• Public procurement could have a considerable multiplier effect on the development of healthy and green cities. We want to promote this and use our cooperation with other cities to keep the momentum to make this approach a reality.
    Deputy Mayor Arno Bonte


Sustainable Procurement Targets
Latest Procurement Achievements

Sustainable Procurement in Rotterdam

One of the largest ports in the world and also the second-largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is a hub for transport and world trade. The city aspires to be a sustainability hotspot in terms of the energy transition, resilience, circularity and air quality. Within this framework, public procurement is explicitly recognized as an effective way to lead by example. 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.

With respect to its sustainability goals, Rotterdam works towards a green supply chain, for example by requiring environmental management systems (ISO14001), the CO2 performance Ladder and Envirometer to challenge suppliers, including SMEs to reduce their environmental impact.
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.
Rotterdam has established ambitious targets in a couple of procurement areas to reduce social and environmental impact and increase savings. These include transportation and mobility, construction and maintenance, facility services and energy use. We are seeking a target of 40% reduction in energy consumption in our own buildings by 2030 and nearly zero-energy buildings by 2050. To set a good example in terms of clean mobility, the city fleet will be gradually replaced by zero-emission vehicles. We aim to achieve that our entire fleet is zero emission by 2030, small cars even from 2023 and vans by 2025. In the BuyZET project, Rotterdam developed procurement strategies for zero-emission delivery of building maintenance services and construction materials. Zero-emission transportation will continue to be a priority for the next few years. By 2025 all our deliveries should be zero-emission.
When buying products and services, Rotterdam endorses the use of environmental product declarations (EPD’s) as the main sustainable procurement approach. Individual suppliers are required to calculate the external costs of their product through an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), which quantifies the overall environmental impact from cradle to grave, including its production, transportation and waste disposal. Since 2015 LCA’s including lifecycle carbon footprints have been successfully applied in framework agreements for construction projects and materials, such as pavement tiles, sewerage piping, light poles and street furniture, leading to significant environmental savings up and down the value chain. We look at how we can scale it towards other product categories following the possible adoption of European policies implementing the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methods.
Consistent with our life cycle approach in procurement we strive for responsible sourcing in terms of human rights and harvesting raw materials found in products we use. In many of the tenders, suppliers are required to report about responsible business practices throughout the product chain. We adopt Fairtrade requirements when purchasing coffee, ICT, clothing and natural dimension stones for pavement. In addition, all wooden products that have been used in our furniture, paper and shedding, are certified upholding international sustainability benchmarks, such as FSC and PEFC.
Among the city achievements the latest organization’s purchase of electricity likely contributes to the construction of new clean energy facilities as in the long-term contract, it was required to deliver 100% renewable energy from new wind and solar plants by 2030. Surprisingly, our suppliers have guaranteed to deliver 100% from new RES capacity already from 2022, half of it will be generated in Rotterdam. As the city looks to grow renewable energy investments in Rotterdam, this tender is an excellent example of the efficacy that can result from an ambitious sustainable procurement policy.





2nd largest city in the Netherlands
>630k Inhabitants
325km² Area
3043/km² Density
>1.3 billion € Annual Spend
Joined 2015


Sustainable Procurement Profile (2016)


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Rotterdam in the Spotlight

GLCN cities amongst Big Buyers - key insights on successful collaboration for sustainable procurement
GLCN cities amongst Big Buyers - key insights on successful collaboration for sustainable procurement
How Rotterdam and Buenos Aires use procurement to contribute to the global clean energy transition
How Rotterdam and Buenos Aires use procurement to contribute to the global clean energy transition
Reflecting on COP25: local governments must be engaged in national and international climate action
Reflecting on COP25: local governments must be engaged in national and international climate action
Awards & Memberships

Procura+ Award Winner 2018




ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Mr. Philipp Tepper

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg

Telephone: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0


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