In 2005 the Koopmans/De Krom motion was adopted by the House of Representatives. This motion proposed that the government include sustainability as an important criterion in 100% of its procurement and investment by 2010. The Balkenende IV cabinet accepted this motion. Sustainability is now an official objective of the cabinet and sustainable procurement is an important tool for achieving this, both for the national government and governmental institutions. In this context, Minister Cramer of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment has negotiated agreements with provinces, municipalities and water boards. The minister concluded an agreement with provinces and water boards that by 2010, 50% of all procurement would be sustainable. For municipalities, this percentage was 75% in 2010 and 100% in 2015.
On the Pianoo.nl website, sustainable procurement is defined as: ‘the application of environmental and social criteria in all phases of the procurement process, ultimately resulting in the delivery of sustainable products, services and works’. On the Pianoo.nl website there is a list of product categories for which sustainability criteria have been drawn up. Procurement is sustainable if it meets the criteria in this list. The list is not yet comprehensive and is still in development. For a number of product categories the list of criteria is still incomplete, while for other categories no criteria have been drawn up as yet.
A significant increase in costs is an important possible argument against sustainable procurement. Senter Novem strives to exclude criteria that result in significant cost increases. When evaluating the cost component, Senter Novem looks at the Total Cost of Ownership. For some products this may mean that a higher price is offset by lower operation and maintenance costs.
Involvement of universities in sustainable procurement
On 31 March 2009, on behalf of Radboud University, Vice President Dr A.A.J.M. Franken signed the declaration for sustainable procurement. For the university this meant that half of RU’s purchases must be sustainable by 2012. The Purchasing Department is supported in this process by the experts at the Department of Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Service (AMD).