Sustainable procurement

Every year, NS purchases goods and services worth an average of €1.2 billion. In 2023, we had ties with over 2,800 suppliers in 24 countries. 80% of our total procurement is from 100 suppliers. Goods and services purchased by NS mainly comprise staff, financial and facility services, IT, construction, communication, energy, trains, train components and transport.

Socially responsible commissioning and procurement

Our Socially Responsible Commissioning and Procurement policy covers all parts of our procurement process. The purpose of this policy is to make our supply chain and services more sustainable. At the heart of the policy is the principle that sustainable choices are a criterion in our decision-making. Their weight increases in proportion to their impact on NS’s sustainability targets. We have included our socially responsible commissioning and procurement requirements in the procurement governance rules and embedded them in our General Terms and Conditions of Purchase ( (new window)). Successful examples of sustainable choices in our procurement processes in 2023 include:

Zero emissions: We used a carbon footprint model as an award criterion in the tendering procedure for SNG train wheels. Using that model, we considered carbon emissions from material use, energy consumption and transport. We have integrated this carbon footprint model into our working method for the future.

Circular: A rare-earth metal called neodymium is used in magnets that form part of the braking system of double-decker trains. We have purchased a total of 3,000 kilos of neodymium. In the tendering procedure, as well as price, we also considered circularity: as a result, new magnets will consist of 100% recycled material from June 2024.
In 2023, we also procured electric charging poles consisting mostly of recycled aluminium. They are modular in construction, which makes them easier to maintain and minimises material use throughout their lifetime.

Social return: In 2023, our supplier of domestic train cleaning services recruited more than twenty people with limited opportunities on the labour market to clean our trains. They receive guidance from a buddy.

Supply chain responsibility: Company clothing is a high-risk procurement category due to the likelihood of environmental pollution and labour hazards in its production. We agreed with the clothing supplier on additional precautions and due diligence in the supply chain. For example, the supplier has commissioned an independent party, Fairwear, to audit all factories involved in the production of these products.

Monitoring sustainability

When procuring goods and services, we applied various sustainability standards, tools and monitoring systems in 2023:

Railsponsible Climate Pledge

NS is a member of Railsponsible, the sustainability initiative for the railway sector. Together with other international carriers, we aim to lead the way in making the entire rail supply chain carbon neutral, for example through the international Science Based Targets initiative.


We subject our major suppliers to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assessment. All members of Railsponsible have agreed to use the Ecovadis standard for this purpose. This involves assessing the supplier’s environmental impact, labour and human rights record, business ethics and sustainable procurement. In 2023, the minimum required score was 50 points out of 100. We ask suppliers who fail to achieve this score to submit an improvement plan and apply for reassessment.

Code of Conduct

Through our Code of Conduct, we communicate to our suppliers the CSR standards and values we apply when doing business. No cases of suppliers not complying with or violating the code were reported in 2023.


Wizzr is a monitoring system we use to track agreements with suppliers on Social Return. Both suppliers and NS have access to this system.

Socially responsible commissioning and procurement KPI

Socially responsible commissioning and procurement is a KPI introduced in 2023 that allows us to monitor whether tendering procedures are rolled out in line with our Socially Responsible Commissioning and Procurement policy. Since its implementation, all tendering procedures have been found to be compliant.

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