipalities pass resolutions banning products produced using exploitative child labour from public contracts and procurement. A directive by the European Union on pubic procurement encourages these initiatives, as public contracts may now also consider criteria other than financial costs. Article 26 of directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts states:
“Contracting authorities may lay down special conditions relating to the performance of a contract, provided that these are compatible with Community law and are stated in the contract notice or in the specifications. The conditions governing the performance of a contract may, in particular, concern social and environmental considerations.”
So far, this directive has not been translated into national law in Germany yet.
For some time now, the federal government has been discussing a reform of public procurement guidelines. However, a survey on public procurement published by the German Advisory Council on Economy and Technology in May 2007 clearly states that financial criteria are to be given clear preference over social and environmental considerations. The survey does intend for a price preference policy that would reward the consideration of non-financial criteria by granting a company fulfilling these criteria a price advantage over fellow competitors. Nevertheless, this policy continues to assign a minor role to social, ecological and fair procurement. It passes over a major opportunity of stopping inhumane working conditions in Indian quarries and elsewhere.