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Socially responsible procurement

As a socially responsible organization, the University of Groningen is committed to promoting sustainability in all aspects of its activities. Socially responsible procurement is one of those aspects. The following principles are applied in the selection and contract-award criteria for all purchase procedures.


  • Before each tendering procedure is initiated, the project/purchasing team carries out a product and market analysis to find out whether any sustainable solutions are available on the market. The policy is to aim for the highest possible standard of sustainability for all procurement packages. Based on the criteria Budget, Quality, Competition, Feasibility and Added Value, the decision is taken as to whether the highest possible standard can actually be implemented.
  • If this proves not to be the case, it is permissible to apply only the sustainability criteria formulated by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. In such cases, reasons must be given, in terms of the criteria specified above, for not undertaking additional steps.
  • As well as carrying out the specific market analyses in the orientation phase, staff members involved in purchasing must also keep abreast of opportunities for sustainable procurement on a general level.
  • Sustainability aspects are taken into consideration in all phases of a purchase process (specifications, selection, contracting).
  • The Contract Management team of the University Services Department and/or the contract owner monitor the sustainable solutions that are tendered.

Social return

  • In the product and market analysis (internal as well as external) that is carried out before each tendering procedure, the project team assesses the extent to which available solutions provide 'social return'. In this context, the policy is to meet the following criteria as far as possible:
  • Doing the right thing for people involved in a social return process
  • Quality assurance for services
  • Innovative solution
  • If the highest standard is not possible, the next most workable solution is looked at, and assessed in terms of its ability to deliver the desired standard. Reasons must be given, on the basis of the criteria specified above, as to why the solution is regarded as unworkable
  • As well as carrying out the specific market analyses in the orientation phase, staff members involved in purchasing also keep abreast of developments in the market with regard to social return.
  • If possible, contractors in all sectors are asked to indicate in their tenders how many placements they can provide for University of Groningen students.
  • On the basis of the contractor's information, progress in terms of social return is evaluated between Contract Management (part of the University Services Department) and the contractor.

SMEs/regional businesses

  • In the product and market analysis that is carried out before each tendering procedure, the project/purchasing team assesses how SMEs and businesses in the region can be given as realistic an opportunity as possible to compete for contracts. If possible, the solution is implemented.
  • If such an opportunity cannot be offered, the reasons must be given.
  • Selection criteria must be drawn up in accordance with the Proportionality Guide.
  • In the case of a multiple restricted tender, at least one company in the region must be invited to submit a tender, unless there are no regional candidates.
  • In a single-tender procedure, the company that is invited to submit a tender must be based in the region, unless there is no regional candidate.

Electronics Watch

In april 2017 UG signed a contract with Electronics Watch, committing itself to buying sustainably.

Contractor compliance plan from Electronics Watch

Last modified:12 September 2019 3.43 p.m.
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