SPP Regions is a consortia of partners forming a regional procurement network across Europe.  It is made up of municipalities working together on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI). The network collaborates on eco-innovative solutions and tenders, in energy, transport and catering, shares skills and knowledge and encourages more sustainability from suppliers. Find out more here.

As part of its activities it also produces a range of publications and other resources. We read in the Procurement of Innovation Platform that it recently released a best practice document which identifies how the concept of the Circular Economy can be introduced to procurement and what changes to current procurement practices need to be adapted.

“Procurement plays a key role in the development of a circular economy and provides a powerful mechanism for enabling economies to become more circular,” it says. “Circular procurement is about making agreements to ensure that the products that you procure for your organisation are produced in accordance with the principles of the circular economy and will be further processed after use. Such products are, for example, designed for durability, repairability and recycling and can at the end of their life cycle be broken down into components, materials or raw materials, which can then be used again in the production chain.”

The model is DesignProduceSupplyUseRepair and ReuseRepurposeRecycle – back to Design and so on, completing the circle.

The initial phase of procurement is specifically important, where needs are defined and dialogue with the market starts, where the procurement strategy and the possibilities are examined.

In each phase there are steps that procurement needs to take, or change. The report highlights three elements of procurement that need to change or become the focus in order to promote more circular solutions:

1) Focus on service instead of products

2) Focus on the product’s design, use phase and end of life

3) Focus on market dialogue

It goes on to discuss these in more detail. Then discusses the different models procurement can use to acquire more circular solutions. Obviously the best model is dependent on the conditions and options available to the market players and supply chain partners.

There is also a section on why we should be considering circular procurement, looking at the financial, societal and strategic benefits that need to be taken into consideration.

The report is designed to be read in conjunction with a set of examples (or case studies) of different procurement approaches that are actually in use, even though circular procurement is not yet mature – each covers a different part of the procurement phase. The idea is to inspire procurement professionals to look at products differently, ask different questions, analyse the organisation’s needs and challenge the market to a more circular supply of goods and services.

The set of case studies can be downloaded here. These are success stories which cover the procurement approach, the result, and lessons learned. A very useful set of stories from different sectors around Europe which most procurement organisations will be able relate to.

Simply called Circular Procurement, the full report can be downloaded here.

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