In 2021, the Dutch government developed a new National Plan for Socially Responsible Procurement (SRP) titled “Ordering with ambition, purchasing with impact”. The goal of this National Plan is to stimulate all Dutch government authorities to use procurement as a means to drive change in terms of CO2-emissions, environmental impact, resource use, inclusive labor markets and responsible international supply chains. With a purchasing power of over 85 billion euros per year, public procurement has the potential to act as a lever for these major social and environmental sustainability transitions we are facing today.
While the Dutch government has implemented various sustainable procurement policies over the years and there are many examples of good practices, there are also still several barriers which prevent SRP from becoming the norm and effectively contributing to major sustainability transitions.
The NewForesight Approach
PIANOo, the Dutch Public Procurement Expertise Centre, has requested NewForesight to provide insight into the role of public procurement in sustainability transitions. To this end, NewForesight evaluated to what extent public procurement has been a successful driver in sustainability transitions in recent years, and identified the main barriers to implement SRP with a strategic focus on impact creation. Subsequently, NewForesight provided recommendations and support on the actions needed to accelerate the strategic use of SRP in sustainability transitions. As part of the approach, NewForesight involved a wide range of stakeholders and experts working for government authorities and academic institutions.
NewForesight established a clear link between purchasing models and roles and the TransMission theory, and presented an analysis of how deploying SRP for stimulating market transformation works in practice. Going beyond an analysis report, NewForesight created a movement to promote the implementation of SRP for steering and accelerating transitions. NewForesight drafted valuable recommendations for an initiative undertaking several activities to promote SRP, with a focus on which concrete opportunities exist for PIANOo.