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SEEPP and suppliers

Supplier Code of Conduct

The City's Sustainable, Environment and Ethical Procurement (SEEPP) Policy provides a minimum set of environmental and ethical standards that City suppliers must meet. The SCC is attached to new City contracts for commodities that have been identified for SEEPP implementation.

  • Ethical standards – Suppliers must meet basic human rights and labour practices as legislated by jurisdictional requirements. This ensures that workers who make or deliver City products and services are treated fairly according to local or international standards.
  • Environmental standards – Suppliers must meet basic environmental standards through legislated and voluntary practices including, but not limited to, environmental permits and reporting, pollution prevention and resource reduction (e.g., products and services that are more energy efficient, contain low toxicity, packaging and high recycled content).

Verification of compliance with the Suppler Code of Conduct

The City uses a complaint-based system to verify supplier compliance to the Supplier Code of Conduct. If you suspect that a City supplier is not operating in compliance with the SCC, please contact 3-1-1 or 403-268-2489 from outside of the Calgary area.

Benefits for suppliers

The City's Sustainable Environmental and Ethical Procurement Policy (SEEPP) garnered support from participating suppliers throughout its development phase. Among the benefits that suppliers can potentially realize from SEEPP are:

  • A competitive edge – Suppliers who offer products or services with sustainability benefits at a commercially competitive cost will be recognized during the supplier selection process for competitive bids.
  • Fair cost comparisons - SEEPP helps ensure that suppliers must meet minimum local or internationally accepted standards for wages, overtime, labour rights and legal compliance so that any cost advantages between competing suppliers are not at the workers' expense.
  • Market growth – SEEPP emphasizes the preference for green and ethical products. This helps promote innovation for sustainable products and helps encourage a market for green and ethical purchasing.

SEEP's impacts on suppliers

Findings from market research and the SEEPP pilot implementation project indicate that many suppliers are already in compliance with SEEPP standards. Suppliers engaged during the policy development process indicated that they saw no significant business impact from The City's implementation of SEEPP.

Suppliers who do not meet The City's minimum standards, The City will help them understand how to achieve the standards within an acceptable timeline.

SEEPP's cost impact on suppliers

Throughout the SEEPP implementation pilot project, The City has worked closely with suppliers who attended our stakeholder sessions to develop tools and processes that would not increase administrative and financial burdens on suppliers. The City recognizes that excessive administration translates to additional costs to The City and is therefore committed to working with suppliers to minimize unnecessary impacts.

In general, suppliers saw no significant cost impacts from The City's implementation of SEEPP because they were already in compliance with The City's Supplier Code of Conduct, which requires that suppliers meet minimum local or internationally accepted standards for wages, overtime, labour rights and legal compliance. Suppliers who do not meet these requirements may experience some cost impacts in order to do business with The City.

The City recognizes the importance of minimizing burden on businesses as a result of The City's implementation of SEEPP. Excessive burdens would most likely result in additional costs to The City, The City is committed to working with suppliers and potential suppliers to minimize associated risks and impacts.

Public disclosure of manufacturing locations

Public disclosure of City supplier's manufacturing locations allows watchdog organizations to verify, through their own means, whether these facilities are operating in accordance with The City's Supplier Code of Conduct.

Best practice research has shown that typically tier one and two suppliers are subject to public disclosure.  For example, The City of San Francisco asks their primary apparel suppliers to disclose their factory locations (tier one) as well as the locations of their sub-contractors (tier two) because Code violations are more likely to occur where clothes are cut and stitched. Municipalities such as Los Angeles, Vancouver and Ottawa, as well as brands such as Nike and Adidas also publicly disclose this information on their websites.

Starting in 2009, The City's new apparel contracts required suppliers to publicly disclose their tier one and tier two factory locations. The City will regularly review its approach to public disclosure to ensure alignment with best practices and will examine other commodity areas on a case-by-case basis.

More information

More SEEPP information is available on Sustainable Environmental & Ethical Procurement Policy(SEEPP).