The federal Circular of 16 May 2014 is the strategic and operational framework for the sustainability of federal public procurement. In this Circular, the federal government includes different sustainable policy objectives, for example the inclusion of at least eight considerations relevant to reducing the environmental impact of goods, services and works in the context of public procurement. The Circular also addresses the social dimension of sustainability by offering model contract clauses, measures to support SMEs and to integrate persons that are not easily integrated into the labour market. Objectives include the participation in public social economy enterprises, training or socio-professional integration of low-skilled job-seekers, students, interns or trainees, people with physical and/or mental disabilities or people suffering from discrimination.

The Circular of 28 November 2013 promotes creating a sustainable procurement policy for Walloon regional contracting authorities.

The Circular of 30 March 2017 on social dumping in public procurement encourages regional public authorities to integrate social, ethical and environmental concerns into their activities, particularly in the procurement procedures of public works.

The Circular of 21 July 2016 regulates social clauses for public procurement of public works. The social policy objectives may include socio-professional aims. The contracting authority may target the training or employment of job seekers, students, interns or trainees and/or the integration of people with disabilities. Contracting authorities may also seek to improve ergonomics and safety at work, combating poverty and job insecurity, promoting equal opportunities.

The Government of the Flemish Community adopted a circular on the acquisition of service vehicles (Circular letter KB/BZ/2017/4). This circular includes, among others, a strategic objective on sustainability, a minimum “ecoscore” per vehicle class and a ban on diesel vehicles for some classes. They also approved the CO2 performance ladder project and a Green Deal Circular Purchases.

The Flemish Government adopted a Protocol jointly with the Social Intelligence and Investigation Service (Sociale Inlichtingen-en Opsporringsdients, SIOD) to promote governmental co-operation and fight against social fraud.

  • The action plan for enterprise and human rights is the general strategic framework for all regions and federal Belgium that also targets public procurement.

  • Federal level: The national sustainable development strategy, adopted in 2017, is the subject of work at the Belgian federal level, which includes the federal administration as well as the administrations of the various federated entities.

  • Regions: Wallonia (SPW): The action plan on responsible Public Procurement, includes specific actions that target labour rights, people with disabilities and unemployed aspects. To achieve these objectives, the action plan pays special attention to public procurement procedures that: avoid social dumping, that are SME-friendly, foster professional integration, contribute to the fight against climate change and contribute to efficient resource management.

  • Communities: The Flemish Public Procurement Plan pursues a strategic and co-ordinated policy for public contracts within the Flemish government and by extension for Flanders. The starting point is the effective and efficient use of public procurement to contribute to the achievement of policy objectives of the Flemish government.

  • Various Belgian authorities have developed co-operation instruments to support sustainable procurement services. The authorities keep each other informed of their activities and working on arrangements through the Technical Working Group on Sustainable Public Procurement of the Inter-ministerial Conference on Sustainable Development (CIMDD).

  • To raise awareness and keep relevant stakeholders informed and involved, the Belgian federal government has added information on eco-labels, environmental management systems and standards to their website. The website also refers to the GPP Training Toolkit website for the relevant product groups, and supplements it with information for stakeholders and good examples from Belgium.

  • On 10 May 2019, the Flemish Government approved the TruStone Initiative for better working conditions in the production of natural stone. As part of this initiative, the Flemish Government will include specific clauses in its mission documents towards achieving this goal. Efforts are also being made to disseminate the initiative to local authorities. More information can be found in the Flemish Government website dedicated to any actions taken in relation to natural stone.

  • To monitor the compliance with RBC objectives, the university Radboud Universiteit (Nijmegen) on behalf of the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (Institut Fédéral pour le Développement Durable, IFDD) carried out a big data study from 2011 – 2016, analysing 144 749 opinions of the Belgian market and 28 452 files (specifications, technical specifications, etc.), measurements, plans, etc.). These documents have been placed online by several authorities (via e-notification).

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