Sustainable procurement

CE Delft helps governments and businesses purchase in a sustainable manner, an approach that is also referred to as Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP). Our long-standing experience and excellent track record in the field of sustainability give us the perspective required for focusing sustainable procurement on the product groups where the greatest benefits can be attained. Sustainable procurement is a powerful instrument for limiting CO2 emissions, building a Circular Economy and ensuring socially responsible conduct. 

Sustainable public procurement policy is one of the most direct instruments available for reducing an organisation’s own environmental impact. At the same time, SPP helps to stimulate innovation and sustainable development among market parties.

What can CE Delft do for you?

Practical implementation of good Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is no easy task. CE Delft uses its knowledge of sustainable energy, transport and raw materials to support both buyers and suppliers. We are aware of the latest innovations and know what sustainability opportunities the market has to offer. We use this knowledge to focus on what really matters. And we prioritise based on expert knowledge and research. For example, we identified the product groups that would have the greatest impact for UMC Utrecht and for the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security by performing a quick scan.

Buyers (mainly public authorities): 
In tender processes, we help buyers build sustainability into tender specifications and to evaluate bids on that basis. We know which sustainability goals are important for each specific product group. CE Delft is involved in developing the Sustainable Public Procurement criteria for the Dutch government, which can be referenced on the website of PIANOo. We also assessed the Sustainable Public Procurement action plans and compiled the most important lessons learned, success stories and tips.

Suppliers (mainly commercial businesses): 
CE Delft helps market parties to maximise sustainability in the bids that they submit for tenders. We help quantify impact and contribute ideas and expertise with regard to sustainability options. The ‘Manual for sustainable procurement of PVC piping’ project identifies how the environmental impact of PVC piping can be calculated and taken into account when procuring PVC pipes for gravity sewer systems. The manual contains a concrete step-by-step plan that allows buyers to take environmental effects into account in a tender process.

As part of the Green Deal approach, Rijkswaterstaat and CSR Netherlands’ sector network for the concrete industry (MVO Netwerk Beton) asked CE Delft to set up a study in order to analyse the environmental impact of concrete use in the Dutch construction industry.


Various tendering parties use the CETenderTool in their tenders. This Excel-based tool quantifies the environmental impact of the bidders to allow simple and objective comparison. The CETenderTool is based on the LCA method, which stands for life cycle analysis. This approach quantifies the environmental impact from the raw material extraction stage up to the end-of-life phase.

Each procurement procedure is unique. So each CETenderTool is customised to suit the specific tender. The first step is to clearly define the product that is to be compared and the life phases that are to be included. Next, the inputs and outputs for each life phase are identified. Finally, the tool uses this information to quantify the environmental impact in meaningful terms; e.g. the CO2 footprint.

CE Delft has developed a CETenderTool for the reactivation of activated carbon on behalf of drinking water utilities Evides and Oasen. They want to be able to quantify improvements in the CO2 footprint during the tender process with the aim of encouraging companies to reduce the CO2 footprint of activated carbon. A further example is the CETenderTool for Alliander, which quantifies the CO2 footprint and level of raw materials depletion associated with electricity cables.


Ministries: Home Affairs (Binnenlandse Zaken/BZK), Economic Affairs and Climate (Economische Zaken en Klimaat/EZK), Infrastructure and Water Management (Infrastructuur en Waterstaat /IenW), Justice and Security (Justitie en Veiligheid/JenV)

Other public authorities: Municipality of The Hague, Municipality of Bloemendaal, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Rijkswaterstaat (RWS)

Companies and organisations: Alliander, Attero, Dyka, Evides waterbedrijf, Universitair Medisch Centrum (UMC) Utrecht


Implementing sustainable procurement, lessons learned from evaluation of action plans
Lonneke de Graaff en Katja Kruit, 21 January 2019 EU Partnership Urban Agenda/Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement

Reducing the environmental impact of public procurement for healthcare
Lonneke de Graaff en Anne Marie van den Berg (UMC), CleanMed 11 October 2018, Nijmegen 

Your contact

For more information, please contact Lonneke de Graaff.