Paving a Path to UN Procurement
Denmark In New York’s UN Procurement Team Talks Sustainability, ICT, and Leading the First Virtual UN Procurement Seminar
On January 25th and 26th, 2021, Denmark In New York’s United Nations Procurement team will help lead the 6th Nordic UN Procurement Seminar, where Nordic companies can engage directly with UN procurement officers and suppliers and a procurement market valued at almost $20 billion USD. The two-day seminar will gather more than 230 Nordic companies, 15 UN Agencies and over 500 participants to promote their solutions and conduct business with the United Nations.
It is the first time that Denmark In New York, in partnership with its Nordic partners and the United Nations, organizes a virtual procurement seminar, due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Ahead of the historic event, we sat down with Denmark In New York’s UN Procurement team to discuss Denmark’s leading role in bringing sustainability and ICT to the UN Procurement arena.
Denmark In New York: How does Denmark In New York’s Trade Council team help Danish companies enter the UN procurement world and why are its seminars such a valuable asset for the Danish private sector?
UN Procurement Team: The UN is a huge market of around USD 20 billion a year with a broad need for products and services. Working with the UN is a privilege that can benefit many companies, but it is also a market that requires patience and tailored, turnkey solutions.
The Trade Council has since 2016 had a network for Danish suppliers to the UN, called the Danish UN Procurement Network. We use this network for knowledge sharing and upcoming opportunities such as relevant tenders and UN procurement seminars. Over 150 Danish companies have registered, it is a free of charge service.
Besides this we also provide individual tailored advisory, based on the experience of the companies and their sectors. We support newcomers with business analysis and understanding of the needs of each UN agency, useful tips for getting access to tenders and new opportunities as well as advisory on their business strategy. We also help experienced companies, some of them have worked with the UN for more than a decade and have received Long Term Agreements, but we can help them establish a trusted dialogue with the UN, when they meet bottlenecks.
Denmark is renowned as a global leader in sustainability. And the UN, of course, is known for its Sustainable Development Goals. And how can Danish companies help improve the sustainable procurement landscape in the UN network?
UN Procurement Team: Danish companies are very aware of the importance and the opportunities that the Sustainable Development Goals create, most of them have joined the UN Global Compact and have tried to integrate at least some of the Goals into their strategies.
We believe it is very important that sustainability and innovation are prioritized when Danish companies engage around the world, and specially with the UN. The UN takes a best value for money approach in procurement, and we therefore seek to create platforms for dialogue where we can showcase the value proposition of sustainable and innovative solutions. Many times high quality and sustainable solutions are more expensive in the short run, but when the lifespan of the product is taken into account, these are usually cheaper and more impactful.
We work closely with our Nordic partners on this, and sustainability and innovation are therefore also a red thread in the upcoming Nordic UN Procurement Seminar 2021.
What are some of the main sectoral needs that you see in the UN procurement landscape and why do you think Danish companies are uniquely positioned to respond to them?
UN Procurement Team: Danish companies are extremely successful at engaging with the UN. We are a very small country but we are amongst the largest top 10 suppliers to the UN. Danish companies are successful because they understand that it is about the long-run, you need to be patient, tailor to the needs of the UN and seek to provide complete turn-key solutions. It is not only larger companies, but also many SMEs that have found a niche in this market.
The first priority is to respond to the global health challenges, Danish companies can provide a large variety of medical services and supplies, but also key services such as cold-chains for transporting the vaccines around the globe.
But we also need to keep the climate crisis at the centre of attention, and respond to the pandemic by building back better and greener. And here is where all of our sustainable solutions will really be needed.