Nordic companies gather in Copenhagen to seek business opportunities with the UN

UN City Copenhagen, 12 November 2018 – On 12-13 November, 170 potential and current suppliers to the UN are meeting in UN City Copenhagen with UN agencies for the Nordic UN Procurement Seminar. The seminar is arranged by the Nordic countries, the Confederation of Danish Industry and UN City.

“For Danish and Nordic companies, the UN City in Copenhagen is a huge business opportunity. The UN is an export market worth over 18 billion dollars a year and the UN system highly demands our sustainable solutions. It’s good for the companies and for advancing human development and the Global Goals around the world. We urge Danish and Nordic companies to engage even more with the UN market”, says Eva Kjer Hansen, Danish Minister for Nordic cooperation.

Companies from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are participating in the two-day seminar that offers presentations of the UN agencies’ procurement needs and procedures as well as future partnership opportunities for innovation and joint ventures. New potential suppliers will also benefit from straight forward guidance and support in using the UN Global Marketplace (UNGM). Moreover, over 300 one-on-one meetings between companies and UN procurement officers have been planned during the two days.

The Nordic UN Procurement Seminar has been taking place once every two years. This year, 40 procurement officers from nine UN agencies will attend the seminar, accounting for well over 90 per cent of the UN procurement volume.


Markku Keinänen, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Marianne Hagen, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. Photo: UN City Copenhagen.

An export market worth over USD 18 billion

The UN system’s procurement volume reached USD 18.6 billion in 2017, an increase of 5.1 per cent compared to 2016. For the fifth consecutive year, Denmark was among the top 10 country suppliers to UN agencies such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The location of UN City in the Northern Harbor district of Copenhagen is a strategic advantage for not only Danish companies but also companies from all Nordic countries as big volumes of procurement are handled out of UN City Copenhagen.

“The agencies represented here at UN City in Copenhagen contribute roughly 69 per cent of the entire United Nations’ procurement activities – estimated at $12.8 billion every year. Much of this is done in partnership with companies based in Nordic countries”, states Grete Faremo, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNOPS.

Out of 11 residing UN agencies in UN City, four have established procurement functions in Copenhagen: the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Clustering procurement and supply in Copenhagen allows for knowledge sharing across the UN agencies as well as collaboration on purchasing goods and services. This way, lower prices can be achieved, higher standards are met and demand for more sustainable production are set.

“By working together with partners in the private sector, UNOPS and the UN can lead by example in procurement to propel markets towards innovation and sustainability,” says Grete Faremo.

With a purchasing power of more than USD 18 billion, the UN system has the potential to significantly advance sustainable development through procurement practices.

“Sustainable procurement helps organizations meet their needs for goods, works and services in a way that achieves value for money. This generates benefits beyond the organizations to the economy and society as a whole, while minimizing adverse environmental impacts,” she adds.

The seminar has been organized by the Nordic countries with the support of the Confederation of Danish Industry, Business Sweden, Innovation Norway, Business Finland, and in collaboration with the UN’s High-Level Committee on Management’s Procurement Network. Participating UN agencies: UNDP, UN/PD, UNICEF, UNOPS, PAHO, UNHCR, UNFPA, OPCW, WFP and Global Compact.

Further information on UN procurement can be found in the UN Annual Statistical Report:

Contact: Kerry Kassow +45 4533 6054 for further information on the Nordic UN Procurement Seminar and the High-Level Committee on Management’s Procurement Network.