Maastricht University expects from its suppliers that they actively pursue sustainability in their business. In each tender UM applies at minimum the requirements for Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) by PIANOo. The requirements relate to environmental and social aspects in contracts. By using award criteria, UM motivates bidders to go beyond the sectors’ standards and to give progressive companies more chance to win the tender. PIANOo has not defined requirements for all products and services. In these cases, UM develops suitable requirements and award criteria that relate to opportunities for improvement of the requested products and services.

Community involvement in procurement

Where necessary and meaningful, students and staff are involved in project groups to provide input on a tender. For the tender catering in 2020, Facility Services has set up an extensive process to collect the opinions of students and staff. Through a number of road shows, speed dates and a think tank, the UM community will be involved in shaping the vision for the new contract in 2018 and 2019.

Sustainable Public Procurement

In order to implement sustainability in tenders and contracts, UM has defined three key topics: reduction of greenhouse gasses (CO2 footprint), fostering circularity and promotion of health and wellbeing (also in the value chain).

Furthermore, UM assumes its social responsibility towards the region around Maastricht. Where appropriate, UM uses services from local, small and medium sized companies, but also in contracts with large companies, we pay attention to the region. For example, for catering services UM has chosen for a mix of small contracts and one large contract for restaurants and banqueting. In the large catering contract ‘locality’ is one of the main topics. UM has made arrangements with the main caterer Eurest for cooperation with local suppliers and gives local produce a prominent place in its assortment.

The purchasing department's principle for tenders is that sustainability should count for at least 10% in determining the best value for money. In the recent tender for waste collection, UM has given a weight of 42% to various sustainability aspects by asking the bidders to provide a project approach to waste reduction, improving waste separation, CO2 reduction and high quality recycling.

UM steers for tangible results by making agreements with suppliers on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and by monitoring them. For the effective implementation of sustainable procurement, follow-up is necessary in the contract phase. Suppliers must demonstrate that they meet the requirements and that offered commitments are fulfilled. To illustrate, UM has agreed with supplier Canon to reduce COemissions by 4% annually in provided printing services. In this context, Canon purchased an electric car in 2021 for transportation between UM locations. The car is charged with green electricity.

Reduction of CO2-emissions

Part of UM’s CO2 footprint consists of greenhouse gas emissions that arise in the value chain of purchased services and products. These indirect emissions are often difficult to quantify, but that does not make them any less important. UM expects suppliers and service providers to tackle their direct and indirect emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Tackling emissions starts with providing insight into the carbon footprint of services and products. For example, in the coming years, Eurest, the main caterer, will start reporting on the emissions of purchased food products and beverages. This will enable us to monitor the effects of the intended awareness campaigns to encourage a more plant-based diet among students and employees.

In this context, UM also supports the objective of the municipality of Maastricht to introduce Zero Emission City Logistics in the city centre. UM is asking its suppliers and service providers to anticipate the Zero Emission zone in 2025 by switching to zero-emission vehicles themselves or collaborating with logistics hubs. The zone not only contributes to the necessary transition to zero-emission transport, but also improves the air quality, accessibility and safety in Maastricht.

Circular economy

In its operations, UM wants to contribute to the transition towards a circular economy. Where appropriate, UM sets requirements to minimize (packaging) waste and enables the reuse and recycling of products. In tenders, bidders need to describe how they apply circularity in their products and services. This way, frontrunners in the market have a greater chance of winning the tender. In the coming years, UM will select a number of tenders to take the application of circular principles a step further, such as purchasing Product-as-a-Service.

Health and wellbeing

In tenders, UM not only takes into account the health and wellbeing of its own students and employees, but also expects service providers and suppliers to pursue an active policy in this area. This may also include promoting inclusiveness and diversity in their organisation and taking chain responsibility by applying international social conditions.

Attention to health and well-being is expressed, for example, in green management. A nature-inclusive campus promotes biodiversity in the city and contributes to the well-being of employees and students. In this context, UM has entrusted the maintenance of a 2-hectare piece of undeveloped terrain near the faculties in Randwyck to the Center for Nature and Environmental Education (CNME). The CNME develops temporary nature here and involves students in the realization with educational workshops. The area lies along the new walking route of UM Strolls, an initiative of FHML-students.

Involvement of students and staff

Where appropriate and useful, students and staff are involved in project groups to provide input on a procurement. This includes using the expertise of researchers and the capacity of UM students. For example, for the tender for catering, Facility Services set up an extensive process to collect the opinions of students and employees. Through a number of roadshows, speed dates and a think tank, the UM community was involved in the vision formation for new contracts.