Government-wide procurement: sustainable, innovative and with social impact
Sustainable, innovative and with social impact That is the underlying principle of the strategic government-wide procurement strategy (‘Procurement with Impact’) presented to the House of Representatives by Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren and State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven.
‘Every year central government buys goods and services worth over €10 billion. So we can make a big difference through procurement,’ says Ms Ollongren. ‘With this strategy, the government is really boosting the development of a sustainable, innovative economy. And, at the same time, it is also a way of helping people with poor job prospects find a job.’
This procurement strategy marks a shift within central government. In recent years, a lot of time and energy has gone into making procurement more efficient and regular. These principles remain important, but the new strategy goes even further. Government procurement must lead to high-quality products and services as well as helping to further social goals. It could include initiatives like turning worn-out uniforms into new products and creating employment for people with poor job prospects in the process. Or installing solar panels on the roofs of prisons, for instance.
The innovative strength of the Dutch economy is a source of smart, sustainable solutions. And we will be using them to combat climate change and create a more inclusive society. Government procurement and cooperation with suppliers are powerful tools in this regard. One example is the improvement works currently being carried out on the Afsluitdijk Barrier Dam. Here, Rijkswaterstaat and construction companies are using locally generated electricity, harnessed from tidal energy, wind turbines and from the energy difference between freshwater and saltwater.
‘If we want to protect the climate and ensure future generations are able to thrive, we need to be more careful about how we use raw materials,’ says Ms Van Veldhoven. 'That means using less and re-using more. I believe that the government must lead the way in this regard and also use its purchasing power to further this goal. That way, we’ll be doing good business for both people and planet. We can see that sustainable procurement works in practice. And it really makes a difference if the government gets on board too.’