Skip to website navigation Skip to article navigation Skip to content

Sustainable procurement

Every year, NS purchases goods and services for an average of 1.2 billion euros. In 2022, we had ties with over 3,000 suppliers in 24 countries. Of our total purchasing volume, we obtain 80% from 124 suppliers; the largest share of that volume (96%) originates from the Netherlands and other countries in Western Europe. At NS, purchased goods and services mainly include staff, financial and facility services, IT, construction, communication, energy, trains, spare parts and transport.

Socially responsible commissioning and purchasing (MVOI)

Since 2022, NS has had a new policy for socially responsible commissioning and purchasing. The purpose of this policy is to make our chain and our services more sustainable. Essentially, the policy is about making sure that more sustainable choices carry weight in actual decision-making. Their weight increases in proportion to their impact on NS's sustainability targets. We have included our CSCP requirements in the procurement governance rules and embedded them in our General Terms and Conditions of Purchase (

Corporate social commissioning and purchasing in tendering procedures

We recognise the importance of corporate social commissioning and purchasing in tendering procedures by including sustainability aspects in the selection and award criteria. Here are some successful examples from 2022:

  • In the procurement process for new trains, NS asks for sustainable solutions as standard, such as a heat pump for heating passenger spaces, smart LED lighting, and outside doors closing automatically after all passengers have got on or off the train. In connection with New Generation Double-Decker (DDNG) trains, specific attention is devoted to reducing the weight of the train so that less material is needed to build it and less energy is needed to operate it. Based on experiences in the modernisation of VIRM double-decker trains, we have now, for the first time, asked train suppliers for a ‘materials passport’ . This provides insight into the origin of the materials used and allows us to monitor the recyclability rates of train components at the end of their economic life. By demanding the materials passport and high recyclability rates, NS is among the front runners in the European railway sector.

  • The modernisation of the VIRM's on-board mains installation, which supplies power to all train components, results in energy savings of 0.4% (16.5 GWh) over the remaining life of the train series.

  • NS put out to tender the remanufacturing of public transport bicycles that are beyond repair. The resulting bicycles are at least 70% circular, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 65%. In addition, remanufacturing offers people distanced from the labour market ample opportunity to gain work experience and develop their skills.

  • The new supplier of business uniforms produces clothing made from 100% circular raw materials, including organic cotton. About 10% of the employees involved in the production process are people distanced from the labour market.

  • One of the award criteria in the tendering procedure for the transport of rolling stock, in 2021, was the availability of zero-emission services. The intention was to use hybrid locomotives with a battery at locations without overhead contact lines from 2022. As 2022 saw significantly fewer train journeys than expected, this project did not go ahead.

Supplier assessments and Code of Conduct

We subject our major suppliers to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assessment. In Railsponsible, a sector initiative, we agreed to use the Ecovadis standard for this purpose. The assessment covers the supplier's environmental impact, its labour and human rights record, its integrity and sustainable procurement. Since 2018, we have incrementally raised the minimum requirement for suppliers from a score of 35 to 50. We ask suppliers who fail to achieve this score to submit an improvement plan and apply for reassessment.

Through our Code of Conduct, moreover, we communicate to our suppliers the CSR standards and values that we apply to doing business with them. Again, if suppliers fail to comply with the Code we enter into a dialogue with them and ask for an improvement plan. In cases of serious violations, such as corruption, we will terminate the relationship. There have been no reported cases in 2022 of non-compliance or violation of the Code.

Add to My report
Print page