Procurement and purchasing



The University of Twente takes sustainability into account when purchasing products and services. As UT, we not only want to achieve direct environmental gains but also set a good example to others. Furthermore, we want to influence the market by increasing demand for less environmentally damaging products and services and encouraging the development of environmentally friendly products.

Procurement and purchasing at a glance
  • UT includes sustainability aspects in all its contracts and tenders
  • UT focuses on purchasing circular, recyclable and modular products
  • UT is constantly increasing its procurement criteria with regard to (social) sustainability


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Bert Kloppers: thinking in possibilities

Bert is the point of contact and booster of the topic of sustainability within the procurement department. "What I try to convey to my colleagues is: look where the opportunities are, and take each other along in this way of thinking."

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Sustainability in cleaning tender

In the tender for the cleaning contract of the UT from 2022 onward, our sustainability ambitions played a major role. Conditions included reduction of CO2 emissions, working as plastic-free as possible, using cleaning and maintenance products made of 100% natural raw materials and/or 100% biological micro-organisms, and reducing water consumption as much as possible. The contract was awarded to Asito.


Purchasing department

Although many UT departments buy their own products, the Purchasing Department plays a major role in setting the terms and the selection of partners. They are therefore very important in achieving UT’s sustainability goals. Social sustainability is also a high priority in this respect. Under the motto "We help you buy (socially) sustainable!", the department has drawn up a strategy.

Knowledge and advisory skills

You need to have the right knowledge to be able to advise well and to set up new projects. That is why the procurement department works on knowledge about sustainability in various ways. For example, via a training course on sustainable procurement together with colleagues from the SEE programme and a training course from the UT's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team on social sustainability. The different teams within the Purchasing Department are now deploying the knowledge for different projects and objectives, in line with their own responsibilities.

  • Projects procurement department
    • Procurement criteria in the field of (social) sustainability are becoming increasingly stringent. Much attention is paid to SROI (Social Return on Investment) during tenders. The aim is to adhere to the Uniform Social Return Covenant (in Dutch).
    • We are holding talks with various webshop suppliers to discuss how we can support our internal customer in making sustainable choices during the ordering process. This could include, for instance, offering more sustainable alternatives that come up during the ordering process or a separate page containing all sustainable items the supplier has available in its range.
    • We make agreements with our contracted suppliers about when deliveries take place, in order to minimise transport movements. In addition, UT purchases as much as possible in its own region to support regional businesses and keep transport movements as short as possible.
    • The Purchasing Department works continuously to improve the available data on the carbon footprint of our suppliers, which is used in UT's carbon footprint report.
    • Contract management is increasingly steering for the inclusion of and compliance with sustainability aspects in contracts and tender preparations. We are looking at possible further requirements in reporting in consultation with the SEE programme and steer towards reducing packaging materials and supplier transport movements.
    • In collaboration with UT’s sustainable labs coordinator and the end-user, we are exploring what is possible in greening purchases of chemicals of high concern.
    • The contract managers are exploring how they can have more joint contract management policies despite the diversity of working areas they are in. They are also working on joint sustainability training.
    • Together with the Logistics Department and the SEE programme, we are working on a project to reduce the amount of advertising leaflets delivered to UT by post to 0.
What can you do?
  • Discuss possibilities to take environmental requirements into account when purchasing products
  • When purchasing products, pay attention to the energy consumption or energy label of the product in question
  • Prioritize companies with sustainable business processes