The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has issued a report, “Occupational Safety and Health in Marketing and procurement” (1) describing new ways to improve occupational safety and health through marketing and procurement initiatives. The report brings together 22 case examples, of voluntary initiatives taken by companies, sector organisations and governments to introduce:
• the use of Occupational Safety and Health as a criteria in purchasing products and services from other companies;
• the use of Occupational Safety and Health as a marketing element for promoting the sales of their products or services.
The aim of this study has been to identify and describe interesting examples of how companies in the Member States use occupational safety and health in their marketing and procurement strategies. Either by making demands on the suppliers’ safety and health performance or by marketing their goods and services emphasizing company safety and health performance or the safety and health properties of their products as illustrated in Fig. 1.
Some initiatives in this area have not been initiated by companies, but by trade organisations or industry associations or even with the involvement of national administrations. This can be considered a useful contribution to the development of these new approaches. It is of course efficient to develop these procurement methods jointly at sector level and share experiences. Furthermore it facilitates the access and use of these instruments if they are being taken care of by intermediary organisations.
The examples given in this report have been identified in nine different EU Member States. For each of the levels identified — that is marketing or procurement at the company, sector or national level — cases are identified and described. The described initiatives (see Table I) are not selected to be representative for all existing schemes on the European scene but more to show different ways of promoting safety and health in the workplaces.
This study does not evaluate the economic aspects of the different schemes in use. There is, however, no doubt that for the companies involved, the economic benefits on the bottom line are key motivators, whether it be a result of a reduction in lost time accidents, higher productivity or increased market shares.
The study is based on interviews with key stakeholders, such as representatives of the developers of the schemes, company management, safety and health managers, purchasers, customers, and worker representatives. Written questionnaires are sometimes used instead of interviews.