Article 3


The interplay between EU public procurement and human rights in global supply chains: Lessons from the Italian legal context


  • Giulia Botta – [email protected]
    Giulia Botta is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Milan, in the program “Law, Economics, Ethics for Sustainable Development”, under the Faculty of International and Public Law. She conducts research in Public Procurement law and intersection with Business & Human Rights legal field. She has been visiting fellow at the University of Copenhagen – Centre for Private Governance (CEPRI) and at the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR). Giulia has recently joined the International Training Center of ILO as Associate Professional Officer, working in research and training in the Sustainable Public Procurement team.


Linking EU public procurement and the recently consolidated Business & Human Rights field of international law is a core challenge and opportunity in the current globalized economy. Global supply chains play a crucial role in enhancing socio-economic development, however evidence from NGOs and case law shows that human rights and labour standards abuses persist in many market sectors. Thus, goods, works, services procured by public entities may entail human rights risks, potentially occurring throughout their global supply chains. The EU regulatory framework has not adequately regulated such intersection, fostering ambiguity and uncertainties in the application which require legal clarification at multiple levels. This article looks at public procurement from a human rights’ legal perspective, firstly analysing whether there are human rights obligations for contracting authorities (§ 1). Key potentials and uncertainties under the EU Public Sector Directive are highlighted (§ 2), followed by the analysis of the case of Italy, unpacking the use of minimum sustainability requirements to foster human rights respect along global supply chains.


Business & human rights, EU public procurement, Human rights criteria, Italy, Labour rights, Minimum sustainability criteria, Socially responsible public procurement, Supply chains.


Cite this article

Botta, G. (2022). The Interplay between EU Public Procurement and Human Rights in Global Supply Chains: Lessons from the Italian Legal Context. European Journal of Public Procurement Markets, 4(3), 51-67.