Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement is good for the environment and good for our wallet. We therefore examine products and services to be purchased by us on their CO2 emissions, service life and potential for circularity.

We select suppliers on their sustainability criteria and they are requested to sign a sustainability statement. In doing so, we not only pay attention to the supplier’s sustainability policy, but also to the environmental and social aspects involved in the development of the products and services.

The procurement department and the procurement process

De Volksbank uses a centrally adopted procurement policy as a basis to interact with some 6,000 active suppliers.

We provide equal opportunities for suppliers. We select the supplier that best suits our needs and requirements, and, seen in that perspective, at the lowest cost. All purchase agreements are based on de Volksbank’s general purchasing conditions. Moreover, we expect our suppliers to sign our sustainability statement, containing our conditions related to Corporate Responsibility. The declaration is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines, the UN Global Compact and the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Besides endorsing these international guidelines, we ask suppliers to meet the following four basic conditions:

  1. Corporate attitude: Corporate Responsibility and, hence,
    sustainable procurement, requires pioneering spirit and the will to
    achieve continuous changes, resulting in improvements for and in
  2. Transparency: the supplier must be able to account for choices made
    with respect to policies, structures and collaboration agreements. The
    supplier must also be transparent and clear about the use of products,
    services and conditions thereof;
  3. Interchain responsibilities: the supplier takes responsibility for
    sustainability within and outside its own product chain and will
    propagate this;
  4. Innovation: the supplier links (the development of) its products and services to Corporate Responsibility.

The aim of collaboration is the continuous improvement of products from a Corporate Responsibility perspective.

Supplier dialogue

We regularly engage in dialogue with our key suppliers at which time we discuss the status and progress of the relationship. These meetings typically take place once to four times a year. For these suppliers we establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA), in which we describe what requirements the services provided must comply with. The SLA also contains sustainability aspects, such as ISO 14001 certification.

In meetings with the supplier, we discuss the progress on the SLA and the progress in the area of sustainability. If the performance proves to be insufficient, opportunities for improvement are discussed and an improvement programme will be implemented. If the results do not meet the predetermined requirements, and if any recent changes on the part of the supplier do not correct this, de Volksbank will, in consultation with the supplier, decide in what way and how soon they will implement corrections or terminate the collaboration.