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Circular Procurement - taking a bold step for sustainability

26 November 2018

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.