In many countries, railways are one of the largest buyers of goods and services in the European economy. The scale of procurement operations is extremely wide, encompassing everything from energy, infrastructure renewals and maintenance, through to rolling stock procurement and more “everyday” matters like ticket stock and customer magazines. For many years, procurement directors of European railways have met to discuss this topic under the auspices of the European Railway Procurement Conference (ERPC), supported by UIC.
Recently the ERPC has created a Sustainability Working Group which met for the first time on 14 February 2012, and brought together procurement experts and environmental experts. The meeting discussed the development of TecRec 100_001 for the evaluation of energy use in rolling stock, and presented the results of INFRAGUIDER, which set out some advisory guidelines for sustainable procurement. There were presentations on good practice from JBV and SNCF, and all participants gave short presentations on the way in which they are implementing sustainability criteria into procurement. This revealed a diversity of approaches and strategies. Some companies have already put in place procurement strategies and supplier assessment, while others are at an earlier stage of thinking about these topics. This group will now continue to meet on a regular basis.