Haarlem, A Champion to Holland’s Push for a Circular Economy
Haarlem is a mid-sized city in the province of Noor Holland that has a big reputation for being a robust supporter of The Netherlands‘ circular economy goals. Winner of the 2020 Procurement Initiative Award bestowed by the European Procura + organization, Haarlem is a frontrunner in embracing the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility in innovative and sustainable procurement processes.
The prestigious Procura+ Award is given by a group of European public authorities who provide support and advice to any public authority looking to practice and carry out sustainable and innovative procurement.
Haarlem was recognized for successfully integrating such processes by pioneering the “Social Return on Investment” (SROI) program. A special condition that suppliers or providers must render or perform as part of a procurement contract entered with the city. The method has been proven effective in the creation of employment opportunities for people who have poor chances of landing a job, particularly those with disabilities.
Haarlem’s Incorporation of the Social Return on Investment Program
Since 1995, the public authorities of Haarlem have incorporated Social Return on Investment in its procurement processes. Throughout the years that SROI was implemented, the city’s procurements have been reviewed and assessed as 100% sustainable. Even more notable is that the city authorities make sure that the requirements of all business stakeholders are met.
How Does the Dutch SROI Sustainable Procurement Work
Actually, there are several approaches by which Social Return on Investment can be carried out as part of a city or municipality’s sustainable public procurements.
The following are examples of special terms, such as:
- Performance-based condition
- Awards-based criteria
- Reserved contracts for sheltered companies, which are entities that employ persons with disabilities or people not covered by labor standards.
How Does SROI in Public Procurement Contracts Work
Take note that the above mentioned programs are only examples, as there are various types of SROI implementations in the different cities and municipalities of Holland.
In Haarlem, bidders to the city’s public procurement process must agree to contribute a corresponding amount equal to 5% of the contract value. The contribution will be used to support a sector of the labour market by offering internships or other economic activities to people who have poor chances of finding employment, including those with disabilities.
To cite an example, an out-of-school youth looking to get hired as a loodgieter Haarlem apprentice has lower chances of getting hired since plumbing companies prefer to hire those recommended for internships by plumbing schools. Here, the value of an SROI offer for a contract is carried out by way of increased labor participation, by agreeing to support and at the same time train, some of the aspiring out-of-school plumbing apprentices.
The value of the SROI is usually based on the scope of the work or services that a company must render in relation to a labor procurement contract. A 5% or lower SROI value, usually applies to procurement contracts with a low