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Ethical guidelines for the purchase of goods and services

The following are ethical guidelines for employees in connection with purchasing and contact with suppliers of goods and services.

If you are in doubt about purchasing, your question should be put to your immediate superior.

Purpose

The ethical guidelines of the University of Oslo (UiO) are intended to ensure that employees at UiO behaves with great integrity, such that the general public has confidence that public procurements are made in a socially beneficial manner, and so as to prevent unethical conduct and corruption in connection with procurements.

The ethical guidelines implement the recommendations of the authorities concerning environmental and social responsibility in public procurement, including the Government's action plan for environmental and social responsibility and the commitments UiO has undertaken through its membership of the organisations "Grønn Punkt Norge", the "Swan Ecolabel Club" and "Ethical Trading Initiative".

The requirements in UiO's ethical purchasing guidelines are minimum requirements. All departments shall comply with acts, regulations, circulars, relevant industry-specific ethical rules and internal rules applying to UiO. All those making purchases on behalf of UiO are obliged to familiarize themselves with the Act relating to Public Procurements with appurtenant regulations.

Requirements and expectations of the individual employee

When making purchases on behalf of the University of Oslo, all UiO employees and all those acting on behalf of UiO shall conduct themselves in accordance with good business and administrative practice, applicable legislation and general ethical standards. Individuals shall contribute through UiO procurements to adding value to UiO and society at large. The ethical guidelines concern UiO's internal circumstances in the procurement process as well as relations with suppliers and the community in general.

Use of position

Employees must not use their positions for personal gain, but through their actions should maintain and enhance respect for their position and thereby promote a good impression of the University of Oslo. Individuals shall conduct themselves with great integrity.

Disqualification

UiO employees shall not seek to gain advantages for themselves or related parties which make their integrity questionable.

Nor may UiO employees take part in or attempt during the preparatory phase to influence a procurement, through descriptions and decisions concerning a procurement need that may be perceived as or cause a conflict of interests. This may be a matter of a personal interest in the procurement, financial or other, directly or through related persons.

Employees must not take part in or influence procurements for UiO from their own or a related person's firm. If there are plans to make a purchase from a company in which a Purchasing Officer knows that a UiO employee has interests, the Purchasing Officer shall withdraw from the procurement process and inform his or her immediate superior of the situation.

If personal interests may influence a decision in a matter for which an employee has professional responsibility, or where others may reasonably regard such influence as a probability, the matter shall be submitted to the Procurement Office and the employee's immediate superior to determine the question of disqualification.

Business relations and social gathering

Moderate forms of hospitality and social gathering form a part of polite business relations. However, such socializing must not assume such proportions that it influences the decision-making process, or may give others reason to believe that it does.

Gifts and other benefits

Employees may not accept, personally or on behalf of others, gifts, commissions, services or other benefits.

Business travel

When suppliers and other business partners offer visits to private companies, travel to exhibitions etc., it is a requirement that UiO covers the expenses of travel and accommodation. Travel must always be approved by the employee's immediate superior.

Private use of framework agreements

Framework agreements with suppliers for delivery of goods and services to UiO must not be used by employees in a private capacity. The above also applies to employees' related persons if the advantage must be deemed to stem from the employee's employment at UiO.

Correct and confidential information

Confidential information that is received in connection with a contract of services shall be respected and not used for personal gain. Information received from the market about offers and tenderers shall be treated as confidential and not be abused, for example in relation to competing tenderers. The legal requirement that purchasing officers must conduct themselves in accordance with good business practice, maintain high business ethical standards and conduct themselves with great integrity applies without exception.

Requirements and expectations of suppliers

UiO's suppliers shall comply with UiO's ethical guidelines, relevant national legislation and internationally recognized conventions. Deliveries to UiO shall be consistent with the requirements below. The requirements indicate minimum standards. In cases where internationally recognized standards and conventions and national legislation and rules deal with the same subject, the highest standard shall always apply, as long as it is in conformity with the legislation of the country in question.

Physical environment

According to UiO's carbon account, procurements are responsible for about 60 per cent of the carbon footprint UiO leaves each year.

It is therefore important that suppliers comply with relevant national and international environmental standards. Suppliers shall always apply the precautionary principle to pollution and environmental risk due to other environmental and climate-related challenges. Suppliers must also promote their own responsible environmental policy and contribute to the use of environmentally friendly technology, which includes minimizing their own emissions and seeking to extend their own climate-related endeavours.

Human rights

Suppliers shall respect internationally recognized human rights. Suppliers shall respect the dignity, protection of privacy and personal rights of all people.

