Supporting British steel
In the same month that the owners of British Steel are looking for a government bail-out to avert the country’s next major industrial collapse, UK Steel, the trade association for the UK steel industry (yes, both of them), has published a Charter to promote UK Steel.
The Charter is in the form of a series of statements recognising the contribution of the steel industry and a pledge to buy steel, which meets the British standard BES 6001: Framework Standard for Responsible Sourcing. Again, this echoes other procurement policies to incorporate wider social value within a procurement exercise, rather than relying on a simplistic model based on costs alone, and masks any potentially unlawful “buy-national” commitment with a reference to a non-discriminatory standard. Unfortunately, the mask slips as the pledge is accompanied by a procurement challenge come-and-get-me plea to a signatory: “British business and organisations have a duty to lead the way in supporting sustainable British steel”.