Expo2020 Dubai set itself the challenge to deliver one of the most sustainable World Expos in history. The procurement team behind the event put driving the green economy at the centre of decision-making and daily practices, including protecting the environment, supporting social initiatives and stimulating the local economy. The team, managing spend of around AED40bn, drew up a strict supplier code of conduct covering ethical, social, environmental, health and safety, and labour and human rights standards. Ambitious targets were set for spend with SMEs, including a stipulation that all contracts worth AED125m or more must allocate 20% of the contract value to SMEs. In practice this figure has reached 56%. Worker welfare has been embedded in the project, with Expo staff regularly monitoring standards with inspections of working and living conditions. Before a company can bid for work it must complete a questionnaire covering worker welfare practices and agree to an audit, and within three months of starting work it is audited again, with ongoing reviews.
This was an excellent, creative submission that will bring lasting benefits to the UAE. The entry reflects a clean synergy of visible value drivers being recognised and executed consistently. It is evident that procurement has played an important role in this strategy.