Identify ambitions & policies
Clear ambitions and well-defined policies help to achieve circular procurement. The ambitions can be set down in, for example, a sustainability policy, an action plan for socially responsible procurement or a strategy for circular procurement. Once the ambitions have been determined they can be converted into organisational policy. You are advised to do this after an initial pilot, allowing you to incorporate the lessons learned.
Make sure your ambitions are in tune with your definition for circular economy. Substantiate this with national policies related to circular procurement and circular economy. Has your organisation signed the National Agreement on the Circular Economy (Grondstoffenakkoord), or maybe the Manifest Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Inkopen (Sustainable Procurement Manifesto)? That may also be a way to get started with circular procurement. You can also check the Uitvoeringsprogramma Circulaire Economie (Dutch) (Implementation Programme Circular Economy), or the Transition agendas (Dutch) that form the basis for this programme.
It is the ambition of the Netherlands to be 100% circular by 2050 and to have halved the use of primary materials by 2030. This ambition is laid down in the National Agreement on the Circular Economy (Grondstoffenakkoord, 2017). Together with the Dutch government, more than 200 societal partners have signed up to this ambition. Circular procurement is one of the ways to contribute to this ambition.
Procurement may be a good way to contribute to the achievement of societal goals. In the Manifest MVI (the Sustainable Procurement Manifesto) over 200 public organisations (Dutch) have pledged to actively incorporate societal goals in their procurement processes. Each organisation has subsequently formulated an action plan that details their objectives for the coming years. An example of such an action plan is that of the Municipality of Helmond (Dutch).
The Implementation Programme Circular Economy (Dutch) details the initiatives with regard to the circular economy that will be taken in the coming years. It describes the actions resulting from the five Transition agendas concerning Construction, Biomass & Food, Plastics, Consumer Goods and Manufacturing Industry (all Dutch texts) that were determined earlier. It also mentions a number of initiatives for various cross-cutting themes, including circular procurement. The implementation programme is updated every year at a national conference on the circular economy.
The Green Deal Circular Procurement was signed by approximately 80 public and private organisations that wanted to get started with circular procurement. All these organisations agreed to carry out two circular procurement pilots. The lessons learned are shared in Communities of Practice that are organised twice a year.
- Determine the circular procurement ambitions of your organisation, in line with your definition of ‘circular economy’, and have them approved at executive level.
- Find out if your organisation has signed the National Agreement on the Circular Economy or the Manifest MVI (socially responsible procurement manifesto): These are good starting points for circular procurement.
- Substantiate your ambition with the national objectives for the circular economy. 100% circular by 2050 and a reduction of 50% in the use of primary materials by 2030.
In its action plan for socially responsible procurement, the Municipality of Helmond details its objectives in four areas: climate-neutral procurement, social return, innovation-friendly procurement and circular procurement.
In its action plan for socially responsible procurement, the Municipality of Utrecht details its plans per product group: from real estate to support services and from street furniture to sewers.
The ambitions of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (the National Library of the Netherlands) for its new building covered three areas: value to society, a closed system and flexibility.
The Implementation programme describes the national plans regarding the circular economy for 2019-2023.
In the Manifest MVI (the Sustainable Procurement Manifesto) more than 200 public organisations have pledged to use their procurement to achieve societal goals.
CE Delft has analysed 72 action plans for socially responsible procurement of various local authorities and deduced a number of lessons for organisations that want to make similar plans.