A recently published report titled ‘Building circularity into our economies through sustainable procurement’, (UNEP) explores how to integrate circular economy in public procurement. The report highlights the power of institutional purchasing and advocates for circular procurement as a tool that advances the sustainability goals.
The report outlines two pillars of implementing circular public procurement and provides guidance for public authorities on how to put them into action:
Pillar 1 - Promoting circular supply chains by procuring more circular products, materials and services - such as using circular procurement criteria in tender specifications.
Pillar 2 - Promoting new business models based on innovative and resource-efficient solutions - such as adopting supplier take-back systems
These strategies need to be enabled by cooperating with other organizations or new legal instruments that favour circularity in value-chains. For purchasing units wishing to get started, the report provides lessons such as ‘start with easy wins’ or ‘engage suppliers at an early stage’.
Additional powerful drivers to advance the inclusion of circularity in procurement practices are setting ambitious targets - as cities around the world did as part of the Global Leads City Network on Sustainable Public Procurement (GLCN), as well as knowledge sharing and actively contributing to international initiatives such as Procura+.
The report draws from previous work by, among others, the EU and ICLEI, showing that circular public procurement is already applied by forward thinking public bodies. There are many good practice cases to learn from, which you can explore in our Resource Centre.
Read the full report here.
The draft results are out of the Benchmarking of National Policy Frameworks for innovation procurement across the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland.
The benchmarking exercise is led by the European Commission following recommendations from the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) to create an EU-wide measurement framework for innovation procurement, and an EU knowledge sharing service to exchange experiences. The exercise is done across all 28 European Member States plus Norway and Switzerland with expenditure measurement across different sectors of public interest (e.g. health, transport, security etc.) and strategic expenditure categories, such as ICT, that fuel public sector modernization.
The next step needs support from the procurement community and interested stakeholders: Any comments on the country profiles? Good practice examples you want to share? Provide your comments on the Country Profiles and share any good practice examples via the online consultation - by 15 January 2019.
“We are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and the enormous impact we have on it. We may also be the last that can act to reverse this trend. From now until 2020 will be a decisive moment in history” – concludes the Living Planet Report 2018, recently published by WWF. The report shows the devastating environmental consequences of our way of production and consumption for biodiversity. For instance, almost 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.
The report emphasizes that biodiversity loss is not only unfortunate in and of its own, but it risks the very foundation of human prosperity: “As we better understand our reliance on natural systems it’s clear that nature is not just a ‘nice to have’.” Healthy ecosystems offer services worth about US$125 trillion a year that enable us as human species to thrive.
The report highlights that “Consumption is the driving force behind the unprecedented planetary change we are witnessing, through the increased demand for energy, land and water”. Thus, procuring products, goods and services sustainably across sectors and along supply chains is a significant part of the solution to re-design how humans can thrive within capacities of the Earth’s ecosystems.
For a shift in processes, practices and structures, concepts such as circular procurement or sustainable public procurement (SPP) are necessary and already applied by forward thinking public authorities. To learn how your procurement department can make a change have a look at our Resource Centre.
If you want to get involved in this important transition, consider becoming a Procura+ member, joining a network of European public authorities and regions that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement.
The EU Parliament approved an EU wide ban of several single-use plastic items by 2021 and adopted strict recycling regulation over other plastics such as beverage bottles, food containers at rates of up to 90% by 2025. This ban is a significant contribution tackling plastic pollution in the environment. Single-use items included in the ban such as cutlery, straws or cotton buds make up over 70% of marine litter. The intention behind banning the items is “…to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.” says Frédérique Ries (MEP ALDE, Belgium).
The single use plastic items covered by this regulation were selected since there are sustainable alternative readily available. However, this ban could have implications on how public procurement is handling catering and event management as these often rely heavily on reusable cutlery. Procurement will need to consider alternatives such as reusable cutlery and dishes, which come with a different set of service requirements.
As part of the ICLEI project InnProBio the Swedish region Skane has set a cutting-edge example for how public procurement can tackle the issue of plastic pollution. Through innovation procurement the region has managed to introduce a new product in all regional hospitals: Their disposable aprons are now made from a newly developed biobased material that meets high performance and sustainability criteria. Learn more about the procurement procedure, results and lessons learned, here.
For more information on the EU single use plastic ban go here.
How far away is a future where all IT products have a circular and sustainable life cycle?
It might come closer when there are specific criteria for helping suppliers and buyers to contribute to a more sustainable future toward the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. TCO did exactly so, launching a wide range of updated and new criteria, designed to promote a circular approach to IT products along with transparency and responsibility in the supply chain.
Want to learn more about the criteria? Then, join the launch event 14.00-17.30 on December 4, 2018, in Brussels.
The event is moderated by human rights lawyer and author Parul Sharma, who has led the Swedish Government’s delegation for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The keynote speaker is the sustainability expert and award-winning designer Leyla Acaroglu. Challenging the audience with thought-provoking ideas, she will talk about how innovation can help drive positive environmental and social change and how disruptive design solutions can help promote the circular economy.