An incentivising benchmark for Sustainable Procurement:
Criteria and constraints

With an annual procurement budget of around € 28.8 billion the various echelons of government [1] can give a substantial impulse to sustainable procurement of materials and products in the Netherlands. Within the government as well as society at large, a desire has been voiced for introducing a benchmark to promote more sustainable procurement patterns. Against this background CE collaborated with two NGOs – the association of Dutch agencies working on international development cooperation (COS Nederland) and Friends of the Earth-Netherlands (Milieudefensie) – on preparing an inventory of criteria and constraints for an incentivising benchmark. The project was government-funded.

There proved to be plenty of information available on benchmarking for government procurement, enabling CE, Milieudefensie and COS Nederland to set out a solid systematic basis for such a scheme, which could then be taken to municipal authorities to check against the wishes and priorities of potential users. Among the points raised were the need for clarity as to the relationship between policy, process and result indicators, the issue of information availability and the time required for working through the questionnaire.

This will enable the NGOs to refine their benchmark (see the Dutch-language website The benchmark currently under development at SenterNovem was not included in the study.
[1]Local, regional and national government, along with water boards.