**Winner of Procura+ Award for Innovation Procurement of the Year 2018**

**Nominated for the Dutch Sustainable Procurement Award KoopWijsPrijs of the year 2021**

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and the second largest port in the world. The Rotterdam Sustainability Programme sets the ambition to become a clean, green and healthy city. The action plan encourages sustainable procurement practices to assist the transition to a more resource-efficient city and to shift markets onto a sustainable path SPP highlights. 


  • 100% sustainable purchases in 2015.
  • Zero-emission standards for transportation and non-road mobile machines used in construction tenders.
  • Energy performance contracting leading to 30% energy savings in public swimming pools.
  • 400 electric vehicles. In 2021 the city purchased a new electric waste collection truck offsetting 31 tons of CO2.
  • Since 2012 the city promotes fair-trade and buys 100% fairtrade coffee.
  • All wood products originate from responsibly managed forests.
  • Achieved 50% reduction of environmental impact through life cycle performance criteria for concrete paving materials.
  • 100% of PVC sewage pipes are being recycled at the end of life.
  • CSR activities of our workwear supplier are continuously monitored and evaluated according to ISO26000 standards.


    • 100% sustainable purchases.
    • By 2025 100% zero emission urban delivery of goods and services.
    • By 2030 our entire fleet zero emission, small cars by 2023, vans by 2025. 
    • All framework agreements for construction materials are awarded based on environmental life cycle costs assessments.
    • By 2030, 40% reduction in energy consumption in municipal buildings, nearly zero-energy buildings by 2050. 
    • All forest products for construction, office supplies and furniture originate from forests and supply chains that are managed responsibly.
    • By 2030, 50% reduction of primary resource consumption in procurement.
    • By 2030, 75% reduction of adverse health impacts through non-road-mobile-machinery in construction through zero emission criteria. 
    • Every tender worth over €50 000 must allocate between 5% and 50% of the contract value to providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people.  
    • 100% implementation of national minimum environmental standards.
    • Installation of rooftop solar panels on 7 public buildings and 70 schools.
    • Fleet expansion/replacement with 25% cleaner vehicles in 2018, all-electric when possible.
    • The municipality  is preparing for being certified according to the CO2 performance ladder in 2022.






      Date joined


      Léon Dijk

      Advisor Sustainable Development and Procurement


      WEBSITE (Dutch)


      More information? Email  



      The City of Rotterdam is strongly committed to focus on sustainable solutions in its procurement to reduce the environmental impact, as well as to achieve other societal and economic benefits. Therefore, Rotterdam City Council has a major program of work dedicated to strengthening the use of sustainability standards in tenders and green deals with the business sector. Requiring contractors to deliver sustainability requirements brings long-term good to the community. Over the last decade the city has been very active in pursuing best value for money covering a wide range of social benefits by creating skills and training opportunities for the long-term unemployed, supporting SMEs and social enterprises, promoting fair and ethical trade, driving innovation and protecting the environment. Rotterdam has been using social clauses in procurement since 2005 and has formalised this through its social return policy. In line with the EU’s Active Inclusion Strategy, Rotterdam’s social return policy is designed to ensure opportunities for full participation in society through inclusive labour markets.

      In 2018 the city launched a Socially Responsible Procurement Action Plan designed to support the integration of social objectives within the procurement process starting with the definition of ambitions followed by contract creation, execution and analysis to maximize performance. 

      According the Dutch central government’s policy and action plan on SPP, municipalities should comply with a 100% sustainable procurement. This implies a dedicated implementation of minimum sustainability requirements in all certain procurement categories. These criteria are accessible through the PIANOo portal on SSP, the national association for public procurers. 


      Rotterdam has an annual procurement budget of around €1,3 billion. It uses a centralised procurement system in most of its operating areas. There are two specialised procurement teams that assist budget holders to find the best goods and services in the fields of facility management (office supplies, social services etc.) and construction (materials, vehicles, etc.) The procurement of works is done by the engineering department.


      Rotterdam’s principal is that leading by example starts with the budget holder, procurement official and sustainability specialist. All parties should take a deliberate approach to implementing green criteria by insisting on transparency and using acquisition methods that transcend the parochial lowest bid method. The Rotterdam approach for modelling SPP processes highlights responsibilities assigned to actors and organisational structures, shown in the figure.


      Rotterdam is engaged in progressively implementing concepts of Life Cycle Analysis and Total Cost of Ownership and value engineering. Tenderers may be challenged to make a distinctive bid with a high sustainability content, including aspects like social return on investment and maximum emission levels.


      The city requires ISO14001 certification or an equivalent like the Envirometer developed by the Stimular Foundation. This foundation was set up in 1990 by the business community and government agencies in the Rotterdam region. Now Stimular is successfully encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and similar organisations to adopt sustainable management practices in a growing number of regions in the Netherlands. The municipality is preparing for being certified according to the CO2 Performance Ladder in 2022.


      The City of Rotterdam, together with other government agencies, companies and municipalities in the Netherlands, signed the "Green Deal Circular Purchasing" agreement on 15 November 2013, in order to ensure that the purchased products and materials are reused optimally, preventing waste of materials and energy. According to calculations of a Dutch market research agency, the circular concept would save the Dutch economy 7 billion per year.


      Social aspects are applied in every stage of the procurement process. An important aspect of the procurement policy on social return on investment is workforce participation of long term job queues. The requirement for the tendering contractor to spend 5% of the contract sum for local workforce participation applies to all contracts of more than €15,000.

      Social Responsibility Purchasing Action Plan
      This action plan describes the way in which the Municipality of Rotterdam puts into action the agreements from the Socially Responsible Procurement
      Manifesto. The starting point is the effective and efficient use of the purchasing function for social policy objectives, such as employment and a clean environment.


      Rotterdam keeps track of performances through a green spend analysis, which monitors the implementation of SPP criteria. Contracted suppliers are monitored by contract managers on how they perform in reality during the contract period. In some cases they do supplier audits, on aspects such as the mining of natural stone (child labour practices), wood (certification) and concrete pavement production (LCA validation). Rotterdam also works with NGO’s like SOMO (ICT procurement) and Max Havelaar (coffee).



      The Municipality of Rotterdam identified the need to make cost, resource and energy savings in its €2 billion worth of real estate. It also has high CO₂ reduction targets.


      An Energy Performance Contract (EPC) was awarded for a public swimming pool using the competitive dialogue procedure. The inclusion of maintenance responsibility and energy saving bonuses within this contract means that the contractor has a clear incentive for ensuring newly installed equipment is performing correctly and achieving energy savings.


      Since 2007, the city has implemented minimum emission norms in all of its contracts for construction projects that involves the use of heavy duty vehicles and building equipment.


      Rotterdam has successfully intermediated between suppliers of concrete bricks and recycling firms in order to increase the use of granulates. Awards criteria were developed that improved separate collection and waste handling of demolished bricks and other concrete elements. For PVC and asphalt, the city’s policy is to purchase secondary materials.


      25% of the total vehicle fleet will be electric vehicles (EV’s) by 2018. The procurement department will collect the experiences from pilots to develop sustainability criteria and innovation procurement strategies to challenge the supply chain of clean transportation in the city. The so-called 'Green Deal 010 Zero Emission City Logistics' (ZES) sets the target to have an emission-free freight transport in the inner city by 2025, by means of electric, hybrid or bio-gas vehicles.