Sustainable procurement

In a sustainable procurement, you not only consider the benefits arising for your own organisation, but look at society as a whole. At the same time, you minimise environmental damage and safeguard certain social aspects such as equitable working conditions. It benefits the economy as well as society, if we include sustainability requirements in a public procurement.

Procurement is an important instrument in achieving public policy goals. Sustainable public procurement enables you to ensure good business practice across the entire lifecycle of the product. You also contribute to sustainable development and to achieving the national environmental quality goals.

Sustainable procurement not only comprises the impact on the environmental, but refers to the broader definition of sustainability, which includes the social and economic dimension. At the same time, sustainable procurement can also comprise aspects within health and politics.

A contracting authority is free to define and decide what to procure and which added values to reward, as long as the basic public procurement principles are followed. The National Public Procurement Agency assesses that it is possible to set requirements that go beyond the EU legislation.

Support for sustainable procurement

We provide support to help contracting authorities procure goods and services that are more sustainable from an environmental, social and economic perspective.

Besides general support regarding sustainability, our website also provides tools and templates, including:

About sustainability criteria

The National Public Procurement Agency’s sustainability criteria that are specifically customised for public procurement.

This means that the requirements are harmonised with:

  • public procurement legislation
  • applicable case law
  • the practical circumstances applicable to public procurement.

Relevant stakeholders from the private, public and non-profit sectors have participated in the process of drawing up the criteria.

Sustainability criteria in our criteria service

Sustainable procurement can contribute to several societal goals. A selection of the effects that procurement can have are listed below.

Environmentally sustainable public procurement

Through procurement, the public sector plays an important role in the transition to a society free of fossil fuel. You also have an opportunity to create an environment free from hazardous substances by choosing products that do not contain chemicals that are harmful to our health and the environment.

Socially sustainable public procurement

By taking social considerations into account in connection with procurements, contracting authorities can contribute to the responsible use of tax revenue. It may involve ensuring equitable working conditions for people who carry out public contracts, offering people far from the labour market an opportunity for employment, or working to ensure that everybody, irrespective of ability, can participate in society.

Economically sustainable public procurement

Economically sustainable public procurement involves the efficient use of tax revenue, and helps to stimulate a well-functioning business community, a range of suppliers, healthy competition, as well as economic growth that is not generated at the expense of people or the environment.