Sustainable purchasing

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO

When making purchasing decisions, you look at the price, quality, and delivery time of a product. With sustainable purchasing, you also pay attention to the consequences for people and the environment. Especially if you are dealing with foreign suppliers. Avoid risks that could harm your product or business.

Consider which sustainability topics are important to you

Sustainable purchasing, or socially responsible investing (SRI), is different for every company. Consider which sustainability themes are most important for your company. That determines what requirements you set for your supplier’s products or services.

Know your production chain

Customers, governments, and social organisations expect companies to do business with respect for people and the environment. Internationally, this is laid down in the OECD guidelines for corporate social responsibility (CSR). You are responsible for the entire chain of your product or service. The government requires you to identify, prevent and mitigate CSR risks in your supply chain. This is called due diligence or CSR risk management. Find out which steps to take with the CSR Risk Check.

Avoid purchasing risks

If you buy products abroad, it is important to know the origin. Production may take place in a different country than your supplier’s country. And under different circumstances than in the Netherlands. For example, poor working conditions (in Dutch), corruption, or discrimination. Avoid risks that could harm your product or business. Read how you do business abroad responsibly (in Dutch).

Be aware of corruption abroad

If you do business abroad, you may encounter bribery or corruption (in Dutch). The OECD guideline on corruption is not voluntary. Corruption is punishable under Dutch law. Even if the corrupt acts take place abroad. Read what you can do to avoid difficult situations in the brochure 'Doing business honestly, without corruption'. For example, by using international model contracts.

Government and socially responsible procurement

The Dutch government engages in socially responsible procurement (maatschappelijk verantwoord inkopen, MVI, in Dutch) setting a good example. Other authorities such as municipalities, provinces, and water authorities are also working on MVI. If you do business in a socially responsible manner, you have a greater chance of winning a government contract. Read more about working for the government through a tender.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO