Tender with sustainability criteria for the State Office canteen



In 2018, representatives of the Environmental State Office of North Rhine-Westphalia created a new tender for the canteens for their employees in a participative process. The result is a tender that includes a suitable list of sustainability criteria. For two canteens of the agency, the tender was the basis for procuring new catering services.

Author / Member

Member name: State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection North Rhine-Westphalia (Landesamt für Natur, Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz (LANUV) NRW)
Type of actor: Policy and administration
Maa: Saksa

Best practice details


Original Situation

As part of a larger project to make public administration more sustainable, the Environmental State Office of North Rhine-Westphalia also planned to have more sustainable public catering services for its employees. Before the project, there was no holistic approach towards a sustainable implementation of the canteens. In order to change this, suitable sustainable criteria had to be included into the tender for the procurement of the catering service – guaranteeing for their implementation.


The development of the tender took about 14 month and involved all relevant stakeholders. In a first step, an outline was written, why the tender needs to be changed and who should be involved in the discussion process. This was discussed with the leadership of the agency. After they approved, a canteen commission was established in 2018 which involved the key stakeholders to discuss the necessary criteria and to communicate between customers and caterers. This group also conducted a survey among the employees for their wishes and demands for their canteens. Experts were invited to the meetings to provide necessary insights. Based on all this information, the new tender was created.

What was outstanding?

The participatory process of creating the tender and the implementation of the sustainability criteria in the canteens enabled a broad acceptance of the changes and a very positive impact on sustainability. The tender is published online as a blueprint for sustainable procurement of catering services other public procurers.

The tender proposes the following sustainability criteria:
•    use of fresh, regional, seasonal ingredients
•    at least 20% organic ingredients/month
•    animal welfare meat and sustainable certified fish
•    daily offer of vegetarian/vegan meals
•    reduction of meat portions
•    food waste reduction
•    fair trade coffee, cocoa, tea
•    use of refund and recycling material for take away-options
•    sustainable and environmentally friendly materials
•    customer surveys and feedback box
•    action week with the health management
•    preference for catering service employing handicapped persons
•    employment has to be according to social standards

This selection of criteria is separated into mandatory and optional criteria to give the companies a realistic chance and to show possibilities to change processes.

Based on this tender, the State Office did the procurement for two canteens and many of the criteria are now reality. Since then, the food is mainly fresh, the meat consumption has declined, leftover meals and two portion sizes are appreciated, tap water is provided in glass bottles, the refund system for take away is widely used and there is a positive communication between all stakeholders due to the canteen commission and the feedback system.

Catering Service Type: Public Offices
Started/Starts at: 2018

Notes / further reading

Some further measures described in factsheets (in German)