The Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands.

RWS is a frontrunner in mainstreaming sustainable and circular procurement. Its ambition is to plan and execute their work completely circularly by 2010. The goal is reach a fully circular operation by 2050.  


    • Bidders that can prove that their operations lead to significant CO2 reductions have an advantage in RWS’s tenders. The tool to prove this is the CO2 is the CO2 performance ladder, which RWS developed for this purpose.
    • RWS developed the first national SPP criteria tool, which procurers can use online for all product categories. It provides environmental and social criteria
    • RWS has their own innovation procurement and sustainable procurement policy that supports all procurement processes
    • Supporter of the Dutch Green Deal Circular Procurement
    • Winner of the Procura+ Awards 2016 tender procedure of the year.


        Cuno van Geet

        Senior Policy Advisor




        More information? Email procurement@iclei.org  

        IN ACTION


        RWS’s procurement policy and strategy is based on three pillars:

        • Sustainability
        • Efficient procurement processes
        • Optimal value for money

        RWS applies SPP criteria in all tender documents since 2010. In order to achieve these objectives, RWS uses functional specifications for infrastructure projects, together with tools to gauge bidders’ commitments to reducing carbon emissions within projects and to assess the life cycleenvironmental impacts of the materials they propose to use. These commitments and impacts are monetised within the award phase of the tender and quoted prices are adjusted accordingly. The methods aim to stimulate and utilise the market’s creative capacities more efficiently and allow contractors to work in a targeted way towards better quality, more innovative solutions.

        The CO2 performance ladders help bidders to commit to certain CO2 emission reduction level in their general operations. When the sustainability of the work or service contracted is an award criterion, bidders can use RWS’s DuboCalc method which allows to include price reductions for relative sustainability gains achieved through the implementation of the contract.

        There are other methods that RWS uses to implement SPP, such as sustainable construction logistics and “Social Return on Investment”.

        RWS’s full procurement vision and strategy can be found here.


        RWS is a frontrunner in circular procurement. To inspire other public authorities to take up circular procurement, it has established a learning network for zero emission and circular procurement, consisting of 10 learning groups, in which Dutch public authorities work together to foster circular public procurement. It is also a supporter of the Dutch Green Deal Circular Procurement


        It is RWS’s goal to assess bids by the total cost of construction and maintenance, using life cycle costing and total cost of ownership concepts. To calculate life cycle costs, RWS has developed the DuboCalc software, which allows to calculate the environmental effects of a material, building or method. The software calculates life cycle environmental impacts in 11 areas using a life cycle assessment (LCA) database, converting these impacts into an environmental cost indicator (ECI) value for the proposed design. The materials proposed by the successful bidder become contract requirements and the ECI value of the final product is checked upon completion of the work.





        RWS is in charge of many civil engineering works across the Netherlands. In this sector, RWS strives to achieve the best possible sustainability outcomes. In 2015, RWS published a Design, Build, Maintain and Finance (DBMF) contract to widen a 13 kilometre stretch of road between Almere Havendreef - Almere Buiten Oost (A6 motorway) and maintain this during a 20-year operation phase. Using the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)' procedure to select tenders on the basis of price and quality, the contract was awarded including the following sustainability aspects:

        • Smart construction transportation solutions which reduced theneed to transport materials byroad
        • Smart use of asphalt, which lowered the required quantity
        • Use of recycled materials, which reduced the need for primary raw materials


        RWS defined common specifications and common tender procedures for 'Spitsmijden' (mobility management) projects. These common specifications have been used in several different authorities in the Netherlands.



        CHARM Programme

        Improving traffic management through pre-commercial procurement (PCP)


        Circular PP

        Developing a framework for circular procurement in the countries belonging to the Baltic Sea Region.