Standards in working life

Freedom to form trade unions and the right to collective wage bargaining

Suppliers shall protect and recognize the right of freedom to form trade unions and facilitate collective wage bargaining if a substantial share of the employees are agreed on this. Suppliers shall pave the way for trade unions and members to exercise their functions freely at their place of work. In those cases where freedom to form unions and to engage in collective wage bargaining are restricted by national legislation, suppliers shall allow employees to freely elect their own representatives within the scope allowed by the legislation.

Forced labour

Suppliers shall not use any form of compulsion in employment or working relationships. All employees shall be free to terminate their working relationship after notifying the supplier to this effect in accordance with a signed contract of service. Suppliers shall ensure that working relationships are based on free choice and that no threat of any kind is involved.

Child labour

Suppliers shall be particularly cautious with respect to occurrences of child labour. Children aged less than 15 or the age of compulsory schooling shall not perform work that may hinder their education. If suppliers already have this type of child labour, efforts shall be made to phase it out as quickly as possible.

Discrimination

Suppliers shall prohibit direct or indirect discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, trade union membership or political affiliation and shall promote equal opportunities in employment conditions.

Employment conditions

Suppliers shall pay remuneration that meets the respective national legal minimum wage standard. Wages shall be contractual and paid to the employee at the agreed time.

The labour law and labour legislation in the country where the production takes place shall be complied with. Suppliers shall ensure that rules for statutory working hours are complied with and that all employees receive contracts of service that describe their employment situation in a language the employee understands.

Health, environment and safety

Suppliers shall ensure that employees have a healthy and safe working environment, in accordance with internationally recognized standards and national legislation. Suppliers shall monitor occupational risk and take steps to prevent accidents and occupational injuries or diseases, including taking out statutory insurance. Suppliers shall provide regular training to ensure that employees have a satisfactory knowledge of health and safety issues.

Suppliers shall otherwise comply with negotiated agreements and conventions, cf. the ILO conventions.

Corruption and other unethical and illegal business methods

Integrity

Suppliers shall conduct themselves with a high level of integrity in all their relations with UiO, so that the general public has confidence that public procurements take place in a socially beneficial manner. Suppliers shall comply with laws and rules relating to bribery, corruption, fraud and all other forms of unethical or illegal business practice.

It is natural that relationships develop between UiO employees and suppliers in the case of long-term agreements. These relationships must not influence decisions regarding future procurements. Special caution must be exercised before and during a procurement process.

Loans of equipment

All persons acting on behalf of UiO undertake to exercise great caution in connection with offers of loans of equipment by suppliers. A loan agreement must not infringe other purchase agreements or constitute an inappropriate advantage that influences decisions in future or related procurements. Clauses about loans of equipment shall always be included in tender documents and procurement protocols.

Any financial and other relevant consequences must always be assessed before an agreement regarding a loan is entered into.

Unethical behaviour, bribery and corruption

Trading in influence is punishable. Trading in influence means that a person receives or accepts, for him or herself or others, an offer of an undue advantage for influencing the execution of a position, office or assignment, or gives or offers anyone an undue advantage in order to influence the execution of a position, office or assignment.

Corruption and trading in influence are punishable pursuant to the Norwegian Penal Code. Both individuals and businesses may be penalized with imprisonment or fines.

Unethical behaviour applies not only to material items, but also to other advantages such as personal discounts on the purchase of goods and services or loans of equipment without charge for private use.

Competition

Suppliers shall not cause or participate in breaches of the competition legislation through illegal price-fixing, illegal market cooperation or other forms of conduct that entail breach of the competition legislation.

It is important to behave with great caution in research and development projects in order to avoid the possibility that handling of projects is mixed up with any later procurements. Experience from these projects can be used in the drafting of specifications for ordinary tenders, but suppliers from development projects cannot then be drawn in in a manner that discriminates, leads to breach of the equal treatment principle, or in some other way restricts or excludes real competition.

Follow-up and sanctions

Suppliers are obliged to comply with the requirements and rules in UiO's ethical guidelines for procurements and to ensure that they are complied with by subcontractors, if any.

UiO may require that this work be documented by means of a self-declaration by the supplier, follow-up meetings or separate independent third-party verification.

Suppliers can choose themselves to document follow-up of requirements through a relevant and approved certification scheme.

UiO reserves the right to perform announced or unannounced inspections. Repeated breaches or gross breaches of our ethical guidelines will always be regarded as material breach of the terms of the contractual relationship.

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Published Aug. 28, 2013 2:43 PM - Last modified Oct. 12, 2017 3:05 PM