Rijkswaterstaat has been using the CO2 Performance Ladder for some time in tenders in the civil engineering sector. For several years now, the award instrument has also been used for the hot drinks sector. And not without success: when Rijkswaterstaat asked, the market responded. Johan Moesman, senior procurement advisor at the Purchasing Implementation Centre (IUC) of Rijkswaterstaat Corporate Service (CD), explains how this process of guiding the market worked – and still works – in two consecutive tenders.
Johan: 'As the IUC of Rijkswaterstaat CD, we want to be the most sustainable procurement department and our aim is to procure sustainably in all areas. That starts with the purchase of services and goods that meet certain environmental criteria, such as furniture made from FSC wood, which is PFC-free and contains no toxic substances. For years, we have also been applying the international social conditions as laid down by PIANOo; we adhere to the social return rules of sustainable employability, whereby the objective is to allow people to return to the labour market.
But at a certain point - about three years ago now, when the Climate Accord was established in the Netherlands - we also decided that we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint. That is when we came across the CO2 Performance Ladder: after all, it is a means to that end.’
'When we decided we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint, we came acrossthe CO2 Performance Ladder. After all, it is a means to that end.’ - Johan Moesman (RWS)
Johan: 'Certainly. It starts with the coffee farmer: they may or may not grow coffee sustainably. Then the coffee beans have to travel a long way to reach the consumer, where the number of intermediaries and the method of transport have a major impact on CO2 emissions. The organisation around the coffee machines also involves a lot of transport moments: they have to be filled, cleaned and the waste removed. And all that for a large number of machines: for RWS there were 450, for the Ministry of Defence no fewer than 1400. The way you put out to tender shapes the whole chain, and in our case it was for eight years in both cases. So you can exert enormous influence on reducing CO2 emissions over a longer period of time.’
What effect did you see first from 'tendering with the Ladder'?
Johan: 'Two years ago in March 2019, we started with a tender for 1,400 hot drinks machines at Defence. We were still responsible for procuring catering at that time.
Because the market was not yet very advanced and we wanted to remain proportionate with the requirements, we granted award advantage to levels 1 to 3 of the CO2 Performance Ladder in the tender. Because bidders could earn extra points with it, we actually encouraged them to go for the highest ambition level, in this case level 3. And that's exactly what happened: all four tenderers indicated that they would achieve level 3 Ladder certification within a year.’ A great result, therefore, that made the department want more.
A year later, in March 2020, RWS took another step forward in driving the market.
Johan explains: 'Then we put out a tender for hot drinks at Rijkswaterstaat. There we went further with the requirements, because we wanted to keep the chain from coffee producer to consumer very short and pay the farmers a fair price. We calculated the price the farmers should get, and it was up to the bidders to indicate how they would secure this price while keeping the chain as short as possible. To take responsibility as a buyer, we gave a minimum purchase guarantee of at least 3 million consumptions per year and there were no optional years in the contract.’ Johan explains that this enabled the tendering parties to offer security to the farmers. ‘Normally the total number of consumptions is much more non-committal, which made sustainable cooperation difficult.’
Johan: 'Selecta won the tender. The party had found a coffee cooperative in three countries that would make the beans available specially for Rijkswaterstaat, along with a small importer and roaster. So the chain was very short at once. All unnecessary parties such as extra importers, intermediaries and brokers were dropped, with the result that the agreed price actually went to the farmers, who were then able to invest in sustainability. Direct impact, in other words.’
Johan: 'In addition to our demand for a short chain and a fair price for the farmers, we also rewarded bids up to level 5 of the CO2 Performance Ladder. Because it was an eight-year contract, we indicated that organisations could obtain the certificate for levels 1 to 3, 4 and 5 in 1, 2 and 3 years respectively. The result? All parties signed up with ambition level 5. So as a contracting authority, we have really had an influence.’
As a result, the winning party Selecta will be certified at the highest level within a few years. If that doesn't happen within the specified period, there will be a hefty fine. Johan explains that maintaining certification for the duration of the contract is required and guaranteed. This means that Rijkswaterstaat is the driving force behind eight years of structural CO2 reduction in Selecta's business operations and supply chain. The coffee supplier is now certified at level 3, as are Maas and Jacobs Douwe Egberts Nederland, two other large parties in the sector.
‘All parties signed up with ambition level 5 of the CO2 Performance Ladder. So as a contracting authority, we have really had an influence.’ - Johan Moesman (RWS)
Johan: 'In January 2020, IUC put a drinks vending machine tender out to tender for the Immigration and Naturalisation service (IND) and the Judicial Institutions Department, applying four Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as award criteria. These were SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and between countries and SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development. We did not prescribe how the tendering parties should fill in these goals, they had to do that themselves and communicate it to us. In order to fulfil SDG 13, Maas then stated that it would be certified for the CO2 Performance Ladder by mid-2020. During the course of the cooperation, which is eight years, Maas expects to have attained CO2 Performance Ladder level 5. This means that the climate aspects of cultivation and use will be included.’ Another example of the power of procurement.
Rijkswaterstaat Corporate Service
Ministry of Defence and Rijkswaterstaat respectively
Both eight years
Levels 3 and 5 respectively
Shorter chain (transport)