The road to Circular Public Procurement

Throughout its evolution, our industrial economy has never moved beyond one fundamental characteristic: A linear model of resource consumption that follows a take-make-dispose pattern.

The last 100 years we have been using raw materials like never before. This has led to the high developed world that is a fact for many of us in the western world today, but with big consequences for the environment and inhabitants, often in other parts of the world were we don’t see the effects of our linear system. Companies extract materials, apply energy and labor to manufacture a product and sell it to a consumer—who then discard it when it no longer serves its purpose.

A circular economy approach is an alternative to this model. It aims to keep products and materials in the value chain for a longer period and to recover raw materials after the lifetime of the products for their next use. But a circular economy approach is not easy - sometimes two steps forward, one-step back. To learn more about the different aspects in Circular Public Procurement, click on the different circles in the picture below:

As the picture is illustrating, the way to Circular Public Procurement is not linear, with confusion and change being two key factors. Confusion, due to the project itself, being complexed and non-linear. Not two roads to a circular economy is similar - how to start, where to start and what to do?

Reasons or means behind getting involved can be different. It can be because of financial issues, or having the knowledge about circular economy, maybe worrying about the environment or thinking about innovative solutions. When involved, there is no starting point, and no preferred way. At the end of the road, change is important. There is a need to change economic structures, how we innovate and most importantly, mindsets and behavior change.

We need to think different. That a broken product, rather than throwing it out, can be just as good, as buying a new one. By looking for new solutions, and adopting this circular mindset - jumping from area to area due to the nonlinear way of circular public procurement, a new way of thinking public procurement can be reached.