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Government procurement amounts to nearly 73,3 billion euros per year. It thus has a significant impact on the environment and on social issues, both here and in other countries. Deliberately targeted sustainable public procurement is a powerful tool for achieving major sustainability goals. Sustainable public procurement is constantly evolving. This page contains details of developments in the field of SPP, not only in the Netherlands but also in European and international contexts.
Sustainable procurement action plan
On Thursday 5 February 2015, a General Consultation on sustainability was held in the House of Representatives (House). In the preceding period and during the debate itself there was a substantial focus on sustainable procurement. The Ministers of Infrastructure and the Environment, Housing and the Central Government Sector and the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, made a commitment to send a sustainable procurement action plan to the House before the summer of 2015. This is to include detailed responses to the questions on sustainable procurement posed during the General Consultation. Those questions involved issues such as the organisation and promotion of sustainable procurement by local authorities and the establishment of a new monitoring system for sustainable procurement.
On September 11, 2015 the procurement action plan was offered to the House. This plan is intended to give public purchasers clear criteria and instruments for sustainable procurement. The plan of action is in line with the government's sustainability objectives, as set out in the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth, the Local Climate Agenda and the 'From Refuse to Raw Material' programme. Environment minister is responsible for the sustainability criteria. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations coordinates central government procurement, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy focuses on the opportunities that sustainable procurement creates for Dutch innovation and enterprise. Finally, the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Social Affairs & Employment are responsible for the social criteria.
Parliament will receive regular updates on the results of responsible procurement policy.
Sustainable Procurement Manifesto
The parties that signed the Sustainable Procurement Manifesto (Manifest Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Inkopen) want to increase the effectiveness and impact of Sustainable Procurement (SP). The SP Manifesto replaces earlier agreements such as the 100% sustainable procurement based on minimum requirements. In this Manifesto, public authorities commit to set their objectives in accordance with their own ambitions and develop them into concrete actions. The Manifesto was first signed in December 2016, and many other parties have signed up since.
Update Environmental Criteria
The Environmental Criteria are reviewed yearly since 2015 to keep it up to date. During this process the documents are tested on the accuracy and where needed adjustments are made accordingly. Where possible, maximum use has been made of the European Green Public Procurement criteria (GPP). This ensures more consistency in criteria so that the effect of the application increases. All these documents will also be available in an English translation on our website.
Green public procurement
In the European context, too, sustainable public procurement is high on the agenda. The European Commission sees SPP as a tool for promoting sustainable economic growth. The emphasis here is on the environmental aspect: Green Public Procurement (GPP). There is, however, a growing focus on the social aspect. The European Commission has now developed environmental criteria for more than 20 product groups. The relevant aspects have been translated into Dutch environmental criteria.
GPP criteria, like the Dutch criteria for sustainable procurement, are updated if there is good reason to do so. Such reasons could, for instance, include new technological developments, changes in the market, or amendments to legislation and regulations.
New Sustainable Procurement standard
ISO 20400 provides both public and private organisations with practical tips for designing and implementing a Sustainable Public Procurement Process. This will all be based on the existing ISO 26000 guideline - the international guideline for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The new ISO 20400 guideline was presented on 18 May 2017.
By making use of existing standards and guidelines, such as ISO 9001 (quality management systems), ISO 14001 (environmental management systems) and ISO 26000, organisations can achieve a minimum level of quality and sustainability in the supply chain. They can also give substance to the organisation's CSR principles. As yet, however, there are no international guidelines giving practical tips on how to implement a sustainable procurement process. This comes to an end with the presentation of the ISI 20400.